Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past months, you’ll be fully aware that long-serving Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has departed the club and Unai Emery, the new man at the helm, has been tasked with turning the club’s fortunes around.
Arsene Wenger is the most successful manager Arsenal has ever had. The Frenchman won three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and seven Community Shields during his twenty-two year stay with the Gunners. The man, quite simply, is an Arsenal legend.
The influence he had at the club, bringing in countless players who he developed into stars in particular, was huge. Wenger was respected both internally at the club but also outside of it, where the media generally took to him, fans from other clubs admired him and players wanted to play for him.
Now Arsenal begin their post-Wenger era, could the rebuild needed at the club be a lot harder than first thought?
Arsenal minus Arsene not as appealing
Unai Emery seems like an adequate replacement and after successful stints at Sevilla and Valencia, in particular, he comes to the North London giants with a decent pedigree, although his achievements in the game are nowhere near the likes of Wenger. Essentially, under Emery, Arsenal are heading into the unknown and with a manager who has never managed in the Premier League.
Arsene Wenger, on the other hand, commanded a huge amount of respect throughout the world of football. Put simply, he’s an international name whose achievements at Arsenal have penetrated a worldwide audience.
Even with Arsenal’s evident decline under him, although many could argue it wasn’t solely his fault, top players from around the world wanted to play for the club and improve their game under Wenger’s guidance. This is a man whose philosophy was engrained in the club, from Arsenal’s youth sides to their first team at the Emirates. Arsenal’s attractive football, which stemmed from the famous Invincibles side Wenger created, is a part of their DNA.
Mesut Ozil joined the club because of this style and Wenger’s ability to improve players. Speaking to news outlets shortly after Wenger’s departure the German said: “He’s the main reason I came here, he convinced me and I am proud to have played under him.”
Ozil added: “Everyone has a lot of respect for him. He has won many titles, developed some good players and has always played excellent football, so you know as a player if you come here you are going to be able to develop and play in that style.”
No Champions League football on offer
On top of this, Arsenal’s absence from the Champions League could also damage any potential transfer dealings. Of course, Arsene Wenger operated in a similar manner in his final season also, but he still managed to acquire big name additions, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan two players joining the Europa League challengers.
Arsene Wenger commanded respect. Even with the club’s decline in full flow, Arsenal was still regarded as a powerhouse and a good move to make, mainly because of their highly respected manager. Now he’s gone, that might not be the case under Emery.
In fact, Premier League Betting 2018-19 suggests Arsenal failing to make the top four again is on the cards. Odds of 11/4 (betway) point to another failed Champions League qualification push. Odds of 25/1 to win the league point to a ‘Hail Mary’ punt by bettors.
Winning the Europa League seems to be their most realistic chance of success though, with odds of 10/1 (betway) representing fantastic value.
As an unknown quantity and without the required quality Wenger could well have attracted, Arsenal’s rebuild could take a lot longer than everyone associated with the Gunners expects.