Wenger Bids Adieu to Arsenal
In the end, an innovator had become a dinosaur.
Arsène Wenger came to Arsenal as an unknown, intent on changing the Gunners culture, wildly succeeding, and then ossifying as a new era of football nudged him into virtual irrelevance.
Thus, there was little surprise he'd be leaving the club. The fact he made the decision before Arsenal's board did was a bit of a stunner, but it's notable that management didn't put up any resistance.
Wenger's contribution to English football was visionary. For example:
- He brought a low-fat, low-sugar diet to players in a country whose usual pre-game fare was beans on toast;
- He introduced physiological staples such as stretching and exercise drills where none had previously existed;
- He abandoned the Route 1 longball attack for possession via creative short passes and movement; and
- He embraced the recruitment of foreign players and had an eye for bargain-signing and then developing obscure young talents such as Patrick Vieira, Freddie Ljungberg, and Robin van Persie.
Easy to say when it's all over.
Dude's 68, and anyone that age will swear it's the new 50, which beats staring sideways at cemeteries. So speculation is rife as to where Wenger goes next.
Odds are it'll be his home country.
Where he goes from there will apparently wait until he gets there.
As for the club he's leaving, they're in unchartered waters for the first time in a generation.