The Arsenal Affair

The Arsenal Affair

Sunday, 10 May 2015

When Arsene the Control Freak meets Wenger the delegator?

For a long, long time Arsene Wenger has ruled Arsenal with such dominance you could almost believe he was somehow present at the club's conception. Now its absurd to criticise this as the Gunners have enjoyed their most successful period in its history, but after two decades under Wenger's iron fist, there appear to be a few subtle clues forming that the Frenchman is slowly beginning to relinquish some control of his master plan.

So this brings us to a meeting with the two sides of Wenger's brain, Arsene the control freak, meets Wenger the delegator. For years and still very much today, everything that happens inside Arsenal HQ needs the Wenger stamp of approval from how they warm up to what seasoning is used on the fish, Wenger decides everything. It wasn't always this way, but after David Dein left Arsenal in 2007 the Manager decided he would be responsible for all aspects of the club.


More recently it dawned upon us all Le Professor is no spring chicken, despite being ever present on the training ground he has finally let someone else have some authority over it by appointing Steve Bould as successor to Pat Rice in 2012. Bould got right to work on his speciality of defending set pieces, which just happened to be Arsenal's biggest flaw. Whilst progress took time, if we fast forward two years the fruits of Bould's labour are clear as the defence appears much more resolute and organised when defending set plays. Initially this shift in balance on the training field appeared difficult for Wenger as the media alleged weakness in his coaching abilities, but the Frenchman has broad shoulders, he knew the time was right for new ideas and a different voice.

Another change to the regime came in the form of the 2014 Transfer Deadline day, Wenger previously green lighted every addition to the club, but on this occasion Wenger left the country to meet the Pope in Rome. This left CEO Ivan Gazidis and chief negotiator Dick Law to broker the deal to sign Danny Welbeck, the Frenchman had only expressed interest in taking the striker on loan, however Gazidis and Law seized the opportunity to make the transfer permanent.
 
 
Ivan Gazidis is the man charged with attempting to take or wrestle the load off Wenger's back. After tentative beginning Arsene now appears more receptive to let him do this. It was the American who hired Dutch coach Andreis Jonker to revamp the Youth system, a surprising decision considering it was Wenger, who had previously worked so closely with Liam Brady when it came to developing Youth. It seems Gazidas has been given Wenger's trust, something he seemed reluctant to bestow since the departure of David Dein

Upon reflection these changes were inevitable and some possibly overdue, but it was Sir Alex Ferguson, who wrote the blueprint of delegation, playing a vital role in prolonging his time in management. Ferguson ran United like a headmaster, but was smart enough to know when to let his coaches bring new methods to the training ground and when to let David Gill bring new talent into the squad. This foresight allowed him to carry on winning silverware long after he should of retired.

It's difficult to admit, but a day will come when Wenger lets someone else steer the ship, we can only hope there is a few more trophies to lift between now and then. With Arsenal so close to fulfilling their potential, you feel the title could be Wenger's parting gift but he must remember he cannot do this alone. One certainty is Wenger will once again become the control freak when scouting his replacement, but until that day 'In the delegator we trust'.


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