Rival watch

Discussion in 'Tottenham Hotspur' started by Spurlock, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. "Thanks for that Brian"

    "Thanks for that Brian" Well-Known Member

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    You're right. Gabriel and Monreal are a disaster. However, Mostafi cost top dollar [outside of what Citeh pay for centre halves] and for that you should get someone who doesn't need to be told what to do by his partner. He may learn but it's a lot of money for someone with that much learning to do. The same with Xakha. He's got skills but no brain at all and he's not a kid at 24 years of age. Again, expensive for what he offers right now.
     
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  2. BrunelGooner

    BrunelGooner Well-Known Member

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    The timing of when we bought him (i.e. when the transfer window was about to close) played a huge part in the inflation of his fee, but I agree that he should have a more commanding presence when partnered alongside other centre-halves. The lack of communication between Mustafi and Gabriel was appalling. In fairness, I did say at the time of buying him that his lack of height for a defender is worrying because he doesn't always deal with crosses that well and taller strikers have an advantage when they leap for the ball, which was exemplified today, but again, I'll cut him a bit of slack as he has just come back from an injury so may still feel a little rusty.

    I feel we missed a trick in not getting Kostas Manolas or putting in a bid for van Dijk, but that's a separate issue altogether.

    Xhaka definitely has got some learning to do in regard to his discipline, but he's slotted into our midfield pretty well on the whole. He's been poor the last couple of games admittedly, but you can say that for most of our team. Yes, 24 is the age where he should start entering his best years as a player, but they develop at different rates and some, such as Perez, are late bloomers. As it's also his first season in the Prem, he deserves more time to prove that he can get up to scratch.
     
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  3. "Thanks for that Brian"

    "Thanks for that Brian" Well-Known Member

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    Bringing players in from abroad is a gamble and even many of the successes take time. Our successes have had PL or English experience - Alderweireld, Wanyama, Dele, even Dier had played for Everton's Academy for a season before he came to us.

    The big disappointment was Sissoko who knew PL football well enough but had no idea what playing for a big club meant in terms of effort and commitment. Hopefully, the penny has dropped as he's too old and expensive to have any more time at it. I understand Lamela, Janssen and GKN struggling initially. Given their lack of experience and what we paid for the last 2 of them, you'd expect it. Our restricted income and wage structure means we have to take a bit of a punt on some players. The surprising thing is how few have been total failures since MP became manager and how rapidly those players have been moved on.
     
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  4. littleDinosaurLuke

    littleDinosaurLuke Well-Known Member

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    Wenger has a longstanding policy of recruiting players from abroad (especially France) with no PL experience. It's rare for him to buy A list players. Of the B listers he's signed, few have developed into top class players - certainly not in the past 10 years. This seems to explain why Arsenal are perenially a nearly team. He's had a problem in central defence for ages so he signs B listers Gabriel, then Mustafi, neither of whom have any PL experience and are not quite good enough. Ditto with his signings for the holding midfielder role. I'm surprised a club with the funds of Arsenal have made so few marquee signings in the last 10 years when a strong team has been crying out for top class additions in key positions. When they have splashed the cash (Sanchez, Ozil), the players signed have been game changers. The endless influx of foreign B listers haven't been.
     
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  5. BrunelGooner

    BrunelGooner Well-Known Member

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    Which is exactly why I'm willing to give some of our players more of a chance once Wenger leaves. I am hopeful that this is his last season at Arsenal and I feel like some of the players we have, who have been underperforming or haven't hit the heights that were expected of them, would thrive under new management. I'm not expecting an instant change with a different manager, but with a little bit of time and once his philosophy becomes clearer, I'd hope a lot of our players can make further improvements.

    Having witnessed the evolution of your team under MP, not only does it show that change should be welcomed - it gives me hope that the next Arsenal manager can similarly create a well-balanced, injury-free team.
     
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  6. "Thanks for that Brian"

    "Thanks for that Brian" Well-Known Member

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    Not going in for Wanyama was inexplicable for Arsenal and probably both Manchester clubs. He was exactly the type of player they needed, he'd need very little time to pick up the pace of his new side and was going cheaply. My only reservation was that he'd cost too much and I couldn't believe how cheap he was. A real and pretty obvious bargain.
     
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  7. C.Kane

    C.Kane Danny Rosebud

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    I can't see the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Welbeck, Gibbs, Ramsey, Mertesacker, Debuchy, Wilshere etc. ever improving beyond their current level - which clearly isn't good enough to challenge for top honours. I got involved in a decent conversation over on your board the other day where most of you guys seemed to think that you have better strength in depth than us. I think you confuse quantity with quality to be honest. Wenger has spent the best part of a decade overseeing the transformation of your squad from a collection of outrageously talented players with a healthy sprinkling of proven winners, to one completely clogged with over-rated driftwood. Comparing your squad now to that of 9-10 years ago (when you had no money due to the new stadium) is probably enough to make you weep. Wenger's stubbornness has caused him to cling for eternity to a flock of youngsters who just aren't 'young' anymore, and are no better today than they were 2-3 seasons ago. Just the list above is worth almost £100m in the current market. At what point does a manager say 'sorry, you clearly have talent but cannot perform consistently enough to suit our purposes, here's the door'? The fact that Wheelchair was sent out on loan and is apparently being offered a new contract after 3 years of injury-ridden under-performance is symptomatic of this stubbornness. Let him have a decent season in the shop window at B'mouth and just sell him in the summer for £25-30m! Invest the money in a player who isn't made of plywood!

    Poch by contrast has shown a ruthlessness in the market that hasn't sat well with many fans (myself included), but it is a philosophy that I respect and understand. Academy products Mason, Bentaleb, Pritchard and Townsend have all been shipped out despite having years in the tank to improve. Same for fan favourites such as Kaboul, Lennon, Chadli and Paulinho (ok that was a joke). Perhaps Poch is too quick to make up his mind, but once he deems a player to be not good enough to suit our purposes, that player is out the door and his squad place filled by a Wanyama, an Alderweireld, a Wimmer, an Alli.

    Toby was even more perplexing. I couldn't believe that we'd signed him, nor the fact that he cost less than a quarter of what the likes of John Stones and Van Dijk are supposedly worth.
     
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  8. "Thanks for that Brian"

    "Thanks for that Brian" Well-Known Member

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    This is it. All Spurs players know the proposition - "You show me you deserve to play and I will pick you. I pick you to play, you deliver a performance. Don't perform and you'll be dropped and sold if you don't sort it out." There's no deviation from that. It's very clear and very simple. I have no doubt that Walcott, Ox, Gibbs, Wilshere, Mertesacker, Debuchy, Gabriel and Ramsey wouldn't last under MP's management. He may have upset Kaboul and Capoue and Fazio but so what? The players who sweat blood for the cause respect him because they know he won't truck anyone failing to turn up. If Sanchez thought that about Wenger and Arsenal, he'd have re-signed already.
     
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  9. C.Kane

    C.Kane Danny Rosebud

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    Sanchez will be gone come the summer. I have no doubt about that.
     
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  10. humanbeingincroydon

    humanbeingincroydon Well-Known Member

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    There does seem to be a fair few players at Arsenal coasting on their reputations at the moment.

    Walcott's an obvious example, because he's not the 17-year old with a ton of potential he was back in 2006 - which is eleven years ago - but rather than grow and mature into another Thierry Henry instead he's still dining out on that hat trick he scored against Croatia back in 2009 and spends the rest of the time running around like a headless chicken on the pitch - or given his attitude, a headless cock would be a more apt description. He's fast, so what, he's not added anything else to his game despite having the time and the opportunities to do so.

    Gibbs and Wilshere are two more players who are just as guilty of dining out on the "potential" they had five years ago, yet despite both of them passing their 25th birthdays since then what has either of them done to demonstrate they have fulfilled it? How are they in any way different to the other players who had "potential" five years ago, like Jack Rodwell or Steven Caulker?

    Ozil's certainly starting to look this way too, because he's been having smoke blown up his backside for a couple of years about being The Best Number Ten in World Football (even though he's not always the assist machine he's depicted as, for example in 2014/15 Cazorla, Sanchez and Ramsey got more assists than he did) that he's begun to coast off that reputation, to the point that not only has Sanchez got more than double the amount of assists Ozil has, but even Oxlade-Chamberlain has more assists than him - and looking at the entire Premier League, he's far behind De Bryune, Eriksen, Sigurdsson, Payet, Coutinho and (what should be a kick to the yarbles) Fabregas.

    Here's the source for all the assist-related stattery: https://www.premierleague.com/stats/top/players/goal_assist?se=54
     
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    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017

  11. BrunelGooner

    BrunelGooner Well-Known Member

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    Some of the names you both mention will be off in the Summer and there are names in there who you both claim won't improve our current level under new management which I can't fully agree with, but that's down to our perceptions of them as players so we'll just have to agree to disagree there.

    But on your general points, I tend to agree with both of you that there is this culture of complacency at Arsenal where some players have had a free ride because they've got good banter and looked promising when they were younger. A lot of these players are now getting to stages of their careers when they're in their mid-20s and don't look any better now than they did five/six years ago. So their development has clearly been stunted, yet some are being rewarded lucrative new contracts having offered barely anything valuable in the last few years.

    We definitely do need to clear out the deadwood, but I still think that a lot of problems we have are also down to the current management and the methods they utilize in training and when it comes to tactics. Even when it comes to man-management, as you both rightly say, Wenger lacks a ruthless edge that would seriously make us into proper title challengers when it comes to players who can't prove their fitness or can't perform consistently. Part of this, however, is self-inflicted because we offer our young players generous wages before they've even proved anything and this makes it harder to shift them on as no other club is willing to match those wages to take them away from us.

    Nevertheless, I look at the effect Klopp has had at Liverpool too and the likes of Firmino, Lallana, Clyne, Can and even players who were already good like Coutinho have raised their levels a notch under a better manager. Most of those players didn't look far past mediocre under Rodgers, yet now they are all valuable cogs in a team that is closest to the league leaders.

    Great discussion <ok>
     
    #37911
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  12. "Thanks for that Brian"

    "Thanks for that Brian" Well-Known Member

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    There are players at Spurs that MP has turned around that most of us had given up on. Mousa Dembele, Jan Vertonghen and possibly Erik Lamela were goners for me. I always thought Danny Rose had it in him to make it but those 3 especially had something of a sense of 'failing to live up to their talent' and gave off a sense that they weren't going to be capable of breaking out of that. However, he and they managed to turn things around.

    I remember Mousa saying that MP insists that players take personal responsibility for not performing. Wenger's continual blaming of officials or anything other than his team sends all the wrong signals to too many willing listeners in the dressing room but you'll know that better than anyone else on this board.
     
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  13. C.Kane

    C.Kane Danny Rosebud

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    That's precisely my point. Some of those names should've been off 3 summers ago, not the coming one. And even then, if Wenger is still in charge come August, I fully expect most of those players to still be hanging around like a fart in a lift.

    As I said previously on your board, the current difference between you and Europa League football or worse is Alexis Sanchez. If he leaves in the summer, can Wenger be trusted to invest the no-doubt enormous fee sensibly?

    As for Liverpool, they went through an almost identical self-imposed crisis as we did, step-by-step:

    1) Appoint a manager who thinks he is better than he actually is (Brenda/AVB)
    2) Said manager is carried to stardom on the shoulders of a truly world class talent (Suarez/Bale)
    3) Said manager has no choice but to sell said talent but makes piles of cash in return (£65m/£85m)
    4) Said cash is almost entirely squandered on a swarm of unproven, mediocre players instead of one or two game-changers (Balotelli, Markovic, Moreno, Lovren/Soldado,Paulinho, Chiriches, Capoue)

    Klopp has benefited tremendously from taking over the reins just as many of those players were showing signs of adapting to the pace of the PL. But I agree, he has also shown a ruthlessness that is so clearly needed to challenge at the very top, ditching promising youngsters such as Ibe, shipping out 'floaters' like Allen and Skertl, and selling Benteke at a loss.

    EDIT: I'd be interested to hear which of the players I listed above you think would improve noticeably under new management? Obviously you know far more about Arsenal than I do, but I honestly don't see one. Welbeck could if he got a whole season under his belt, but let's be honest the guy is a crock. Xhaka and Mustafi have shown enough to suggest that they will get better as time goes on, but they weren't in my original list.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  14. BrunelGooner

    BrunelGooner Well-Known Member

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    I understand where you're coming from, but I think with things like this we need to be careful before making judgments. Obviously, none us are privy to what is said in the dressing room and behind the scenes, but I feel like when Wenger blames the officials for a disappointing result, it is often to shift the media focus off of his players so that he can deal with the issue internally without the backlash from the press. As we have seen many a time before, publicly castigating and isolating players isn't always the best course of action in the long haul.

    So although it is incredibly frustrating for us as Arsenal fans to rarely hear him criticise the team and blame the officials' decisions when we have a bad result, I think it's also important to not take it all at face value.

    I would like to think Wenger acknowledges that, although we have occasionally been on the wrong end of some refereeing decisions, more often than not, the poor result is mainly down to our level of performance not being to the required standard. Again. I would like to think he thinks that. Whether it's true or not is a different matter! <laugh>
     
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  15. Diego

    Diego Well-Known Member

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    I find it hard to believe that any manager walks back into the dressing room after a poor performance and repeats what he say's to the press.
    Managers have to make excuses/protect their players in public, in a closed room the words are probably very different.
     
    #37915
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  16. BrunelGooner

    BrunelGooner Well-Known Member

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    I mean, obviously I can't confidently state they would drastically improve under a new manager, but there are some players that, with a new voice and incorporating a different approach, there could be some potential improvements having shown glimpses of quality thus far.

    Wilshere is one of those players. I know a lot of you won't agree with this and I know that a lot of you don't like the fella, but he is a tremendously gifted player technically and, in his breakthrough season at 18-19, he was phenomenal. He hasn't kicked on since then, in fact, he probably looked better in his debut season than he does now. But he still shows that he has great vision and is a good dribbler. He certainly needs to work on his finishing and tackling if he wishes to pursue a career in the centre of midfield, but I firmly believe he could get better under a different manager. However, at the age of 25, time is running out and I would say this is last-chance saloon for him. He's been an important player for Bournemouth and stayed injury free, which really does expose Arsenal's medical team pretty badly!

    Welbeck is another one because, prior to his injury, he was a vital player for us, even if he didn't score in every game. His speed and directness meant we could stretch defences and interchange with the front 4 easily. His movement is vastly superior to Giroud's and we played much better football with him in the team than we do with Giroud spearheading our attack. Again, under a different manager, could go up a level. A lot of strikers have at later ages.

    Oxlade-Chamberlain as well. I know he's been at the club since he was 18, but he has had an injury-plagued career and as we've seen with Wilshere at a different club, new management and staff can put an end to all these lengthy injuries our players seem to get. However, he has the raw attributes to succeed at this level - pace, power, strength, athleticism, dribbling and he can ping some lovely passes too. His football brain needs some work, but at 23, he has time on his side. If he was being managed under MP or Klopp, I honestly think he would be a devastating player.

    However, there is no hope for the other names.

    Gibbs is 27 and won't significantly get better, but he is a useful squad player. However, rumour has it that he's set on moving on this Summer, which is fair enough.

    Mertesacker is going to be 33 this year so his career is coming to an end.

    Debuchy has been a flop.

    Walcott's 28 in March, so he also won't be improving significantly, although he too is a useful player to have in a squad. His career is the epitome of unfulfilled potential, though.

    Ramsey doesn't cut the mustard, though. A real shame after that promising 2013-14 season where everything he touched turned to gold and looked like an all round complete midfielder, but his performances since that season have perhaps shown that he was just a flash in the pan.
     
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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2017
  17. C.Kane

    C.Kane Danny Rosebud

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    It's the ultimate loss:gain equation. All 3 of the players you've mentioned as being able to improve would fetch a tidy sum on the market, even if you sold them tomorrow. Wilshere and Ox in particular have been continually hyped up beyond belief - plus both would fetch the VAT for having represented England once upon a time (as would Welbeck). It is so, so easy to fall into a vicious cycle of endlessly waiting for your youngsters to match the levels of your top performers, until so much time passes you by that even if/when that day comes, you turn around and your top performers aren't at the club anymore. I find it hilarious how confident Arsenal fans are that Sanchez and Ozil will happily sign new contracts and stay at the club until kingdom come. They will be subject to repeated transfer speculation this summer and may well abandon ship.

    In this day and age, how often do you see a player who hasn't quite 'got it' by the age of 23 yet suddenly turns into a worldie a few years later? Not many spring to mind but plenty do in the opposite direction: and we've seem plenty of them here at Spurs.

    The far more sensible approach is surely to cash your chips and move on?
     
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  18. "Thanks for that Brian"

    "Thanks for that Brian" Well-Known Member

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    Ultimately, if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's a duck. Arsenal have a large number of players who have come into the set up as youngsters and just not lived up to their obvious potential. If there was one or two, then okay, it happens at all clubs but that's not the case. It's a lot more worrying than that. Since Fabregas, I can't think of more than one [Bellerin] that's fulfilled their potential or anything approaching that level on a consistent basis and they're all still there failing to do so today. That points at an acceptance of under-performance from the manager and a culture of 'it's not my fault or problem' from the players. If Wenger's holding them to account for their performances, then where's the improvement or why haven't those players left?

    I'm not so naive as to think that some managers don't save their true thoughts for the dressing room but nothing's changing season on season for these players or your team. I'd suggest Wenger changes something because you're stuck in Groundhog Day. Why not come out and say that the performance against Everton wasn't good enough? Has MP saying he expected more from Sissoko done any harm to the Frenchman or has it cleared the air? Treat them like men and maybe that's how they'll react? Currently, it's Wenger and his boys that are letting the club down.

    Sanchez stands out so much because he's not been affected by it. He hates to fail, it pours out of him. If he was your manager then I reckon over half of your team would be gone this summer. Unfortunately, for you, he's likely to be gone and Wenger, Theo, Ox, Ramsey et al will still be there next season and playing in exactly the same manner.
     
    #37918
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  19. BrunelGooner

    BrunelGooner Well-Known Member

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    This is an interesting point and it does hold true in a lot of cases at Arsenal where Wenger has had blind faith in players who have failed to justify the persistence and patience that he has shown with them. Some of those players I said I wanted to keep though I would like to keep as squad players because although they may not be good enough to start for a team that wants to win titles, they can still be vital components of a squad, which is why I am slightly hesitant to sell them. I mean, if we get rid of Ramsey, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Sanogo (I forgot we still had him lol) and Szczesny, that frees up a lot of wages and squad spaces to be filled by new players.

    However, I also think part of the difficulty in getting rid of some of them is also related to the English player quota that all clubs need to fulfill, so this is something that needs to be factored in.

    To be honest, I'm not overly concerned about Ozil leaving. Although on his day he's a tremendous player, he doesn't show it enough and there have been countless times where his body language says to me that he thinks he's too good to be playing for us or that he can neglect his defensive duties because he's a big name. Whether that's due to his languid style of play generally, I don't know, but whatever stats you want to bring out about his assists, chances created etc, his performances on the pitch haven't been as good as we'd all hoped when we bought him

    Sanchez is the one I am worried about because all our efforts should go into making sure he stays, yet negotiations seem to have hit a snag. A lot of reports are saying he wants £250k a week and we're only offering £180k a week. Obviously it's all speculation, but if these rumours are true, then our negotiating team need to get sacked because whether we like it or not, to keep players of that calibre, you need to pay the going rate and if that's what it takes to keep him, even if it means letting Ozil go, then do it.

    Even if we cashed in on him, we will not find a player better than him no matter how hard we try because there aren't many like him around.

    So I don't think any Arsenal fan can truly be that confident in him staying because, if this was the case, surely this would have been done and dusted ages ago.


    Make no mistake about it - I don't think any of those players I'd said I'd keep will ever be world-class, but I firmly believe all of them can perform at a higher level than they're currently showing - and that is still good enough to be playing in the squad of a title winning side, especially if the aforementioned players I listed earlier end up leaving so that we can get better players in.

    If money was a huge issue for us, and they weren't performing to the level expected, then I would absolutely be in favor of us selling them. But we're in a strong financial position so we can afford to take a gamble on some players and take a hit on others if it doesn't work out.
     
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  20. BrunelGooner

    BrunelGooner Well-Known Member

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    Good post and valid points well made.

    I just want to address the question you asked about why these players haven't improved or left.

    As I've said earlier, part of the reason why Wenger still keeps his faith in these players is his emotional attachment to some of them. As he's bought or nurtured a lot of these players from a young age, and he's clearly seen something in them to show that they could make it at Arsenal, he's tried to stick by them through thick and thin because he doesn't want their careers to be wasted playing at a level he deems to be below what they're capable of.

    This is where you need to be ruthless and take the hit on some players because, regardless of how good they may have looked before, if they're not cutting it, they're not cutting it and you need to accept that for whatever reason it just didn't work out.

    Which brings me onto my next point - Wenger's ego and stubbornness. I genuinely think that another part of the reason why he's kept these players is because he wanted to prove a point that you can win the league through acquiring or developing players when they're young and turning them into top class players who can compete. His youth project has been a failure, but I feel like he is still reluctant to accept this and still won't let go of some of these players in the faint hope that they will one day finally come good. Part of it is down to proving the media and pundits wrong who have ever doubted him and questioned his tactics. He seems to make it his personal mission to prove that he knows better than the rest, so part of the reason he holds onto to these underperforming players is because he also doesn't want to concede that his purist methods and ideas won't come to fruition.

    But it's a tricky one because part of the reason for these players' regression/stagnation is down to Wenger himself - so if he got rid of these players and brought in new ones, would we really improve that much? Because it just seems that no matter what player we bring in or how varied our team looks, we suffer from the same problems every year - and that, undeniably, is down to the manager. So due to Wenger's flaws, I'm not so sure we'd even be performing significantly better than we are now even with better players because I don't think he'd know how to maximise their potential.
     
    #37920
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