Arsene Wenger Copyright

Have Wenger’s trophyless years been a success?

The ‘Specialist in failure’ has seen his team beat one of the best sides in the country to reach the last eight of the FA Cup. Meanwhile his tormentor saw his team drop out before the Quarter Finals.

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Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal will be facing Everton on 8th March while Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho will have to watch as Man City and Wigan face off on a repeat of last year’s final.

Mourinho recently referred to Wenger as a ‘Specialist in failure’ as the Arsenal boss hasn’t brought a trophy to Arsenal since 2005, before they moved to the Emirates. Since Arsenal lifted the FA Cup, Mourinho has won 10 major trophies at Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid.

Cartoon illustration showing Jose Mourinho Copyright
Mourinho has insulted Wenger

How do you measure success?

However, success and failure is all relative. When Mourinho talks about his and Wenger’s respective trophy hauls as a way of measuring success, he fails to mention that he amassed his titles while working under very different circumstances to the Frenchman.

It would take a rather naive person, who not only doesn’t understand the football world but also the world in general, to think that the difference in trophy hauls is simply down to each manager’s ability.

As much as Mourinho talks about the undoubted dedication and graft of himself and his team, the reason he has won so much is because he has spent so much in the transfer market. If not then why would he have wasted so much of his employer’s money?

Wenger lacked financial muscle

By contrast, Wenger has not had the same financial muscle in the transfer market. For several years Arsenal have either made a large profit or broken even in the transfer market and while this has hurt their ability to pick up silverware, they have a fabulous new stadium to show for it.

While many fans scoff at this, the Emirates Stadium will ensure Arsenal remain self-sufficient and competitive at the top for many years after billionaire owners have abandoned other Premier League clubs.

It was wise to build the stadium in an era where Roman Abramovich was throwing money at Chelsea and making it highly difficult for Arsenal to compete with them anyway. Arsenal could have spent all the stadium money on transfer fees and wages and still failed to win trophies having been blown out of the water by Abramovich’s money.

Arsenal have stayed in the Champions League

Wenger’s success has been to keep the money coming in by staying in the Champions League as well as making a profit nearly every transfer window. This is despite other clubs both above and below them having a greater net spend every year.

Rather than spending colossal amounts of money on players, Wenger has signed young stars and brought through players from Arsenal’s academy. He has nurtured the young players until they have become international quality.

During this period of selling their star player every summer and making profits in the transfer market, Wenger has successfully managed to avoid his team falling into the same downward spiral that Leeds did in the early 2000s.

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