In his 2013 autobiography, Sir Alex Ferguson wrote a shockingly incriminating paragraph explaining the fact that his rivalry with Arsene Wenger declined in the last few moments of his career before retiring. The Manchester United legend revealed that such circumstances took root because he realized he played Wenger’s Arsenal a dozen times of which he won nine of those games. The Scot and the French respected each other on personal grounds, but Premier League Odds seemed to favor Fergusson who easily predicted Wenger’s tactics in the field.
Since his bitter rival already bowed out, Wenger could now use some of Fergusons philosophy, especially for making viable decisions that define his game plan discreetly. In retrospect, while preparing to play Barcelona in the final of the 2010-11 Champions League, rumors spread that many Old Trafford allies feared that Fergusson would quit if the Red Devils clinched the title. After all, such a moment would have been the icing on the cake for him, having won the most titles in England, and again conquering Europe! Furthermore, he would have bagged three Champions League titles to equal Bob Paisleys managerial record. Simply put, he would have been the greatest ever manager living today!
However, Barcelona’s relentlessness shattered Fergusson’s hopes by thrashing them 3-1 even though the Catalans could have scored more goals if they did not miss clear chances on goal. Fergusson boldly admitted that his side experienced one of the worst defeats in a long time. If he had any ideas of bidding farewell after that match, then it’s certain he changed his mind immediately. His woes erupted again in the 2011-12 season, in which Manchester City grabbed the title from them in the dying minutes of the final game of the season.
Ferguson refused to budge, but since time was running out, he bent his own rules of not buying any player above 26 years and brought Robin van Persie to Old Trafford to help the Red Devils reclaim the EPL title. The Scot reinforced his legacy with a record 20th English title in the history of the club and he bid his goodbyes. The symbolism is that Ferguson bought van Persie from Wenger to create a big rift between their legacies.
Wenger remains in pursuit for his own legacy, but it seems he is too rigid to bend his own rules because he has a much-idealized way of achieving his dreams. Since Arsenal has their invincible season in 2003-04, Wenger has focused on maintaining a young squad to bring victory. However, circumstances has always force him to change tactics. He even experienced a dilemma of keeping young players waiting until they properly come together, but the players felt it slowed their growth. However, Arsenal developed as a club by building an elite stadium and even buying top players, such as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
It has reached a point where winning with the right team has become a cliché, but winning the title the main objective for Wenger. This is all he needs now to prove his legacy and make him retire gloriously. However, such thoughts remain as wishes for now and it seems no one cares about whether he can still execute productive principles in contemporary soccer. Irrespective of what caliber of player he buys now, they will probably absorb themselves into Arsenal’s sterile quality, instead of encouraging them to win titles.
Even though Wenger experienced many problems this summer, including injuries and procrastinating to buy players, these are familiar circumstances in football history. Evidently, Wenger has delayed the future of Arsenal Club and it seems he hasn’t managed to break the title jinx for more than a decade. Arsenal is hailed as one of the most prestigious football clubs in the world, and it should be bagging trophies and titles every season as a contemporary super-club. Instead, something seem to go wrong year in, year out, as they feel trapped in time.
When Ferguson almost found himself in the same situation as Wenger, he grabbed his own legacy by the horns and fought his way through obstacles to retire a legend. However, Wenger seems to be stuck in dogma, waiting for his lucky moment to in the football calendar and for his team to come together. Wenger keeps waiting for the right center-half and center forward, even with the fretful awareness that his team needed one a day before yesterday. That is not the best for Wenger’s team, or his legacy. He is still waiting for times to change and accept his standards, instead of acclimatizing to the football world to make himself the perfect sendoff. Unfortunately, Wenger’s predictability remains too vivid.
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