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    Irrespecitve of Result, Change Is Needed At Arsenal

    As I currently type this the second half is underway at the Emirates, in a game some pundits and fans have been calling a crucial game for Arsenal and top four rivals Manchester City. I on the other hand feel that no matter what the final score is, changes are much needed at the club this summer.

    The best the club can hope for at the end of today is to be four points behind fourth placed City, with a game in hand. Whilst this doesn't seem bad at all, based on what the fans have witnessed over the past month to six weeks a lot needs to change at the club.

    First of all let's look at the on pitch factors. In recent weeks the performances of almost all of the players have left a lot to be desired, calling into question their future at the club. This is without taking into account the fact the club has a staggering twelve first team players, something that surely sets Arsenal apart from its rivals.

    The list includes superstars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who have inexplicably been allowed to run their contracts into the final year. This is most definitely something that sets Arsenal apart from its major domestic and European rivals, and yet more evidence of the club shooting itself in the foot. Other regular first team players out of contract include midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Santi Cazorla,  winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and on-loan midfielder Jack Wilshere.

    List of Arsenal players out of contract next summer. Photo: Bleacher Report


    It's not just regular first team players with a year left on their deals, but also a significant number of squad rotation players. On-loan goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, a player who has improved at Roma and looks set to be the keeper of the future for the club. Defenders Kieran Gibbs, Carl Jenkinson and Per Mertesacker are also due new deals. Completing the lot are attacking options Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo, in the case of Campbell in particular a player who has shown promise but never been given an opportunity at the club.

    What is important here is that there are good players at every position which could leave the club on a free next summer, something that is reflective of wider issues which are hampering this club massively. At best the club have left themselves with a very busy twelve months now, and at worst they have embarrassed themselves by allowing talented players potentially join their rivals for free.

    It should also be recognised that these are just the players out of contract, the team arguably needs some upgrades in most areas of the pitch. One or two defenders would help improve the unit and striker is an area that arguably needs to be looked at if the rumours are true that Spaniard Lucas Perez is to leave the club after one season. Whilst it is only rumours the list of reasons for leaving the club appeared extensive, adding fuel to this story likely having some truth to it.

    Lucas Perez has not enjoyed the first season he would of hoped for at Arsenal. Photo: Unknown
    Sourced from teamtalk.com

    In overall terms on the pitch the team has talented players, however no body has appeared to step up and become a leader. This is something that has been lacking for far too long now within the team and is needed for any team to be successful. This glaring omission season after season has become increasingly infuriating for fans of the club and is something that badly needs to be rectified sooner rather than later if the team wants to seriously compete for major honours.

    As I have mentioned above the current problems at Arsenal are not solely down to the players. They form a triumvirate of the problem, with another factor being long serving manager Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman has made the club his own over the past 21 years, something that once he is gone will be respected in a similar manner to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United. His success in the first decade cemented his legacy as a club legend and a pioneer within English football.

    He significantly changed the game within England with his tactics and off-field preparation work with fitness and nutrition. He also should be commended for keeping Arsenal within the Champions League places whilst the club were severely financially limited as they paid off their move to the Emirates Stadium in 2006. On the other hand, since then the club have become stagnant. They have failed to significantly challenge for the Premier League and have been eliminated in the round of 16 of the Champions League every year since 2010.

    The sum total of the clubs success since 2006 has been two F.A Cup titles and two Community Shields. For a club that claims its competing with the best in England and Europe this is no where near good enough for most managers to keep their jobs. Look at the dealings at every one of their rivals. All around them have changed managers when needed to because of poor results, and it has gone both ways.

    Wenger has increasingly looked like this in recent seasons. Photo: Reuters.


    Many pundits have cautiously told Arsenal fans calling for Wenger to leave that they should be careful what they wish for, but this argument for me doesn't hold up. Whilst it's true that since Ferguson left Man Utd they have struggled outside the top four under David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and now Jose Mourinho, a similar result at Chelsea has had the opposite effect. Sacking Mourinho last season and replacing him with Antonio Conte has propelled them into runaway favourites for the Premier League title. It can easily work both ways.

    Whilst it is bad to see a club legend being hounded by fans and press to leave the club he has revolutionised, it just simply isn't working any more. He has appeared to be clueless and incapable of changing the downward fortunes of the team in recent weeks, which is a crying shame. The man will rightfully get the goodbye salute he deserves whenever he does choose to leave the club, it increasingly appears however like his time at the club is coming to a close.

    The final piece of the triangle at the club is the board of directors. From the outside perspective in some key decision they have showed themselves to be indecisive and weak. They have failed to lock up key players Sanchez and Ozil to long term contracts, and they are allowing manager Wenger to dictate to the club whether he stays or goes. Through their own indecision they have allowed all three to have all the leverage against the club, bear in mind that no matter how high profile they all are they are ultimately employees of the club.

    Can anyone think of any other major business to allow key employees to have all the leverage over the company. This business comparison is particularly pertinent, as some of the board appear to view the club as purely business. Their actions with consecutive new deals for Wenger and only spending money when needed to suggest they are happy to accept not challenging for honours, accepting top four finishes and early Champions League exits as long as it keeps bringing in the European money and keeps profits going another season.

    Majority Arsenal shareholder Stan Kroenke at one of the clubs two F.A Cup final victories in 2014 and 2015. Now fans are calling for him to quit. Photo: Getty Images.


    The club have accumulated a lot of money over the years, and have a lot to spend to improve the team should they want. The issue is that the current board seemingly don't want to do this and it hinders the club in transfer dealings. The infamous transfer bid for then Liverpool striker Luis Suarez of £40 million and one pound when they believed he had a £40 million release clause perfectly sums up the transfer policy at the club.

    They appear to want to save money on every transfer and are absolutely unwilling to overspend for players. The unfortunate thing for the club is that in modern football these days the value of players has skyrocketed and to sign the top players many clubs now have to overpay to sign them, especially if its a rival club trying to sign them.

    With this in mind it further adds to the insanity of the club potentially allowing their best players Sanchez and Ozil to leave for a free next summer. This shows the board are not currently on a par with their rivals, something that adds further fuel to the fans joint cries for both them and Wenger to leave the club as soon as possible.

    In conclusion, whilst it's the manager who is taken a majority of the criticism from the media and fans, he is simply one portion of the current problems surrounding the club. The players have let the manager down with their on pitch performances, despite many publicly supporting Wenger, they have not backed up their talk on the pitch.

    The board are the final portion of the problem, with their lack of assertive leadership severely hampering the club with signing marquee players and then keeping hold of them long term. All of these factors are equally hindering the club and are creating a toxic atmosphere of increasing discontent amongst the fans, something that undoubtedly affects performances on the pitch. From here the future of the club depends on all three of these problems being rectified, if the club wants to truly contend with their rivals.

    What are your thoughts on the current predicament at Arsenal? Feel free to give your opinion below in the comments section. Follow me on Twitter @brfcjordan95.
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    Item Reviewed: Irrespecitve of Result, Change Is Needed At Arsenal Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Jordan Wilkins
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