Bolton Wanderers’ manager Owen Coyle has labelled suggestions that Arsene Wenger should be sacked as Arsenal manager as ‘ridiculous’ as the two men prepare to showdown on Saturday at the Emirates. The Trotters boss also hinted that his French counterpart has not given up hope of signing centre-back Gary Cahill in January, after the Gunners had an initial bid dismissed in the summer.
Speaking to assembled media in his weekly press conference, Coyle was quizzed on the pressure which has mounted on Wenger in recent weeks.
“It is absolutely ridiculous,” stated the Scot. “Arsène Wenger is one of the best managers in world football, and always will be. But we have to accept football is a game of opinions and criticism comes along the way.
“I feel he is the perfect fit for Arsenal, though, given their history and tradition and the way they have evolved over the years. Yes, they would like a trophy, but look at the players he has brought to the club.
“Maybe if he had the same resources as other managers of the biggest clubs, you would see an Arsenal side with different personnel.”
Dismissing suggestions that now was a good time to be playing at the Emirates given Arsenal’s poor start to the season, Coyle made clear that there would be no room for error.
“Regardless of what people have been saying about Arsenal, we recognise how tough of a game this is. They are a club with outstanding players, ones packed with pace and power, and are led by one of the best managers in world football.
“I love the way Arsenal play and if I wasn’t in football and someone asked me who I’d pay to watch it would be Arsenal because of their style of play and how dynamic and pleasing they are on the eye. What we have to do is make sure that isn’t the case on Saturday.
Wenger and Coyle have retained a close working relationship over the course of the last four years despite post-match disagreements and the recent disagreement regarding an alleged low bid for Cahill. Eager to play down any suggestion the pair are not speaking, Coyle continued:
“I am a huge admirer of Arsène Wenger. I have come up against him many times and there will be no tension.”
Reflecting on the Frenchman trying to lure England international Cahill to the Emirates in January, Coyle hinted that with the player having less than twelve months on his contract at the Reebok, there was a possibility he could lose his prized asset in the New Year if a suitable bid was forthcoming.
“I wouldn’t be surprised, Arsene has always said he’s a big admirer of Gary Cahill and ultimately the clubs never reached a fee, certainly the two chairman never got to a fee they felt was agreeable.
“Gary has got nothing to prove, Gary is an outstanding player and an outstanding young man, but I do think come January they’ll be more than Arsenal going for Gary in January.
“That’s a problem for January, at the moment he has to focus on doing his job for Bolton Wanderers which has elevated him to the England team. He has to make sure that he remains focused and he will because he’s very conscientious and a lovely young man.”
In Arsenal team news, Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun has confirmed that he will miss Saturday’s match after picking up a side strain in Tuesday’s 3-1 win over Shrewsbury Town.
Writing on Twitter, the 31-year-old revealed: “Very disappointed as I have a strain and will be out for a week or so.”