Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Wenger: We always respond well to losing big players

Arsene Wenger says Arsenal want to keep their best players but insists the club has always reacted well when star names have flown the nest.

While the regularity with which rival clubs have cherry-picked Gunners has declined in recent years, the Frenchman is confronted with the possibility of losing Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez for free next summer.

Their situations, coupled with doubts over the long-term future of Olivier Giroud, Jack Wilshere and Santi Cazorla, could make for a busy summer at the Emirates.

“In our job some days you think you make progress and the next you move back again,” replied Wenger when asked for an update on the club’s contract negotiations.

“So long as something is not signed you don’t like too much to talk about it.”

Asked what Arsenal would do if they lost several players at once, he continued: “How [do] we cope with that? Well, first of all we haven’t lost them yet. Second, we will respond to that by bringing in players of top quality.”

Wenger seemed to get increasingly agitated when the topic was revisited later in the press conference. Asked specifically about Jack Wilshere being close to penning a new deal, he made clear that until he has a signature it’s not worth talking about.

“We want them to stay. I say I answered that question because as long as things are not signed you can say you are positive or negative or super positive. When things are not signed, you shut up and announce things when they are concrete. It’s as simple as that.

“This club has lost many, many big players and has always responded well. Massive players have left this club and the club will always be in a strong position. You want to keep your best players, yes.”

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“I’m confident, yes. But what does that mean….?”


I think it means that „this situation is ideal”


It means he is a dickhead who should have sold them all in the summer


Well, while that is true, it always seems reactionary rather than a planned and decisive strategy.

One hopes the new back-office staff will be up to the challenge. The challenge being not to sign new players but rather to work against the Arsenal owner who always has the eye on the dollar more than the club itself!


“Well, while that is true, it always seems reactionary rather than a planned and decisive strategy.” Beautifully put. This is shambolic squad management. Why was the likes of Ozil, Sanchez and Wilshere allowed to run their contracts down? Why didn’t Wenger sell the disruptive Sanchez in the summer when a massive 60 million quid was offered by Man City? And don’t believe that bullshit about quality players coming in. We’ll probably need to spend about 200 million quid this summer to turn us into potential champions. Do you really think that Kroenke will release that kind of dough? We could… Read more »

John C

With Jack now playing (relatively) well and being an important first team player how much money do you think his agent will ask for when they come to negotiate his new contract? £150,000-200,000 a week?

He’s got us over a barrel if he stays fit given the size and cost of next summer’s rebuild.


Letting Jack run it down was totally sensible. He had spent the past several years injured and wasn’t particularly successful at Bournemouth last year. There were very real questions not only about his fitness but about whether or not injuries had sapped his ability. He already is on high wages and had he not put in the type of performance he has the past few weeks would realistically be looking at low to mid table sides. It’s Ozil and Sanchez that make no sense.

John C

I didn’t say it wasn’t, just it might be another of a long line of gambles we’ve made that we end up losing.


honestly where is jack going to go? he would be nothing more than a squad player at City, United, Liverpool or Chelsea – brought in primarily to fill out the home grown quota.


I don’t agree on the assessment of Jack’s contract and that letting it run down was the right decision. We continually gave Abou Diaby new contracts when he was perma-injured with the attitude that he will come good and never did.

While you could argue that Jack is in the same position as Abou, Jack at least fills our homegrown player quota and we could sell him for something if we decided to part ways. With the current situation he has us over a barrel and can walk for free if he wants. Far from ideal.


One of the major complaints about Wenger that past few years is he isn’t ruthless enough. He has created an environment where there really isn’t competition as players like Ramsey, the Ox, Jack etc largely knew they would play regardless of form or how it impacts the team shape etc. I give Wenger credit on this one – if the goal of the club is to win we can’t fault Wenger for not resigning players who aren’t obviously fit or talented enough at the top level (Jack has proved those doubts wrong the past few weeks). You have to keep… Read more »


Yeah but Diaby contract wage wasn’t as high as JW

John C

It doesn’t matter does it, we already have to buy replacements for Sanchez and Ozil, we don’t want to be buying one for Jack as well!

Heavenly Chapecoense

Arsenal hasn’t won the league after Henry, Vieira, Pires left. We hadn’t even won as little as Capital One cup for 8 years. We waited 8 years before the FA cups. Wenger don’t know what he is talking about.


Is so tender how you care for Kroenkes pocket. If it was for him, he would had sold Sanchez 2 seasons back for 90millions, and put that money in a golf club in California. Wenger were trying all this time to keep Alexis in the team, Kroenke is the one not investing in HIS own property; AFC


The offer came in during the last day or 2 during the transfer period. Not enough time to get another player in with quality.

Seriously though you are right on the fact the roster sucked to begin with this year. 4 goalies on the sr roster. Enough said


Never been your biggest fan fatgooner but now I am totally on board. Fucking mismanagement at it.s worst

Damo Dinkum

I still think the situation is ideal

Andy Mack

A stupid question from a hack journalist, which could only really get one answer.
What else is he supposed to say?
If he said ‘its a disaster and next season will be a write-off’ then no decent players would wan to join our completely demoralised team.
So he just points out that the loss of players has happened regularly before and the team get on with it.


If the situation wasn’t a disaster they wouldn’t be asking about it. We put ourselves in this position and then act aggrieved when we get asked about it??

John C

Exactly, they ask loaded questions to which they know the answer will make the manager look delusional


Yeah, because football journalists are all so reasonable and level headed. Never looking to get a rise out of managers and create click bait. Great point.

Andy Mack

AW wasn’t acting ‘aggrieved’ in response to the question.
I was to some degree in as much as too many of our ‘fans’ won’t understand why he said what he said, and will read other BS into his comment.


Responded well…to remain in the top 4. Well 5, maybe 6 this year. Basically we just sign a stop gap for a few years to keep us ticking along without going anywhere until they want to leave. Perhaps if we challenged for the league we wouldn’t have to respond as our players wouldn’t want to leave


Not sure that’s true though…look at Chelsea this year, Hazard could easily move on and they won the league last year and probably would have been close this year if it wasn’t for Professor Xavier and his pesky X-Men at City! And there always seems to be rumours of Aguero wanting out of there too, so not sure it’s fair to say players wouldn’t want to leave if we challenged for the league every year! Think we do need to get better at signing proper world class players who fit the system though…no more Elneny, Xhaka, Mustafi and maybe even… Read more »

Heavenly Chapecoense

Elneny didn’t come as a finished product. He came as a player who would complete his development at Arsenal. Wenger is doing nada with this guy.


Okay, okay. But what has El Neny shown in the last couple years other than total mediocrity? Football players develop differently and its not like cooking a recipe. This much salt, that much parsley, some butter and bam – its done. There are many factors and variables. (And I’d rather see Wilshere getting game time than Elneny. Iwobi should be sold IMO, but that is another story.) Its easy to blame Wenger, and I think he deserves A LOT of blame for the state of the squad and the league finishing of the last few years. But at least we… Read more »


So the obvious follow up question is “Why are we so well practised in dealing with the aftermath of losing big players against our will?”

Northern Gooner

Maybe because it happens more by design than accident?. Everyone at the club seems to be happy with being 4th and winning the ocassional FA cup.

I don’t think Wenger’s got it in him to set up a title winning team anymore and Kroenke doesn’t care as long as the club doesn’t slide below 10th, which is as unlikely to happen as winning the Champions League.

Until Kroenke starts to get financially hurt, he’ll keep the team ticking just above mediocrity.

A Different George

Everyone agrees there was a period, with the new Stadium, that Arsenal could not keep their top players. But we have lost no one that we wanted to keep since Van Persie. We may lose two we very much want to keep this year (we will lose the third, Wilshere, only if we want) but, however much we want to believe that Arsenal are different, that is not really unusual for the biggest stars.

Northern Gooner

Yes, the new Stadium imposed financial restraints on the club, but that hasn’t been the case for a number of years, so much so, that the club has managed to build a healthy cash reserve. Whichever way you want to dress it, the fact that the 2 star players the club was meant to be building on, have pretty much decided to leave, for free. That, to me, is nothing but rank mismanagement and utter incompetece. Note that i’m not talking about whether they should leave or not, that’s a different story. I am referring to allowing what amounts to… Read more »


respond well, my arse, the players you replaced our quality players with were just mediocre, plus we have got worse and worse with every season, that is your way of responding well


AMN and Reiss Nelson will be like having new signings so we don’t need to sign anybody this January.

John C

The vast majority of fans would now like to see how the club responds to losing its manager!

Heavenly Chapecoense

Gazidis would say other club had responded poorly to losing their managers.


I have a sneaking suspicion that Gazidis would be delighted if the club lost this manager.


5th or 6th place “strong”, Arsene?

Brian McKay

Always respond well to losing star players? You got to be joking. I’ve been a huge supporter of Wenger’s over the years, but if he really feels we have ‘responded well’, he’s delusional.


By not Winning premier league for 13 years, Quite an achievement


A colleague of mine lives in North London. Has tickets to Arsenal, has for years. His kids (now in their 20s) are huge Arsenal supporters, and he attends nearly every match with them. But he as born/raised a Watford man. Whenever I bitch about how poor Arsenal plays, how we’re not achieving anything, not really improving or competing any more, or looking “pathetic” (one of my favs) he always laughs in my face. Says, I love hearing you Arsenal fans moan. You had the Invincibles. You’ve just won another FA cup. You’ve never been relegated. Your stadium is amazing. Stop… Read more »


More than “big” players we need players that have quality yes, but that are committed to the “team” and leave everything on the pitch match in and match out.


The last several years have done so much damage to Wenger’s reputation (see basically every single young top French player has turned us down) that I’m not sure we could realistically attract star players to replace Ozil and Sanchez at this point without a change in manager. Young players aren’t progressing into top talents (all of our young players seem to just stall out which indicates poor coaching) while we aren’t really close to winning top trophies (the FA cup for how great it is realistically is a competition where you at most play 2 top flight teams). I still… Read more »


didn’t replace Henry,Vieria,Piries,Cole,Adams,, just a few to name, in fact Le fraud has always replaced our great players with dross, over rated players who would never have made the team of 2004. Wenger is a liar and spews the same old rubbish every season. We are an average side with crap players like Iwobi,Xhaka,Bellerin, the list is endless, this has to be one of the worst Arsenal teams I have seen in a long time


With whom, pray tell, do you replace Henry?
Or Vieira?
(and you forgot about Dennis Bergkamp….)

One of a kind, once in a generation players. Just easy to “replace” them, eh.
Football manager and Fifa have ruined supporters.

A Different George

I am not sure you can blame Wenger for not replacing players without also giving him credit for bringing them in (with the exception of Adams) in the first place. (Along with Campbell and Cesc and Van Persie and Cazorla.)


With the exception of a Vieira replacement, we’ve had players in the past decade who have been capable of helping us challenge for top honours. RVP, Cesc, Rosicky, Nasri, Alexis, Koscielny, Cazorla, Sagna, Ozil (even Adebayor for a short time). Add to that some very solid supporting players who could have been so much better with stronger coaching. Recruitment’s not been perfect (we can all list the names), but you’d be mad to suggest that’s been anywhere near as much of an issue as the tactical side of things.

Andy Mack

Diaby was supposed to be a ‘kind of’ replacement for Viera, but one big injury stopped that happening.


That’s confidence!! Gained from years of loosing our best.


Don’t respond, buy.

We will need a replacement for BOTH Alexis and Ozil should they (likely) leave.

BUT in addition we are still lacking technical level necessary. I think we still need to add one more (be it say a Theo replacement). Currently, we are too predictable.

Wenger does himself no favours being penny-wise pound foolish. We all know he doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel but he needs to add that one or so (high technicality)player more to make the difference.

This has been a problem for the last 8 seasons.

Donald\'s Trump

Can you fit another bullshit bingo phrase in?


It also makes sense if we resolve one of Ozil or Alexis now.

Otherwise there will be a monumental task ahead this summer (world cup year as well).

In addition, we will also have to resolve aging Cbacks/fullbacks plus midfield could still need reinforcement.


Its a bit difficult to say Wenger is mismanaging Ozil and Alexis situation. The fact is that it isn’t entirely in our hands either and the players have a massive say if they should want to drag on proceedings. The only thing we can do would be to buy regardless of decision of player. That would take enormous gumption. In Ozil and Alexis case, we will have little choiuce but to buy to replace that level of talent. OTOH with the Ox, we could have easily forced him to put pen to paper early when Gnabry was pushing for first… Read more »


How do we?? What a load of dog shit,, responding well to me means winning the league,, have we done that yet,, NO,, not responded that well then

Cultured determination

So we need a new team come end of season:
Kos / monreal/ per/ debuchy
Cazorla/ ozil/ alexis/ theo/ probably one of elneny or coq.

Gonzo gunner

We get worse with every big loss. How dropping this far is a good response escapes me.

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