Gilles Grimandi has leapt to Arsene Wenger’s defence calling on former players who criticise him in the media to respect his compatriot’s commitment to the club.
Grimandi, who made more than 100 appearances for Arsenal between 1997-2002, has been the Gunners chief scout in France for 12 years and maintains a close relationship with his former coach despite being responsible for the acquisition of Yaya Sanogo and Marouane Chamakh.
Upset by the way that Wenger has been repeatedly reproached by his former charges, including Thierry Henry and Martin Keown, Grimandi highlighted that those in comfortable positions in the media should probably get involved with the nitty-gritty of day-to-day club coaching before making such sensationalist statements.
“It makes me sad because guys like Thierry or Martin, I like them, I have a good relationship with them, but some of them take a sensationalist path and I don’t like that,” he told L’Equipe.
“I want to say three things to all the former players who have become pundits. Firstly, you mustn’t have a short memory — they owe a lot to Arsene, and they have sometimes done all they can to get back into the club after the end of their playing career.
“Also, they should respect Arsene’s commitment to the club, the fact that he works like a madman every day.
“Arsene takes strategic decisions for Arsenal every day. Finally, I want to say to them: ‘Get stuck in! Today, you’re in a judgemental role, but commit yourselves to a club and you’ll see it’s not simple.'”
Grimandi also hit back at suggestions that Wenger, so regularly heralded as a forward-thinking coach when he arrived in England, has parted with a clear philosophy of how Arsenal should play football.
“What’s true is that possession guaranteed you results in the Premier League and today it’s no longer true. So you have to adapt,” he said.
“But a coach is judged over the long term. People have called Arsene an avant-garde coach for a long time, because he was able to identify a clear style of play at Arsenal, and now he’s supposed to be all at sea in that area? That makes no sense.”
On the subject of the Gunners recent form, which has seen them drop out of the race for a top four finish and exit the domestic cup competitions, Grimandi went on: “What’s happening right now is tough, it’s hard to take for those of us at the club.
“There were mistakes made this season but people mustn’t target Arsene, especially as the situation is difficult, not dramatic.
“Yes we’re sixth in the league, but we’re still in the hunt for the Europa League. And between winning that competition and finishing fourth in the Premier League, I prefer to win a trophy knowing that — in both cases — you have a Champions League place.”
Lets everyone shut up while AW drives the club to the ground
Has he seen any game of late ?
How can you not comment on the sh*tshow
He’s employed by arsene fc so of course he has blinkers on and dare not criticise the boss despite years of failure.
He can sod off too…
Sanogo & Chamakh? Man Gilles! you are getting arsene the sack sooner than you know it!
Didn’t he have something to do with Koscielny and Giroud too?
Scouting isn’t a precise science and could be hit and miss at times. Grimandi scouted Giroud, Koscielny, Bacary Sagna and Nasri, to name a few, even if he shies away from taking credit for the players’ successes.
His scouted Nasri ? Everybody knew about very young Nasri as a big big talent. Nasri got sick for more than a year otherwise Real was set up to get him.
Yeah, everybody knew Nasri, but “scouting” isn’t always about discovering “diamonds in the rough”, you know. Clubs still need reports about such detail as personality traits…..
Anyone who wouldn’t have stood for it has been ousted by the board and by the manager. It’s difficult to imagine not just the lads from the 80s and 90s putting up with it but also Wenger players like Viera. Of course Gilles says this. He’s as delusional as his boss.
In a way he has a point. Although we desperately need a change of manager, it isn’t right just to have a go at him, every player who pulls on a team shirt to go out on the pitch ought to put a fckn shift in instead of wandering around passing sideways.
Possession does work if you have a strong midfield and defenders who can actually defend, A manager that can adapt tactics to suit opposition and his own players strengths might help.
Did he offer Park Chu Young as well?
Don’t be nasty. He offered Aliadière, Squillaci and Pascal Cygan.
Thank you for YOUR service Gilles, but it is now time to part ways.
And take your boss AW with you pls.
Do one Giles.
I can’t help but feel we wouldn’t have ended up this broken if Wenger had been more openly scrutinised earlier. Even now, most pundits start their observations with “Look, Wenger has been an incredible manager, changed English football, Brought Arsenal into the 21st Century…” yada yada yada. Can we not just have a manager who used to be really good and now is not very good? Yeah, pundits can be a little polarised at times as extreme opinion sells, but can we keep defending a a man just because “he has been an incredible manager, changed English football, Brought Arsenal… Read more »
While I agree with the overall goal of change, the see it the other way. They are all constantly criticizing him and the club (much of it fair in recent years) but at least some of them have the decency to show some earned respect while doing so.
We can ask him to leave without resorting to editing the narrative in a way that turns him into some vile criminal.
Everyone external to the club is the same – saddened by results, wants things to improve, looking for something to say and the easiest is to focus on Arsene (rather than the directors, owner, StatDNA*).
He’ll go soon, let’s try to support the club while they have something to play for.
* have we bought anyone good since we acquired StatDNA in 2014? We bought Alexis in 2014, who have we got since then worth mentioning? Or have we got worse at buying? https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/sports/soccer/arsenal-arsene-wenger-analytics.html is interesting shows that StatDNA would have turned down Griezmann.
Maybe our purchases would be better in a different coaching setup so it’s hard to tell. Its jusy been so long now that change is needed right at the top all the way down to the bottom. There is a rot and it’s time to try something new. The manager faces the brunt of the criticism but then we have failed time and again in the same way over and over to the point that our failings have taken place with a team of players entirely different from the team we have today. People say the only constant is the… Read more »
I’m pretty sure had we replaced David Dein properly then we would have got half the players we went in for and maybe retained some of the talent. That was when the decline began, losing someone as capable as Dein (and did he do enough to stay at Arsenal?) and replace him with Gazidis was stupid. What the Dein and Arsene team showed that you needed someone to focus on the pitch and someone to focus on the boardroom/acquisition stuff. And that was an era of people like Dein, Kenyon, David Gill etc so for me its amazing that we… Read more »
I am also sorry Dein left–but that involved big ownership issues, a power struggle to control the club, nothing to do with differences over style of play, or scouting, etc.
Agree with all of this. What we saw after Dein left was Arsenal become a club with a single figurehead. All questions about the club were directed to him and he dealt with all the blowback while board members were buying and selling shares as the club’s value skyrocketed. Wenger made a tactical gamble during the Banter Era by being the person who told fans we could win a title every season only for us to learn 4-5 years later that actually, our only target was CL qualification and the £25million pounds a year we needed to stay “self-sustaining”. A… Read more »
In fairness, no big club, not even big French clubs, were interested in Griezmann, who became a world-class player suddenly, with very little to indicate it might happen.
You say he’ll go soon as if it’s a certainty. I don’t believe that. I’ve thought he has to go soon for the last few years. I think the source of a lot of the criticism and anger is the realisation that him going soon, just because it seems obvious it’s the right thing to happen, is not a formality, and that to get the change that a lot of people want, is going to take things becoming unbearable for Arsene and the board. That’s why I can understand the continued anger and criticism aimed at Arsene, because it seems… Read more »
What I’d give for an image of the time Grimandi smashed Guardiola in the face
He owes his job to the fm.Naturally he is beholden to the latter.
Seriously Wenger has been allowed to continue his flawed philosophy.
Its about time he goes. He shd have gone 2014.
Make sure it doesn’t happen agaim
“…maintains a close relationship with his former coach despite being responsible for the acquisition of Yaya Sanogo and Marouane Chamakh.“
Ice cold, sir. Ice cold.
Because wenger pays your salary.
Does the same apply for Henry, Keown, Dixon etc. who are now paid by Sky / BBC? who clearly have an agenda.
Of course he doesn’t. The club pays his salary.
What does not speak does not lie.
Arsenal are awful.
Grimandi should look at the results before opening his trap…
here here gilles, a not very great player but a great man
yes arsene is ultimately responsible alongside his players but whats with the hounding out of the guy,
why are we not hearing any top managers saying wenger is past it
they know he is still top quality
Because Wenger’s not competitive anymore that’s why rival managers went him to stay, he’s being hounded out because he won’t leave out of the front door.
Pep Guardiola said “He knows the club, he knows the Premier League, he knows his players. And I’m sure he’s going to take the right decision, for the club, for him, for the players, for everybody.”
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of his current abilities as manager, yes?
Not sure I’ve ever heard any manager say another manager is past it. There’s a proper managers union it’s very rare any of them would ever say another should loose his job because they all feel like they don’t have enough job security as it is. Not sure that’s really a reliable measure
These former players have every right to an opinion. The fact that they had good times under Wenger should not put Wenger beyond criticism. Seems like a ridiculous argument by Grimaldi.
Looks like his style is similar to Wenger’s lol he is responsible for sanogo and chamakh!!! Steady on super scout!!!
Wenger shouldn’t be above criticism from former players just because he helped them in their careers.
Much like Grimandi shouldn’t be above criticism, there have been a huge amount of great players from France over the last few years, why hasn’t our chief French scout got them?
Opinions of employees like grimandi are exactly what you would expect, loyal and backing of the current regime. Those on the outside will say more and criticize but ultimately it’s the fans opinions that should matter as we are the life blood of any club, even given the vast amount of tv money it’s still only that high because fans fill the stadiums advertisers want to be associated with something that is popular and vibrant. The majority of fans demand change, it may not happen this week or this month but ultimately it will happen because at the end of… Read more »
Grimandi seems just the sort of Arsene employee who should be moved on. All the young talent in France and he couldn’t spot one?
Who? Griezmann, who absolutely no one knew about until everyone did? Or Kante, who was so highly prized that he went to newly-promoted and relegation- threatened Leicester? Koscielny, who had only season in the French first division? Oh, right, we were the ones who found him.
I’ve been thumbing down the negative comments. But you make an excellent point. Even I knew about the French from playing Fifa against my kid like 4 years ago
I’m sure Grimandi is delighted with Wenger. Another parasite in the manager’s pocket getting well paid for delivering nothing.
I don’t think that ex-players in general have been disrespectful. They just have the best interests of the club, and possibly of the manager also, at heart.
We all know that Wenger works like a madman, the problem is the quality of that work
Great interview with Ian Wright in the Sunday Times a week or two ago. In it, he mentions a chat he had with Arsene where Arsene told him he accepted any criticism Ian made about Arsene or the club as he knew it ‘came from a place of love’.
We all have a little soft spot for The Grimster & his loyalty to Wenger is admirable but,there’s always a BUT.but 14 years & no title well that speaks volumes.manure fans were hounding fergie yes fergie( the man who delivered 13 titles)failed to deliver a title in 3 years.remember the reasons why we left Highbury ?it was to compete.at the highest level.not fa cups.
Difficult to disagree with anything he’s said there but he hit the nail on the head when he said we needed to adapt to the changes in the premier league. Clearly we haven’t.
As a scout, he should know we have not been committing to buying enough to cover for Wenger’s flaws as a tactical non interventionist. And the PL has become more competitive. Not only is Wenger dealing with clubs like City, United, and Chelsea all of whom can spend much more in transfer and wages but also the rest of the league are now able to sueeze us at the bottom end as they have shed inhibition to buy foreign plus have better funds thanks to TV money, to wade into those markets. The operating environment is way more competitive now.… Read more »
Gilles has said, exactly what you would expect him to say as an employee of Arsenal FC.
He’s not likely to come out and say that Wenger should go is he?
Personally, I think it’s all a bit of a non story…
I think it has to be said.
Grimandi is doing a bit of a service because punditry (and ex players) should not be shielded from standards either.
And standards in the media are generally poor.
“Man very close to Arsene Wenger says ‘Arsenal Wenger should not be criticised'”
That’s not what he said! He has only stated he has a problem with the “sensationalist path” ex players have opted for, when they have first hand knowledge of how hard Wenger works. Sounds quite a reasonable position to me.
We all have an opinion but it’s hard to take his seriously when he’s still part of a failing system and mentions ‘mistakes were made’ which is something we can all see and are fed up with. The criticism from all corners has been well over the top but then it always has been.
You need to seperate the performance of the manager from the scout.
And an understanding of the operating environment currently will help.
The French market is very tight and prices for youth players across the board have gone up.
Gilles, you sound eerily like a monk at a monastery. Arsene isn’t God and the club isn’t the church. It is a football club and former players are allowed to have opinions without becoming acolytes. Get real. The manager is not sacrosanct, you speak as if hes been apotheosized. Its not healthy.
I think he is wrong to say the players need to bring in an appreciation of what they owe to Wenger in their career as a factor in their criticism. This is ludicrous to say the least. Nor does Wenger toiling away have any factor in the fact that his methods are clearly NOT effective anymore. BUT he is correct in saying these pundits have it easy and do not need to stick their necks out. Moreover none of them have the necessary experience (save Neville) to back up their two bits worth. Therefore there is a sound argument that… Read more »
I never understood this reasoning. Henry and Keown are asked questions, and they are paid to give their honest answer. If everyone who ever helped anyone else was free from criticism, then this world would be a pile of ash already.
Yes, he helped their careers. But he also ruined Arsenal FC soooo…
Anyone can give an “honest answer”.
We need lucid and well thought out answers.
These pundits get paid a lot to snipe in comfort from the sidelines without sticking their necks out.
It strikes me as ludicrous that most of these media outlets have clowns for pundits, NONE of whom have had ANY experience in management or the transfer market.
‘Chief scout in France’ yet when was the last time we developed an exciting French youth prospect?
Seems to me that Grimandi is equally culpable for the situation we find ourselves in now.
The market has shifted. You need to get updated. The price for younger players are premium now. As I said, there are 8 clubs in the world who can spend more than us (Bayern, Barca, PSG, Real, City, Chelsea, United, Juve). They also have better allure currently. For this reason in last 5 seasons, Arsene has actually been buying players who are older that may have dipped in form but have still good qualities. Ozil comes to mind. Santi. Grimandi’s operating environment is much more difficult these days with plenty of PL clubs also squeezing the bottom end of the… Read more »
“Arsene takes strategic decisions for Arsenal every day”
And therein lies the problem.
That’s partially true. Grimandi misses the point to some extent in that criticism should not have bias towards the successful part of Wenger’s tenure either. The critics (to be fair to Keown and Henry) are weighing in on the NOW. Wenger’s decision making was easier back in the day when competition for foreign (FRENCH) talent was minimal and he had the pick coinciding with a golden generation. These days, knowledge is more flat and clubs in the PL are prepared to shed their earlier xenophobia, buy French or otherwise. Thereby the market is tighter for talent. The youth market has… Read more »
He shouldn’t take it personally their job is to create sensations (positive or negative it doesn’t matter) because that’s what drives interest and the media’s job is to turn interest into subscription and advertising revenue
As Wenger is held to a standard, so should the media pundits.
Neither Henry nor Keown make particular sense. They flip flop (particularly Henry)
If anything Dixon is a bit more measured.
But Gary Neville is the most consistent (sad to say a United bloke)
None of course (besides Neville who had a short unsuccessful stint) have ever waded into high level man management let alone operated in the transfer market.
Yet some fans would listen to them over the gaffer.
Is he fucking blind
He is talking rubbish. I can’t even remember him. Wenger should do the right thing. He should also understand how the fans feel right now. I guess he is even one of the problems as he was responsible for the purchase of the two flops, Chamak and Sonongo.
Yes he may have gambled on Sanogo and Chamakh but he also brought in Koscielny and Sagna.
The words SELECTIVE MEMORY comes to mind when thinking of a number of ex-players and empty vessel fans.
I want to know what Pascal Cygan says as well.
All the legends need to be heard.
Some lesser players in career can make decent and well balanced pundits.
Liam Rosenoir (of course no relation to the club) has been on a couple of times and speaks with a level head.
Henry is certainly not above criticism either.
Neither Wright nor Henry make much sense.
They tend to over compensate for their ties to us.
Not many Arsenal supporters anymore just critics. Quiet sad really.
Well said Giles – Come on Arsenal let’s get back on track tonight at Milan
Nothing wrong with being critical but in essence…PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS.
Gary Neville did. He soon found out theory is intrinsically more difficult to execute than practise.
I’m sorry, but that kidn of a stupid way approacinh to things – I can’t say that a movie is garbage just because I’ve never directed one in my life?
The criticism Wenger is under is more than deserved – not because pundits are always right, but because Wenger is heavily involved in everything that goes on in this club, which means he SHOULD be criticized when he’s failing.
Woah, so you want to tell me that a crappy scout who wouldn’t have found himself working for a club as big as Arsenal in a million years without Wenger is defending his friend\boss?
I AM SHOCKED !
I wonder, Mr Grimandi, what does it taste like Arsene had for dinner last night? With your tongue so far up his arse you should be able to tell easily.
Gilles – Arsenal through & through. Rarely regular but never moaned and performed when called upon. Even after retiring gave back to club loyally. Very easy being a pundit moaning etc but Gary Neville hey how did he do at Valencia etc. Henry etc are legends but do coaching badges take a job like Bournemouth and do as well as Eddie Howe. I probably think it is time for Wenger to retire but I know that his successor ( whoever that will be) will be hounded out by current ” supporters” who demand instant & constant success. Even Conte lauded… Read more »