Alisher Usmanov has delivered a damning verdict on the current situation at Arsenal, claiming Arsene Wenger needs to strengthen his squad in all areas.
Having ended a nine-year trophy drought when they came from 2-0 down to defeat Hull City in the FA Cup final back in May, hopes were high that the Gunners could push on further this term. Money was spent on Danny Welbeck, Calum Chambers, Mathieu Debuchy, David Ospina and, most notably of all Alexis Sanchez, as Wenger improved his squad in the summer.
However, Arsenal have made their worst start to a season in 32 years, with their 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester United on Saturday leaving them in eighth position and already 15 points behind leaders Chelsea. And although they should again reach the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, few will expect them to progress much further.
Added to this the early elimination from the League Cup, and once more the pressure is growing on Wenger. This is likely to increase now that Usmanov, who is the club’s second largest shareholder with a 30 percent stake, has delivered such a damning and public critique of the current situation in which he claims every position needs to be improved if they are to realistically challenge for the top honours at home and abroad.
“My opinion, and I tell it openly, we need to strengthen every position to play on the level of such teams in the UK as Chelsea and Manchester City or in Europe like Real, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Bayern Munich and other clubs,” he told CNBC. “Arsenal is a dream that sometimes becomes a mirage and sometimes a pain as every dream.
“The potential of the team is there, but there is no critical evaluation of mistakes and their admittance. Not a single genius can retain its level when he does not admit his own mistakes. Only when you admit your mistakes are you rid of them. We just repeat the same results year by year. Quite high to secure the place in the UEFA Champions League but we regularly lose in the first circles of play-offs. As an investor I am not happy with that.”
The Arsenal players can help relieve some of the pressure on Wenger by beating Borussia Dortmund at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night, a result which would secure their passage into the knockout stages of the Champions League. The Premier League then resumes on Saturday, with an early trip to West Bromwich Albion.
Is it time for Wenger to go, or should Arsenal stick with him at least for the rest of the season? Let us know what you think by joining in the discussion below.