'Can anyone tell me how Arsene Wenger changed the game?' - Graeme Souness with a stinging critique of the Arsenal boss
Former Liverpool manager Graeme Souness has ridiculed the notion that Arsene Wenger should be given credit for revolutionising English football following his arrival at Arsenal in 1996.
In an interview with Independent.ie, Souness has dismissed that the oft-aired suggestion that Wenger’s appointment as Arsenal manager heralded a change in the Premier League landscape, as he oversaw a revolution in dietary and tactical approaches not previously seen in the English game.
Yet Souness argues the Frenchman’s early triumphs at Arsenal were inspired by the players he inherited, as he suggested the influence of experienced defenders Tony Adams, Martin Keown and Steve Bould was crucial in a story that saw the Gunners win two Premier League titles early in Wenger’s reign.
“Can anyone tell me how Arsene Wenger changed the game? Pray tell me,” Sky Sports pundit Souness told us. “I’m not having this stuff about fitness or diet of whatever else, not having it.
“Are you telling me his early success at Arsenal had nothing to do with inheriting the best back five in world football? That had to help him a little I would say.
“Also, are you telling me it had nothing to do with French football having its golden period and him knowing more about French players coming through at that time than anyone else?
“You hear this stuff about Wenger being a genius and doing things no one else ever did, but the idea that he changed the face of English football, do me a favour.”
Meanwhile, Souness has suggested Wenger is destabilising the club by refusing to offer clarity on his future.
Arsenal look set to miss out on qualification for the Champions League for the first time in Wenger’s reign as Gunners boss after last Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at local rivals Tottenham, with Souness suggesting an announcement on his future plans is needed swiftly.
“You have to think that if he said he was going, he would get real sympathy and everyone would get behind him,” added Souness.
“The bigger deal should not be that they are going to finish behind Tottenham, but that they are going to miss out on the Champions League.
“What you hear now, with talk of Directors of Football coming in, it sounds like Arsenal are dictating the role Wenger will have next season. They sound like they are telling him: stay on our terms or not at all.
“Up to now, he has been the manager of the all departments at the club, but now he will be just a coach, so his influence will be diluted and he has to decide whether he wants to work in that new set-up.”
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