Wenger “Didn’t See” Talent In Germany Until Recently – Okay Then Mr Tabloid
Arsène Wenger’s vision, or lack of, is infamous for many reasons. He foresaw the Invincibles a season before everyone else, he saw world-class striking talent in Henry when others saw an average winger, he famously doesn’t see incidences involving his own players but the latest thing he supposedly did or did not see takes the biscuit for me.
According to Paul Hayward of the Telegraph, Wenger has only just started to realise the talent on offer in the Bundesliga saying this:
As a son of Alsace-Lorraine, Arsène Wenger always had a good view of both France and Germany, but it took him a while to see that the best country for shopping is the Bundesliga rather than Ligue 1.
Wenger’s buying policy is now decidedly Germanic after a long spell of overestimating the quality of French league players such as Gervinho and Marouane Chamakh.
Err, okay Paul, if you say so buddy.
Is there no end to the Anti-Arsenal/Anti-Arsène rhetoric or sentiment that plagues the British media? Surely these chaps have something better to come up with and know by now that betting on Arsenal winning a trophy this season and Arsène Wenger’s genius is where the smart money is at? Even ignoring the fact that these articles do what they are supposed to do by igniting debate and causing uproar amongst the Arsenal supporters, the largest online supporting presence of any football club, surely there has to be something else worth writing about?
This article should have been about Arsène’s excellent vision in shopping in the right markets or getting the inside track on other leagues ahead of the trend.
When Wenger first came to Arsenal hardly anyone was shopping in France or looking for undervalued French commodities in other leagues such as Serie A. Now it seems almost everyone shops in France or for French-speaking African talent, including Alan “Arsenal isn’t English” Pardeaux.
In 2003-2005 hardly anyone was shopping for talent in La Liga or the youth ranks of Spanish clubs now everyone tries to have a go at it.
Shopping in Germany isn’t new to Wenger but it is popular to everyone now because of the resurgence of Bayern Munich and the rise of Dortmund.
Before it was popular Wenger purchased Lehmann, Hleb and Rosicky from German teams. It could even be argued that Mertesacker was purchased before Bundeliga became really hipster and he got the move on Podolski ahead of everyone else. People will slag off Podolski now that he is an Arsenal player but if he was a City, United, Chelsea or Spurs people would be slagging off Wenger for not picking him up.
Arsenal have brought in a few products of the recent Germany youth system in Gnabry, Eisfeld and Zelalem but Serge joined in 2011, Eisfeld joined in January 2012 and Zelalem in January this year. Hardly an influx of German players but hardly recent either. Many teams are looking at untested and unproven talent in Germany now just as they did with Spain and that is because teams from those countries started to dominate in Europe. Arsène Wenger, it could be argued, got in ahead of this trend.
Wenger is an intelligent man with a world-class scouting network so to suggest he has “wised up” and started shopping “where it’s at” is egregious folly.
To list Gervinho and Chamakh as examples of “failures” is desperate agenda. Gervinho was one of the best players in Ligue 1 at the time and started to perform well after a usual adaptation period. Sadly he never truly recovered from his penalty miss in the ACON and suffered, as many others have, at the hands and voices of the throng of a crowd so desperate for success almost no room for error was allowed or accepted.
It also fails to realise that Chamakh was one of the hottest forwards in the league until the return of the hottest forward in the league from that point onwards and the victim of a complete change in formation and direction to suit said person.
The article also fails to take into consideration the successful adaptations and consequent performances of Ligue 1 products Koscielny and Giroud. So maybe next time the media should put a little more effort into what they say about Wenger because as per usual they are completely wrong.
Wenger is the protoplast of buying talent irrespective of passport and is a trend-setter not a trend-follower.
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