In September 1996 when Arsenal announced Arsene Wenger as the new manager, the English media that prided itself as all knowing, choroused, Arsene-who?
The Frenchman was not a novice but he was not a household name. Only then director who later became vice-chairman, David Dein, knew much about him and believed he could turn the fortunes of the club around for the better.
Wenger arrived and as the saying goes, the rest is history. He changed the fortunes of the club around on and off the pitch. Winning three Premier League titles, including the unbeaten season and 7 FA cups. Off the pitch, Wenger superintended the Gunners’ move from the pint-sized Highbury to the modern Ashburton Groove.
Behind the huge successes recorded by the Frenchman, he had the Englishman to thank. Both of them formed a tag team that worked wonders for the North Londoners. Together, they unearthed talents and turned them into world beaters.
In 2007, Dein left Arsenal following irreconcilable differences and that was the beginning of Arsenal’s troubles. That was the only time, Wenger considered not extending his Arsenal stay because he knew the journey was about to go from a challenge to becoming challenging.
“It is a huge disappointment because we worked very closely together, David has contributed highly to the success of the club in the last 10 years and even before that as well”, Wenger said after Dein’s resignation.
Fast forward to 2020, it looks like Arsenal have unearthed another Wenger and Dein. As part of restructuring of the club post-Wenger, Arsenal brought in former star, Edu to be the Technical Director. He rooted for former midfielder, Mikel Arteta to replace sacked compatriot, Unai Emery.
Edu in his role has been able to lure exciting prospects and tested Generals to Arsenal, countrymen; Gabriel Martinelli, David Luiz, Willian and latest signing Gabriel Maghales.
After winning the FA Cup within 6 months of taking over, Mikel Arteta has been able to earn the trust and confidence of the board. With the exit of former Director of Football, Raul Sanhelli, there seems to have been a power shift to Edu. Now it seems the on field decisions at Arsenal lie in the hands of two of their former players.
Arteta is an ambitious manager with an exciting project while Edu has vast networks amongst South American players. Unlike other top clubs, Arsenal do not have such a huge warchest when it comes to transfer kitty, hence, they need to emulate Wenger’s style of catch them young, rough and rejected. Edu will find them and Arteta will groom them.
Wenger and Dein brought years of success to Arsenal, can Arteta and Edu re-enact history?