Arsenal legend Liam Brady has told Eamon Dunphy’s Stand podcast that Arsene Wenger continues to deliver what the ownership requires and warned fans calling for his exit: “Be careful what you wish for.”
Wenger’s contract is up in the summer and with Arsenal currently 10 points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea and facing another Champions League exit in the round of 16 after losing the first leg 5-1 at Bayern Munich, he is facing serious questions over his future.
Brady, who played for Arsenal between 1971 and 1980, worked as head of their youth academy under Wenger until 2014 and he said: “There’s a lot of uncertainty around the club.
“There’s a lot of the fanbase would be unhappy to see Arsene Wenger in charge next year, but then are clubs always going to listen to what the fans want to say? You ask every fan to pick a team and they’d probably pick a different team each and every one of them. They all have their own views.”
He said Wenger, who took charge at Arsenal in 1996 and has secured a top-four finish every season, is “like the CEO of a big business and he’s delivered year in, year out as regards to the results the owners are looking for.”
He acknowledged that many fans are disappointed with the lack of a league title since 2003-04 but said: “It’s only two years ago that he won the FA Cup, and the year before he won the FA Cup and [they have been] consistently in the top four of the Premiership, so to sack a man who has a record like that would seem unfair.”
Wenger revolutionised Arsenal, who had developed a reputation for dour football even during their successful years under George Graham, and Brady said: “Lots of fans have been brought up on the team he created, with players like Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit.
“They are craving those days again, but it’s easier said than done. Be careful what you wish for.”
Brady said Arsenal had struggled to match their rivals largely because of a financial shift, highlighting the arrival of Roman Abramovich at Chelsea in 2003 and the Abu Dhabi United Group at Manchester City in 2008.
He added: “Even Tottenham were a poor shadow of what they are now. Liverpool have invested a lot of money. Man United are a money machine.
“To keep the team consistently in the last 10 years in the top four, without having the money to spend … I know he’s spent money, but nothing compared to [what] the likes of Chelsea, Man City and Man United have been able to afford. I think you have to take all that into consideration.”
He said Wenger would reflect on his future and hold talks with majority shareholder Stan Kroenke but warned: “A new manager doesn’t guarantee you success.
“I’m not living in the past. He’s a victim of his own success.”