x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Wenger decries impatience of Premier League clubs as manager merry-go-round swings again

Arsenal manager has no qualms playing Bacary Sagna in FA Cup final despite ongoing contract talks

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger attends a training session at London Colney on May 14, 2014. Arsenal will meet Hull City in the final of the English FA Cup on Saturday. Eddie Keogh / Reuters
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger attends a training session at London Colney on May 14, 2014. Arsenal will meet Hull City in the final of the English FA Cup on Saturday. Eddie Keogh / Reuters

Arsene Wenger’s longevity as Arsenal’s manager appears even more remarkable in the light of more Premier League sackings this week, and the Frenchman said that the revolving door policy rife among England’s clubs is worrying.

With his eye fixed on the FA Cup final against Hull City on Saturday, where he is attempting to end a nine-season Arsenal trophy drought, Wenger reflected on the departures of Tim Sherwood and Pepe Mel from Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion, respectively.

Sherwood was sacked by North London rivals Tottenham five months after replacing Andre Villas-Boas and with the best win percentage of any Spurs manager in the Premier League.

Spaniard Mel, whose side narrowly avoided relegation, was the second West Brom manager to lose his job this season after Steve Clarke was relieved of his duties in December.

“For me, if it’s a Tottenham manager or any other manager, it’s always sad news when somebody loses his job,” said Wenger, who has outlasted 11 permanent Tottenham managers since taking over at Arsenal in 1996.

“The only thing that looks a bit worrying is that the speed of the rotation level in the Premier League gets quicker and quicker. That’s not a very good sign for the Premier League.”

While Arsenal have not added to their collection of silverware since winning the FA Cup in 2004/05, the club has been a model of stability with 17 consecutive qualifications for the Uefa Champions League to show for it.

Tottenham, on the other hand, have qualified only once for Europe’s top club competition, and their efforts to do so again are looking more and more desperate.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, the man with his finger on the club’s managerial ejector seat button, could do worse than heed Wenger’s advice.

“I believe that technical stability is important for the development of the game,” Wenger said.

“At the moment people think a lot about that, so we accept in our job as well that if directors are not happy, or owners are not happy with us, that we can lose the job. But technical stability is important.”

Meanwhile, Wenger said he has no qualms about playing Bacary Sagna in the FA Cup final despite their uncertain futures.

The France right-back is out of contract this summer, having rejected renewed offers from the club. Sagna has been at Arsenal since 2007 but looks set to leave, with the club reportedly failing to match his £100,000 (Dh616,000)-per-week wage demands.

That, though, is not of immediate concern to manager Wenger, who will happily play the France international at Wembley.

“I told you many times that it’s exactly the same as last week,” he said when asked about developments on Sagna’s future. “The ball is in his camp and I cannot influence that.

“I told you many times, for me a professional is to give your best until the last day of your contract.

“That’s for me the real professional. I don’t doubt his integrity, his desire to win and his commitment at all.”

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