Wenger revitalised by touch of silverware

Arsenal can punch their weight in a premier League title fight, insists Gunners manager

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger. Photograph:  Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger. Photograph: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images


Arsène Wenger had said he would not “dance on the beach in Rio” if Arsenal won the FA Cup. In the event, he did diving headers.

The images of the 64-year-old manager enjoying beach football at the World Cup seemed to reflect his insatiable appetite for the game.

Wenger feels renewed ahead of the Premier League season, and it is difficult to underestimate how important a part the FA Cup final victory over Hull City last May has played. The 3-2 extra-time win brought his club a first trophy in nine years and it led to him signing a contract for another three-year cycle at the Emirates.

It is possible that no one will ever know how close he came to walking away, although he did offer a hint yesterday. “I wanted to feel that I had done a good job and, of course, the fact we could not win [trophies] was going on in my mind,” Wenger said. “What if we had not won anything? I don’t want to answer that question.”

There is now the feeling of greater security and contentment, and it has been bolstered by the club’s transfer business.

Never before has Wenger spent so heavily during a window, with the €39 million deal for the Barcelona forward Alexis Sanchez being the one to set the pulses racing.

He has been followed by the right back Mathieu Debuchy, the Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina and the defender Calum Chambers.

Not finished yet

And Wenger said he was not finished yet, raising supporters’ hopes that he could move for a defensive midfielder.

Wenger was evasive over names but he did not seem to discount the notion of Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira or Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton. He did confirm the Costa Rica striker Joel Campbell, who starred at the World Cup, would be a part of his plans. – Guardian Service

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