Should he stay or should he go? What Arsenal’s former players have said about manager Arsene Wenger

James Benge
Clive Rose/Getty Images

Arsenal's defeat at Crystal Palace was one of Arsene Wenger's lowest day as the club's manager.

Weeks of below-par performances amid fan protests over a new contract for the Frenchman culminated at Selhurst Park with an abject 3-0 loss which leaves the Gunners floundering in sixth place.

For the first time in Wenger's 21-year tenure, Arsenal could miss out on Champions League qualification and finish below north London rivals Tottenham as the record-breaking achievements over two decades are at risk of being tainted.

Here's how Arsenal's most famous former players have changed their views on Wenger over the years...

Photo: Getty Images

Thierry Henry

January 2015: "It looks like Arsenal now are a team that looks to finish fourth. When you think about Arsenal that’s not what you look for, you want to try to battle for the title."

March 2016: "The stick that Arsene Wenger has been getting is not personal. People judge what they are seeing, although some maybe go too far in the way they express their unhappiness.

"But there is no smoke without fire and those flames were not started in the stands.”

March 2017: "He’s the best man to assess the team. He knows what they are capable of. Better than me, ex-players, pundits. He’s their boss and he’s questioning their mentality…

"If you’re a real Arsenal fan you don’t want to see Arsene suffering the way he is right now."

Photo: Getty Images

Ray Parlour

September 2015: "I think this is the best dressing room they’ve had in a long time. The best since Arsenal won the title."

March 2017: "Wenger loves the club to bits but at the moment it’s going against him so much and he doesn’t want to see his team lacking confidence.

“You can see that he is stressed out at the moment. When I played under him you could see he was great fun, but you can see that it’s really getting to him at the moment…the way their playing."

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Paul Merson

February 2016: “If Leicester or Tottenham win the league after he said they didn't need any players then I don't see how he can keep his job.”

February 2017: “Harry Redknapp was much better tactically than Arsene Wenger. I played under Arsene Wenger for just under a year and I played for Harry for a year – Harry was much better.”

April 2017: “Wenger does everything at Arsenal. No one tells him anything and it feels like there is an arrogance about him that is not nice.”


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Gilberto Silva

March 2016: “Sometimes people are too hard on him [Wenger]. They forget what he has done over the last, almost, 20 years for the club.

“They should think a bit more. We all accept criticism but you shouldn't go over the top. Wenger is a very intelligent and capable man. He knows how to deal with this pressure.”

April 2017: “At the moment he is living under pressure that is very delicate. There are many fans wanting to kick him out of the club. I find it a little bit ungrateful, in a way, because people forget what he did, where he took the club from.

“Honestly, from my perspective, I’d like him to stay, at least for another year. Even if it was a last year, but with something planned to value everything he did, the legacy he’s leaving for the club.”

Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Martin Keown

April 2015: “Wenger deserves the chance to finish off the job he started, even if it’s a bad season next year. Coming towards the end of his time will concentrate the mind, and his group is more mature.

“The club as it is now is really Arsene Wenger’s work. He won’t be asked to leave. He decides when he leaves the club.”

March 2017: “[The 5-1 defeat at Bayern Munich is] almost embarrassing. Outclassed, outplayed. They did it at a canter. Wenger has to be seriously considering his future now because it's embarrassing.”

Photo: PA

Ian Wright

August 2015: “The only thing Arsenal seemed to believe about themselves was their own publicity. And that wins you nothing.

“Arsene Wenger, Ivan Gazidis and the board have worked wonders putting the club on the most solid financial footing imaginable.”

February 2017: “I was with the boss last night and if I’m going to be totally honest I get the impression that that’s it.”

March 2017: “When Kroenke bought the club £8,500 were the shares. They’ve gone to £15,000 now [an Arsenal share is now worth £17,250]. Why’s he going to sack a person who can double his money?”

April 2017: "[After loss to Palace} At least I f*****g tried! That dressing room is lost."

Photo: Getty Images

Emmanuel Petit

October 2015: “He is in a comfort zone. The shareholders don't question him as he has qualified every year for the lucrative Champions League.

“As long as he enables the club and the very rich shareholders to earn money, there is no need of change at Arsenal. He is protected.”

March 2016: “I am pretty sure he has to stay at the club but maybe it's time for him to open the door for something else as well.”

August 2016: “Why didn't Arsene open the door to Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira or Tony Adams?

“Arsene couldn't imagine that anyone would criticise him openly on television, never mind a former Arsenal player.”

Photo: Rebecca Reid

Sol Campbell

July 2015: “Everything about Arsenal was better than Spurs at the time from the players, management to the mentality of the club and the facilities…

"I think it's going to be Arsenal's year. For the second part of last season their form was fantastic and I think they will take this into the new season.”

June 2016: “Everyone's got to realise how much he's done for Arsenal. He revolutionised the club. Yes, everyone wants to win the Premier League and Champions League. It takes time.

“It's not easy at all. Arsenal and Arsene will know when it's time to move on.”

February 2017: “When I was there we used to police it ourselves. We had the characters to police it ourselves.

“We didn't allow the whole 45 minutes to go by, we would address it on the pitch because if you wait for 45 minutes and you are in, you might be 2-0 down.”

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