Former Gunners goal-getter Charlie Nicholas – now a fully-fledged thespian following his comic turn in our Pundits series – joined the lads on From The Horse’s Mouth this week to consider the state of his old club – and what they could do to get back on track.
And a certain legendary manager who bid goodbye to the Emirates in 2018 came up.
Arsene Wenger recently said he’d return if he was needed to help the current boss, and we asked Charlie if someone at Arsenal should pick up the phone and reconnect with their old manager…
“I suggested about two years ago they should bring him back.” Nicholas explained on From The Horse’s Mouth, “When Arsène Wenger and David Dein were a partnership that was bringing in Thierry Henry’s and Patrick Viera’s, it was a partnership that the manager wanted.
“Their relationship worked an absolute treat. Wenger was probably too intelligent for football and wanted to have a say in the finances of it too, and Dein would say, ‘if we can afford it, we’re just going to get you the player.’ It worked so well.
And I’d still take him back.
“He’d not be a threat to Arteta. He’d be there to help. He’s a genuine Arsenal fan, and because of that he’ll show the leadership and understanding the club needs.
“If Arsène Wenger was to call or turn up to meet a player from Atlético Madrid or Barcelona or Real Madrid, I think there’s a strong chance he’d help get those deals over the line because of his presence and his reputation.
“I still think he could play a marvellous part in teaching Arteta the real rules of the management game.
“Of course, he made a lot of mistakes, and Emery and Arteta have inherited some bad signings he made, but Alex Ferguson made some mistakes too. He’s still the best ever.
“It happens, but what Wenger created we have to respect.
“He also modernised football here. He changed it. Wenger was the main one to change the mentality of players, that’s why I speak so highly of him.
“In my time as a kid growing up and not really getting ‘guided’, I’d have loved to have had one or two seasons under Wenger just fitness-wise because I love my training so much. it only became a problem for me if I started to think I wasn’t going to be in the team much.
“That unprofessionalism would come in because of the weakness in my head. Wenger would have been constantly at me I think, saying ‘technically you’re good but you must work on this and you must work on that’. He would have educated me better and I’d have appreciated the game better.
“He got players who were superstars but yet they were giving him something back without the ball, players like Henry. That’s what real teamwork became under him, modern-day teamwork, rather than going to the pub and having a laugh together and thinking we’re all mates together and we would suffer and socialise together.
“I’d still welcome him back at the club now.”
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