Ian Wright has given his verdict on the latest crisis to engulf Arsenal, with the club legend urging the Gunners to replace Arsene Wenger.
Arsenal have been widely criticised for the manner of their Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City on Sunday, with one leading fans’ group suggesting it was the ‘culmination of years of arrogance’.
The debate over Wenger’s future as manager is raging once more and Wright, who scored 128 goals in 221 appearances for the club, believes their is plenty of blame to go around.
“There are excuses and he is mollycoddling a team,” Wright told BBC Radio 5 live when asked about Wenger’s leadership.
“Whether he stays at the end of this season, I could not make a case. I am not sure anyone can. This development of mediocrity has to be arrested.
“I want Arsenal to challenge again, for them to sign players who will get you excited. I want someone in the boardroom who will lay it down. A few of the players are on easy street, own properties and are renting them out.
“How long would it take Arsenal to get back? It will take them a few years. Everyone is progressing and moving forward in that top five. Arsenal are going the other way. They need to stop it, get a successful manager then get players to go forward. It is a long road.”
"Kroenke doesn't care!" 🤯
Strong words from @IanWright0 on Arsenal's management and ethos within the club.
— BBC 5 live Sport (@5liveSport) February 26, 2018
Stan Kroenke has been the majority shareholder of Arsenal since 2011 with a 66.6% stake while Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov holds 29.9%. Wright believes the owners’ apathy is plainly evident.
“The owner has to take a lot of blame for this,” he said. “Kroenke does not care. If he cared, Wenger would not have got a two-year deal.
“Everyone else can start to see that is it getting to a point where Wenger needs to go. The owner has to be here, find out what is happening, how is this working, what are we going to do, how are we going to get back to where the fans want us to be.
“The fans have been saying it for years but no-one is paying any attention to them. The owner has not done anything and has given Wenger carte blanche to carry on.
“There is no accountability for the players, there is no consequence for their poor performances or their inconsistency so they will carry on what they are doing.”
Wright was then asked who he believes could replace Wenger.
“The club need to start looking for somebody who is not old,” he said. “They are talking about Carlo Ancelotti, but they need to find the next one like Mauricio Pochettino, who built his way up.
“Marco Silva stepped on his own ambition. Somebody like that is good and can build, have a philosophy and be enthused with drive; someone who can bring in a player that can see his philosophy through, like we are seeing at Manchester City.
Thierry Henry has suggested he would be interested in managing Arsenal but Wright has issued a note of caution over the possibility of the Frenchman taking over.
Wright said: “Thierry is the king at our place. But for him to come from being assistant at Belgium to taking over at Arsenal in this current climate, with the changes that need to happen… we are talking about a legend who will have the world of Arsenal – when it is not going right – on his shoulders.
“Arsenal are not in a position where they can go from someone like Arsene Wenger, who we love so much, yet who you mention to some people in the fanbase and their faces screw up. They are so angry. I would not want that to happen to Thierry, because he has taken the job straight after Wenger.
“It would be tough. He has not managed yet so we do not know what he is capable of. This needs a lot of thought and working out. I am not sure we can go through too many more years of what is going on.”