Gilles Grimandi isn’t happy.
The former Arsenal player and club scout believes some people need to do more doing and less criticising. Speaking to L’Equipe about Arsene Wenger’s recent troubles, Grimandi was asked what he feels about former Arsenal players sticking the knife in.
“Bad… It saddens me, because guys like Thierry (Henry) or Martin (Keown), I like them, I have good relations with them, but some go in the direction of the controversy and I deplore it.
“To all those former consultants, I want to say three things. First, you must not have a short memory: they owe a lot to Arsene. And they sometimes went out of their way to return to the club after the end of their playing career… Then, they should respect the investment of Arsene in the club, the fact that he works like crazy every day. Arsene makes strategic decisions every day for Arsenal. Finally, I want to say to them: Get your hands dirty. Today, you are only in a role of judgment, but invest in a club and you will see that it is not simple.”
L’Equipe then put it to Grimandi that things aren’t exactly going swimmingly at Arsenal this season, to which the former player replied: “Yes, it’s hard what happens now, we live badly at the club. There have been mistakes made this season, but we must not go after Arsene, especially since the situation is difficult, but not dramatic. While we are sixth in the championship, we are still in the Europa League. And between winning this competition and finishing fourth in the Premier League, I prefer to win a trophy knowing that in both cases you have a ticket for the Champions League.”
Continuing his defence of Wenger, Grimandi added: “What is true is that possession guaranteed you results in the Premier League and that this is not the case today. We must adapt. But a coach judges himself over time. It has long been said that Arsene was an avant-garde tactician, because he knew how to develop a strong game identity at Arsenal, and now he would be on the street in this area? It doesn’t make sense.”
Grimandi’s wish to stick up for his boss is admirable, but there does seem to be an element of head-in-sand about it.
If Arsenal being sixth in the Premier League, thirteen points away from fourth placed Tottenham, isn’t dramatic then it would make one wonder what Grimandi thinks the club should really be aspiring to.
Closer on points to Burnley than any club above them, Arsenal are in a crisis season which even stands out over years of stagnation and regression.
That’s got to be dramatic.