The former ‘Invincibles’ star believes that his old manager still has something to offer, but that he must overhaul his strugglers next season
Former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell has predicted that Arsene Wenger will sign a new contract but urged him to instil his team with a new mentality.
Campbell was in the last Arsenal team to win the Premier League, when they went undefeated throughout the 2003/04 season, and he said Wenger – who has divided opinion among Arsenal fans during the club’s recent poor form – deserved respect for consistently guiding the Gunners into the Champions League.
Arsenal’s move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium in 2006 contributed to increased expectation on Wenger, according to Campbell, who called upon the Frenchman to try and retain the services of unsettled Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez.
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The former England international told Omnisport: “Some people want him to stay, other fans want him to go. He’s done a wonderful job at Arsenal. He’s been put under a lot of pressure and qualifying for the Champions League 19 times consecutively is no mean feat.
“He has brought in some fantastic players over [the course] of his tenure. I think now is the time to sit back and take stock because he’s done a wonderful job.
“There are two years on the table now and I think he will take it. I feel that, once he takes it, he’ll look at a lot of things in football and in and around Arsenal to really go for it over the last two years.
“I think one thing he should do is look at is what kind of energy he’s going to bring to the team – player wise and coaching wise. I think he should look at everything and keep players like Sanchez and add more Sanchez mentality in different positions. I think he should really start look at that.”
Arsenal are languishing in sixth place in the Premier League table following a run of just one win in their last six games, and the club’s honours in the last decade amount to two FA Cups.
Campbell defended Wenger’s record, saying: “Some teams haven’t won the FA Cup in over 50 years. But for Arsenal – a big, big, gigantic club in a new stadium – they’re probably thinking a new stadium should bring success and it doesn’t always happen like that.
“For whatever reason, it has kind of petered out. But the Champions League is a top priority for him. This year is going to be slightly different, it’s going to be touch and go for the fourth spot.
“But I think when you look at it overall, he’s done a wonderful job. I think he deserves respect. He’s a very well respected manager throughout the world and he should be able to have time to think about things.”