Arsènal by Alex Fynn and Kevin Whitcher

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The Independent Culture

"I could write a book about this summer. I think it would be quite an interesting one," said Arsène Wenger last weekend.

The Arsenal manager would have to go some to make it more interesting than this examination of his tenure at the club. While things have picked up a bit since a home defeat by Liverpool and that 8-2 drubbing at Old Trafford, some critics are beginning to think the hitherto unthinkable: has The Professor had his day? So this updated account of the Wenger years has a sudden relevance. The authors give an impressively authoritative analysis of the boardroom upheavals that led to the American Stan Kroenke taking control, before going on to marshal the pros and cons of what they call Project Wenger.

In the debit column, they list the fact that Arsenal have won nothing for six years; that despite having ample funds available Wenger has been slow to buy experienced players such as tough holding midfielders and tall, commanding centre-backs to complement his youngsters; that there is no leadership on the field; that he is tactically naive; and that a reluctance to delegate has led to a weak coaching set-up.

But they also acknowledge his many pluses, including evolving a wonderfully attractive style, valuable input into the crucial Emirates move, and financial nous that has helped the club stay enviably free from debt with a rapidly increasing revenue stream. Yet one fan worries "finishing fourth and balancing the books" may be acceptable to Kroenke. Meanwhile the club admit to the authors that they "have no Plan B" for life after Wenger. Exactly when they will need one is something not even Fynn and Whitcher can tell us.

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