Arsene Wenger signs new Arsenal contract: Wenger is the right man for the job 'by a country mile', says former goalkeeper David Seaman
Seaman warns Arsenal fans calling for Wenger to leave to 'be careful what you wish for' as he praises Frenchman as the 'trainspotter of football'
Friday 30 May 2014
As Aaron Ramsey struck home the FA Cup-winning goal in extra-time at Wembley, a glance in the direction of Arsene Wenger would’ve been enough to see the weight of Arsenal’s nine-year trophy drought lift off his under-pressure shoulders.
Wenger has followed the success by signing a new contract with the club to remain Arsenal manager until 2017, with his previous deal set to expire at the end of the season.
For one Arsenal great, it was a moment to behold and a reason for the Gunners to be optimistic that a return to their former glory days is just around the corner.
“Oh it was ace,” says former Arsenal goalkeeper David Seaman. “It was a great relief and everybody can shut up about nine years and everything. We’ve got a trophy, the team now have winners’ medals and I’m so happy for them because they’ve gone through a lot of crap, a lot of stick and they’ve actually got a medal now.
“It’s the best season they’ve had in that last nine years because they’ve qualified for the Champions League again and now they’ve got a winners’ medal. So I’m so happy for the team but I’m so happy for Arsene Wenger as well because it takes unjustified pressure off him.”
Seaman made 564 appearances for the Gunners during his 13-year spell at Highbury, with the goalkeeper also going on to make 75 appearances for England as he became the nation’s undoubted Number One for both the 1998 and 2002 World Cup’s.
Having been at Wembley to witness Arsenal’s first trophy success since the 2005 FA Cup final victory, Seaman believes that the side can now push on and challenge for the Premier League title, and believes “one or two” key summer signings can help them challenge for the top next season.
“I think they’re going to keep on improving,” adds Seaman. “I don’t know if they mixed it right with all the young players, but now these young players have got older, they’ve got more experience so I think the mixture in the squad is good right now.
“They probably need a couple of players added to that. When you look at the effect that [Mesut] Özil’s signing had on the squad, all the other lads saw a quality player come in and it lifted them as well. So if Arsene can do that with one or two players, I’m sure it would have the same effect on the lads.”
Seaman did question whether Arsenal’s failure to land a striker in January cost them in the second half of the season, where the gunners embarked on a poor run of results through February and March that ultimately put paid to their title challenge as Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea pushed on.
“Maybe he missed a chance on the [January] transfer deadline day, he could’ve got a striker in and it might have lifted them and then who knows what might have happened in the league. But I think the summer is the right time now to add one or two players of high quality that will lift the team and push them on because they’ve got the shackles off now with the nine year thing, they’ve got a trophy so let’s see what else you can go and win.”
Arsenal manager Wenger poses with the FA Cu[ trophy at the Victory Parade But despite their late-season troubles, Seaman insists that Wenger remains the right man to manage the club “by a country mile” and praised the talents of the 64-year-old Frenchman.
“If he [Wenger] left Arsenal, he would walk into any job he wanted in Europe or in the world,” he said. “It wouldn’t be a small club because he would get the top jobs offered to him all around Europe and the world because he is such a good manager. I’m going to be fraught – just be careful Arsenal fans what you wish for. See what happened at Manchester United, we don’t want that happening at Arsenal.
“He knows how everything ticks, he knows about the physical side of the game, he knows when a player is a certain age how long it takes to come back from certain injuries. He knows absolutely everything about the game. He is an absolute train spotter of football. He just loves it, he watches it all the time and he just knows everything about running clubs and the whole thing. People don’t get to see that side of him enough to realise how good he is, and then tactically he’s brilliant and his talent spotting is second to none.
“Seriously, once you’ve worked with Arsene Wenger you realise how good he is.”
It may be down to Wenger’s ability to amaze those who have worked under his guidance that results in so many of the Gunners’ alumni returning at some stage in their career to work with the club – be it as a player or coach.
But having seen former stars such as Sol Campbell, Jens Lehmann, Thierry Henry and Robert Pires return to the Emirates in recent years, 50-year-old Seaman is happy to pop along to the training ground every now and then yet leave the goalkeeping to the youngsters of a youth team.
“No way,” he says when asked whether his attendance at their London Colney training base could lead to a dramatic return. “I go to the training ground and sometimes I do a little bit of coaching with my mate Tony Roberts who’s the youth team goalkeeping coach there, but I keep it quiet and get along with my own business and I don’t charge them, all I want is a free lunch!”
David Seaman and top female freestyler Laura Biondo, are working with Mini Babybel this summer, offering people the chance to win one of 15,000 free mini-footballs through their exciting on-pack promotion. Former England international David, is encouraging families to get out and play football and be inspired by the skills demonstrated by Laura in the latest Babybel video. For more information and to watch the video please visit: www.babybel.co.uk
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