Arsenal great David Seaman believes Arsene Wenger remains the right man for the job at Emirates Stadium but has urged the club’s board to back him in the transfer market.
Wenger ended months of speculation over his future, a period marred by fan protests against his reign, by confirming a two-year contract extension on Wednesday.
The news came on the back of the Gunners’ stirring 2-1 win over Premier League champions Chelsea to secure a third FA Cup in four seasons, although a late rally was unable to seal a top-four spot and Champions League football.
‘I’m very happy Arsene has signed for another two years and it’s [about] moving forward,’ former England goalkeeper Seaman told Omnisport. ‘He’s definitely the ideal man.
‘There is stuff that needs to change. We’ve got to start attracting the top players again and that might mean moving the wage structure a bit.
‘That’s the way of attracting the top players, obviously paying the right fees as well. We still need a few players, it’s been like that for a few seasons now and it’s time people realise that’s what needs to be done.’
Seaman believes breaking with Arsenal’s rigid wage structure is the key to attracting new talent but also keeping star duo Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil at the club.
‘We don’t want to go down that road again,’ he said of Sanchez and Ozil potentially departing during the close-season. ‘We went down that road with [Cesc] Fabregas and [Gael] Clichy and [Samir] Nasri – great players who left because they got more money at other clubs.
‘With Sanchez and Ozil we don’t want to be losing that quality of player. Those are the type of people I pray that we can bring in.’
Despite Arsenal losing their Champions League status for the first time in 20 seasons, Seaman does not believe this should be an excuse for falling further behind Chelsea and the Manchester clubs.
‘We’re getting left behind a little bit,’ he said. ‘The likes of Chelsea, Man City and Man United have got big, big financial backing. They’re attracting the players and it’s time that we did as well.
‘We’ve been in the Champions League for 20 years. I think players will look at that and it hopefully doesn’t bother them too much.
‘Once you pay a player enough money that’s the main attraction. The Champions League is a negative but it’s not one that’s been there for a long time. I think it’s just a one-off.’
Seaman believes a dominant centre-back and holding midfielder should be top of the Arsenal shopping list and he urged the divided factions of the club’s fanbase to unite.
‘The demonstrations and the unrest within the fans wasn’t good for the team,’ he added. ‘They’re venting their anger on matchdays, which isn’t helping at all.
‘The timing of the announcement [on Wenger’s contract] should have been dealt with a lot earlier to get that out of the way and let people move on with stuff.
‘It would have been easier for the players if all that anger wasn’t there.’
– This story originally appeared on FourFourTwo.co.za
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