One of the unfair criticisms of Wenger over the years has been that he does not value experience enough. I think Wenger does value experience in his team, and has often explained his sides’ failures in recent times by saying they were naive and lacked experience. Wenger knows that experience and maturity are key ingredients to a title winning side. And I do think that if it was completely up to him, without any other factors, he would have held onto Vieira, Henry, Pires, Campbell until their retirement.
However, the fact is in the last 5 or 6 years we’ve had a team that has been severely lacking in that department. The mental toughness that fans and managers and pundits often talk about has often been absent from Arsenal, which has led to several failed attempts at winning trophies, despite the obvious talent in the side.
That doesn’t mean Wenger hasn’t tried to bring in some experience into his team. Rosicky, Gallas, Hleb, Eduardo, among others, were all experienced signings. Gallas, of course, having won two titles with Chelsea. He’s even brought in players like Campbell, Henry, Lehmann on short terms deals to help the younger players.
But he’s been unlucky with these experienced players. Mostly they’ve failed. Gallas was a terrible captain, Rosicky and Eduardo spent most of their time injured, Hleb screwed us and left for Barcelona, and it goes on. I haven’t even mentioned players like Silvestre, Squillaci, and Almunia, who perhaps had the right mentality, but just not the talent and skill to lead Arsenal’s precocious young talents.
Wenger hasn’t given up on these experiments, though. He wants to sign another such player: Del Piero. He is 37 years old, and has achieved everything a player can in his very long career. He’s scored 288 goals for Juventus in 708 appearances. He seems like a nice guy too, promoting cancer research and such, and he’s known for his sense of humor. As a person he seems to hold the right values, and has been loyal to Juventus throughout his career.
Apparently we want him to come here in a sort of player-coach capacity. Playing when needed but mainly there to help the kids develop. Several of our players said how much Henry helped them in his short time at the club, and if Del Piero comes to Arsenal for a season or two he could have an even bigger impact. And not just that, he’s a big name, and will help improve our image around the world.
To have a player of that caliber would be huge for Arsenal, even if he’s got one foot in the grave (career-wise, of course). I would love to have him at Arsenal. His experience and know-how could prove to be key in helping us win titles in the seasons to come.