Football

Wenger out brigade were unfair to outgoing Arsenal boss, says Robert Pires

Wenger out brigade were unfair to outgoing Arsenal boss, says Robert Pires

Former Arsenal midfielder Robert Pires believes Arsene Wenger was unfairly treated by some sections of the club’s fanbase towards the end of his spell as manager.

Pires scored 83 goals across six seasons for the Gunners between 2000 and 2006, winning two Premier League titles and two FA Cups.

The Frenchman was part of Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ side of 2003-04, and is considered one of the club’s greatest players.

Wenger, who has left Arsenal after 22 years at the club, faced calls to be sacked from a section of the club’s fans on a number of occasions during the final years of his tenure.

And Pires believes his former manager was unfairly treated by those supporters.

“I am a privileged man because I am still training with the first team and I could speak with Arsene every morning,” Pires told BT Sport.

“The last home against Burnley, it was an emotional day for him, the players and even for the fans.

“I think when the fans started saying ‘Wenger Out’, I felt it was unfair.

“So it was an important day for him to say thank you very much for everything. His speech was very good. For me, it was a difficult day.

“And for Arsenal, now it’s a new page for the future. The board have a lot of work in the summer.”

“I’ve seen the shortlist to replace Wenger”

Pires says he has seen the shortlist of managers who could potentially replace Wenger in the Emirates dugout.

The 44-year-old believes all of the candidates could do a good job, but Max Allegri and Carlo Ancelotti have a slight advantage over the rest.

He continued: “I have seen the shortlist: Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti, Mikel Arteta – why not? I think all of them could manage Arsenal.

“There’s maybe a small advantage for Allegri and Ancelotti as they both have a lot of experience in Italy, Germany and England.”

He also saved a special mention for his former teammate, Patrick Vieira.

“With Vieira – and this is only my opinion – yes. Not just because he’s my friend. Forget this,” he said.

“He’s doing very well with New York City, and he told me the job is very hard and difficult.

“However, he has a very good profile to replace Arsene Wenger, because he knows football, he knows the Premier League and of course, he knows Arsenal.

“So that’s why I say yes, Patrick Vieira is ready to manage Arsenal.”

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