‘Arsenal didn’t win sh*t for years and yet they kept Wenger’

Emmet Gates
  • Emmet Gates
  • Updated: May 17, 2021, 19:07 CEST
  • 2 min read

Antonio Cassano has criticised Italian clubs’ desire to continually change coaches by citing Arsenal and Arsene Wenger as an example of patience being rewarded in the sport.

The former Roma and Italy forward was interviewed by Il Corriere dello Sport, and spoke on an array of issues.

One such issue was speculation in the Italian press that Roma may opt to sack current coach Paulo Fonseca at the end of the season, which infuriated Cassano.

“Explain to me why they should change him,” said Cassano. “At the start of the season, reaching fourth place was seen as a masterpiece, now they are ahead of Lazio, Atalanta and Napoli.

“Here they all want to change everybody, for 12 years Arsenal didn’t win sh*t and yet kept [Arsene] Wenger, especially in those years when the critics massacred him, and often rightfully.”

Wenger enjoyed a 22-year stint at Arsenal, across three decades. However the second half of his reign with the club wasn’t anywhere near as successful as the first, as clubs in England caught up and then overtook his techniques by the middle of the 2000s.

Arsenal haven’t won a league title since 2004.

‘Italian football is the fourth or fifth best in Europe’

Cassano then spoke of how Italian football has fallen behind its competitors in England, Germany and Spain over the last 15 years.

“Our football is poor, the fourth or fifth best in Europe,” said Cassano. “Until 2010 all the best players came here, now only mediocre or great, but old, players arrive.

“Juve is the only club who can afford to buy some young interesting players, and Inter a little also.

“Roberto Baggio was right, we needed to invest in youth. The idea was stolen from him by the British and the Germans, who have the best today.

“[Jadon] Sancho is very good. [Erling] Haaland as well. He’s played with continuity since RB Salzburg. I add [Phil] Foden and recommend [Filip] Stevanovic and [Amad] Diallo, at Man City and United, to you.

“Abroad they throw the lads on the pitch. We don’t.”