Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has taken a swipe at former stars Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, and Gael Clichy, insisting that he was a victim of their lack of commitment towards the Gunners’ cause.
Wenger coached Fabregas, Nasri, and Clichy as they went from talented starlets to popular footballers across the continent, only to leave Arsenal and move elsewhere.
While Fabregas moved to boyhood club Barcelona, Nasri and Clichy went to English champions Manchester City last summer in pursuit of a more rewarding opportunity.
With Gunners skipper Robin van Persie becoming the latest to refuse a renewal to his current contract, Wenger has been criticized for lacking aggression in retaining the services of his most important players.
The Frenchman has fired back, arguing that he will not change his philosophy for those who are not as committed as him.
“The only sad thing is that sometimes your work is destroyed by others. You want to see a player in his prime doing it for your club. But it does not work like that all the time,” Wenger told Sky Sports.
He added: “I am a victim of that. I lost Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Cesc Fabregas at an age when they should have been playing their best football for Arsenal. But I never left the club when I could have.
“I could have left 10 times to join another club but I didn’t because I have worked with the same vision and philosophy at Arsenal for the last 16 years, and that won’t change. Besides, money was never a motivation for me.”
Indeed, Wenger’s words hold both power and legitimacy, as he endured perhaps the toughest test of his commitment last season and continued to work hard as Arsenal manager despite many calls for him to be sacked.