Netherlands legend Johan Cruyff believes Arsenal must never sack Arsene Wenger, and insists the French manager has achieved “incredible” things with the north London club.
The 63-year-old has experienced his worst start to a season with the Gunners, yet his side are still third in the Premier League and will face Bayern Munich in the last 16 of the Champions League.
And while the Emirates boss has come under heavy criticism this season from fans and pundits, the Catalunya manager believes Wenger is the right man to lead the club back to trophies.
“I cannot even imagine the board or the fans would ever think for a moment of putting [Wenger’s] position in doubt,” he told reporters.
“I find it incredible that Arsenal have stayed at the highest level of European competition and England under his management without ever ending up in debt.
“People do not realise the achievement of this manager at Arsenal. Wenger will always bring the club back to the top.”
Cruyff compared Wenger’s role at Arsenal to that of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, hailing the philosophy of the two English clubs as more sides adopt a short-term view regarding coaching staff.
He added: “I have so much respect for the football vision and philosophy at Manchester United and Arsenal. Both clubs have had the same manager for 15 or 25 years. Alex Ferguson is not only the man who makes sure he performs miracles and keeps trophies flowing in.
“He – in my eyes – is also the symbol of values Manchester United stands for. In the same breath, I speak about Arsene Wenger.
“All the big clubs, which have become the biggest and most established names in world football, have been built on a strong philosophy of long-term managers.
“They have developed talented players at the club and bought players to fit the style of the existing players.”
And the former Dutch forward suggests that more clubs should look at how Wenger maintains the Gunners’ budget in the age of Financial Fair Play regulations, with Malaga recently being banned for a year from competing in Europe.
“I cannot remember red figures at Arsenal over the last 15 years,” he added.
“How many clubs in Europe can say they have qualified for the Champions League for 16 consecutive seasons under the same management? Arsene Wenger has put his life and soul into Arsenal.
“In 15 years, I have not seen him make any irresponsible purchases in the transfer market.
“That is why the work of Arsene Wenger at Arsenal is the prime example for every club in Europe.”