Arsene Wenger still the man to lead Arsenal - George Graham

George Graham
George Graham

George Graham is backing Arsene Wenger to remain at Arsenal "for a few more years" - if he can rediscover his skill for nurturing young talent.

Gunners manager Wenger has come under increasing pressure after a faltering start to the season.

But Graham, who managed Arsenal to League titles in 1989 and 1991, still believes in the Frenchman.

The 68-year-old said: "If you want to stay in the top four, Wenger is the man, without a question."

Arsenal currently lie eighth in the Premier League, 18 points behind leaders Manchester United, and were dumped out of the Capital One Cup by League Two side Bradford last week.

Graham says the answer to Wenger's predicament lies in putting on his "magic hat" and finding the next Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, who he moulded into world-class performers at Highbury.

The Scot told BBC Radio 5 live's Sportsweek programme: "Let's give Arsene the credit. He brought in players for average prices, like Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka, Marc Overmars, Patrick Vieira, Emmanuel Petit.

"They were all very good players, unknown to the fans in England, that he turned into fantastic world-class players. That was his strength.

"In my opinion, he has got to get his magic hat on again and go out and see if he can get players of that quality at good prices."

Graham is adamant Wenger will extend his 16 years at Arsenal by several more seasons, despite the current criticism.

"There is a lot of hysterical criticism about Wenger now. But his first period at the club, for seven years, was probably the most attractive and attacking football I've ever seen in English football.

"He won three League titles and four FA Cups. He set the standard and unfortunately in the last few seasons the standard is just slowly slipping away.

"I cannot see him leaving at all. He enjoys Arsenal, the power and influence he has got throughout the club.

"I think Arsene will still be there for a few years yet. I just hope they bring in a better quality of player."

Arsenal stalwart Bob Wilson, who spent 39 years with the club as a player and coach, has hit back at comments from fellow former player Stewart Robson, who described Wenger as "a dictator in many ways".

There have been reports that Wenger's number two, Steve Bould, has been effectively isolated, though these have been denied by Wenger.

Wilson said: "The claims of Arsene being a dictator really upset me.

"To say Wenger appoints 'yes men' is an insult to all the people who have worked under him - myself included. I always stood up to Arsene."