South Korea
Match 12
Game Details
Match 13
Game Details
LIVE 75'
Match 14
Game Details
3:00 PM UTC Jun 19, 2018
Match 16
Game Details
12:00 PM UTC Jun 19, 2018
Match 15
Game Details
6:00 PM UTC Jun 19, 2018
Match 17
Game Details
 By Kevin Palmer

Wenger: Managers must have final say

Arsene Wenger said the departure of manager Tony Pulis from Saturday's opponents Crystal Palace took him completely by surprise.
English football fans marched through London to the Premier League's headquarters to protest against expensive ticket prices.

LONDON -- Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has suggested managers who work under a director of football are in danger of "turning into robots" if they surrender control of their club's transfer policy.

- McNicholas: Who's at the heart of Arsenal defence?
Wenger: Alexis to make instant impact

The Gunners take on a Crystal Palace side suffering from the sudden departure of Tony Pulis in their opening Premier League game of the season on Saturday. According to reports, Pulis stepped down from his role at Selhurst Park after a disagreement over transfer policy with senior officials at the club.

Wenger offered sympathy for his counterparts who are not in charge of their side's transfer dealings during his prematch news conference on Friday, suggesting that the manager has to take responsibility for all decisions that involve the team.

"I understood early in my career that it is important to have control of transfers," Wenger said. "I'm not against listening to opinions, but at the end of the day, in a democracy, someone has to make a decision and it has to be the guy who has control of results.

"It is the responsibility of the manager to get the best out of players and choose the team, unless we become robots. Someone pushes the button and we just do what they decide -- no, no, no."

Turning his attention to the departure of Pulis from Palace, Wenger conceded his exit came as a shock ahead of his side's game against the Eagles at the Emirates Stadium.

"It was a complete surprise to me," he said. "I was at a managers' meeting on Monday and nothing indicated he will not be here on Saturday. What we can say is he did a remarkable job last season. He made a miracle. I don't know why he left.

"What kind of consequence for Crystal Palace, I don't know. The only thing we can do is prepare ourselves to face a tough opponent.

"I never was a big fan of a manager making excuses. I just think what is important is a manager takes the best out of that team, of its potential. That is where you see good managers.

"We speak about Tony Pulis. Maybe he was the manager of the season because he took the maximum out of his team while he was there."

Wenger confirmed he is still interested in conducting further business in the remaining weeks of the transfer window, but hinted he would only add to his squad if Arsenal advance past their Champions League playoff against Besiktas.


As we count down to kickoff on Aug. 16, ESPN FC previews all 20 teams in this season's competition. Can Burnley, QPR and Leicester stay up? Will the new signings of Alexis Sanchez, Diego Costa and Adam Lallana help usurp Man City's crown? Will Manchester United get back on track under Louis van Gaal?

He also reiterated that he would not be signing any new strikers before the end of August as he believes he has enough strength in depth in the forward positions in his squad.

"Up front we have plenty of candidates," Wenger said. "[Joel] Campbell has joined us, [Theo] Walcott is coming back [from injury] at the end of the month. Look at the players we have up front and we have unbelievable strength.

"Will we make a big signing? What is a big signing? For me a big signing is a good player. For you it is linked with the amount of money you spend.

"Sometimes you can do both together, but sometimes you can find a big player without so much [money]. We may be short in some areas of the game, but the depth of the squad is very good."


Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.