|Desc||When Arsene Wenger arrived at Arsenal, Nigel Winterburn could have been forgiven for thinking his Arsenal career was over. Winterburn was part of the club’s old guard, and the expectation was that Wenger would want to bring in a new defence. Instead, Winterburn became one of Wenger’s most trusted lieutenants, playing late into his 30s thanks to the Frenchman’s progressive fitness programme|
|Org||xxxx National Team|
|Club as Player||Arsenal FC|
2015 11 10 Retrieve
[on David Beckham] He could dribble with the ball, but he didn’t need to dribble with the ball. If you are putting yourself into areas of the pitch where you are still effective, then why do you need to dribble the ball?
2015 11 11 Retrieve
[on David Beckham] Was I scared of David Beckham’s pace? No. His crossing ability? Yes. You knew you had to get close to him, because he didn’t need to take you on. You’d see, a lot of the times, in attacking areas, that Gary Neville would be in front. So you’d think, ‘well, where is Beckham?’, because he’d drop behind. He knew then he could control the football, he could use his array of passing and could drift into the center of midfield where you couldn’t mark him. But then when he did drift wide, he’d drift wide and drop slightly back, so you were not in contact with him. When the ball came to him, he was whipping those balls in before you made contact with him
2015 11 28 Retrieve
[on Patrick Vieira] He was a fantastic player for Arsenal. If he was playing at that level you’ve got a player who is very, very competitive but is also very skillful and has ability on the ball. That’s what a lot of people didn’t realise about Patrick. He could break up opposition attacks but he was also powerful and skilful enough to then set his own team on a counter-attack
2019 08 01 Retrieve
[Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn has urged the club to strengthen in defence ahead of the new season] My worry is that if you look over the last couple of seasons the away form has been poor and the goals conceded has been 51 against both times in the league alone. That tells you that something isn’t working. The problem they have now is that Rob Holding, Callum Chambers, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Laurent Koscielny, Shkodran Mustafi and Konstantinos Mavropanos are all centre-halves and that is making it difficult to bring in another one because the squad in top-heavy with them. That makes it especially frustrating that we can’t find a partnership consistent enough to at least propel us towards a top four position
[Koscielny refused to travel with their team for the pre-season tour of the U.S., a decision which angered and confused the 55-year-old] I had a couple of run-ins with [former Arsenal manager] George Graham during his time there, but I never, ever refused to play in a game of football or refused to travel. [Koscielny] should have sought out a chat with the manager while they were away on tour and got that message back to the board as to why he was so unhappy with the situation. I think we’re all guessing why he was so upset. He may have thought there was a deal on the table and with the injuries he’s had maybe he feels like he’s put his body on the line for the club. It’s such a shame that it looks like ending on a sour note for Koscielny and it really shouldn’t be like that
2019 08 16 Retrieve
[Nigel Winterburn says Missing out on a deal to bring Philippe Coutinho back to the Premier League from Barcelona is no blow for Arsenal] don’t consider Arsenal missing out on Coutinho as a blow because I don’t think that it was ever realistic. Some of the figures that were bandied about, I’ve read that the deal could be worth up to £40 million, would have been an incredible investment from Arsenal for a loan deal and something that just cannot happen. He’s a terrific player, I think he would enhance most squads, but I don’t see it as a missed opportunity, because I was never convinced it was an option
Wilfried Zaha would have been a safer signing than Nicolas Pepe, as he is proven in the Premier League but I can only tell you who would have been the better signing come the end of the season. Pepe is not as well known on these shores as Zaha, so it’s hard to know if he can produce similar results to what we have come to expect from Zaha at Crystal Palace. However, from the bits that we have seen of him, we know that Arsenal have a very exciting player on their hands. As a supporter, I would have liked Arsenal to have signed both players!
The Premier League is the most brutal league in the world, especially for defenders, but Kieran Tierney is a sensational signing and will have no problem settling in. He is a young player who has gained huge experience at Celtic, he has also played Champions League football so will be used to the quality of football. At the end of the day, I’m less worried about what a player has done before; I’m more interested in what happens when they come to your football club. Tierney fits the bill and is someone that will give Arsenal plenty of width and defensive skills down the left-hand side. He has been a player that Arsenal have courted for most of the transfer window, so I’m delighted that Arsenal have got the transfer over the line
[Winterburn added on Arsenal’s window as a whole] I’m more excited at this season’s prospects than I have been for a number of years. The last two years, particularly the away performances, have been nowhere near good enough for Arsenal for a Premier League side who consider themselves to be a top-four team. The signings Arsenal have made have reinvigorated the club, now we need the new players to deliver on the pitch!
2019 08 16b Retrieve
[Nigel Winterburn claims Arsenal should be looking to sell Henrikh Mkhitaryan to a European team this transfer window] Arsenal should look to sell Mkhitaryan to a European team this transfer window. When everyone is back fit for Arsenal, Mkhitaryan is going to struggle to get any game time at all during the season. Mkhitaryan looks a frustrated figure, nothing seems to be working out for him on the pitch – his passes are misplaced, his shooting is off and he can’t beat his man. His performance against Newcastle on the opening game of the season wasn’t good enough, especially when you’re playing at the highest level. No doubt, Mkhitaryan is a talented player but he’s going to struggle to hold down a regular position when everybody’s fit
[Another of those hoping to see regular game time is Mesut Ozil] With the quality that Arsenal’s attacking options, Ozil isn’t guaranteed to start week in week out for the club. We didn’t see the real Ozil last season, perhaps he couldn’t adapt to the intensity of Unai Emery’s training sessions but we were limited to cameo performances scattered across the season. To get the best out of Ozil, he needs to start in the Number 10 position, he is wasted out wide. He needs to be given the freedom where he can make those killer passes in the areas that he can make a difference.
There is no doubt that when Ozil is on top form he is a brilliant player – he just doesn’t show this consistently. This season, Ozil now has other players in the squad that can challenge him. The likes of Dani Cabellos and Joe Willock will be pushing for that starting position and Emery is going to have a real headache squeezing in all that talent – it’ll be fascinating to see what Emery does. What’s certain is that Emery is a big personality and isn’t afraid to make big decisions even if that means dropping Ozil from the starting 11
[With Ozil no longer considered to be the main man for Arsenal, Winterburn claims that mantle has been passed to a free-scoring frontman] Without a shadow of a doubt, [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang will be Arsenal’s most important player this season. You saw from the Newcastle game, he had very few opportunities to score but the one real opportunity that he got, his composure and finishing was perfect. If he stays fit, he’s going to have a huge season again for Arsenal, and will certainly be challenging for the Golden Boot again. It gives the team a huge lift when you know you’ve got a goal-scorer in your team. He is similar to Ian Wright in that sense. As a team, we knew that if you can keep a clean sheet, then Wrighty will usually pop up with a goal. Aubameyang is looking like that at the moment for this current side, which is great for the club
2019 09 06 Retrieve
[Prior to leaving for Italy on loan, Arsenal were urged to move Mkhitaryan on by former defender Nigel Winterburn] Arsenal should look to sell Mkhitaryan to a European team this transfer window. When everyone is back fit for Arsenal, Mkhitaryan is going to struggle to get any game time at all during the season. Mkhitaryan looks a frustrated figure, nothing seems to be working out for him on the pitch – his passes are misplaced, his shooting is off and he can’t beat his man. His performance against Newcastle in the opening game of the season wasn’t good enough, especially when you’re playing at the highest level. No doubt, Mkhitaryan is a talented player but he’s going to struggle to hold down a regular position when everybody’s fit
2019 09 17 Retrieve
[Nigel Winterburn says Unai Emery needs to find a solution very quickly] said last season that this would be the season to judge Unai Emery. Last season he had a lack of funds. He had a group of players that needed to be changed, and it wasn’t really his team. Now we’re seeing a lot more players that he’s brought into the team. He’s got to find a way for Arsenal to be competitive, particularly at home, because their away form is nowhere near good enough. He’s got to find a formation and a system that isn’t going to give so many chances away. I thought he was very, very bold [against Watford] to play Mesut Ozil and Dani Ceballos in the same team, and that’s where Watford exposed them. It was too easy to play through Arsenal and get at their back four
[Emery has faced criticism on the back of another abject performance on the road, with Winterburn seeing a number of issues to iron out] I’m not sure at this moment in time when I’m watching that there’s too much communication between the defence and the midfield. They’ve got to stem the flow of attacks from the opposition, and they’re giving away far too many opportunities far too easily. Emery needs to find a solution very quickly because you can’t keep conceding two or three goals and hope to win games
2019 10 28 Retrieve
[Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn has suggested that Unai Emery should strip Granit Xhaka of the Gunners captaincy immediately] I was very surprised, he’s the captain of Arsenal Football Club! I was amazed when he cupped his ears, his shirt was off and then he was swearing at the supporters – it’s not something you expect from your captain
I think Unai Emery needs to take him out of the firing line in terms of the captaincy. He’s got five captains and he can easily do that. I don’t agree with five captains and I don’t like this ‘vote for your captain scenario’. The manager should pick the captain. I find having five captains very, very bizarre. This has all put Unai Emery in a very difficult situation and he’s got to deal with it quickly, he can’t let it linger on
If Unai Emery backs Granit Xhaka he’s going to realise what supporting Arsenal is all about. If the fans don’t agree with him the manager himself his going to come under increasing pressure. What it does is it then puts a lot of pressure on the next game, over whether the manager starts Xhaka. If he doesn’t start well or he makes him captain, you’re waiting then for that reaction from supporters, and you need you supporters with you. Now you’re going to find there’s going to be that divide we had towards the end of Arsene Wenger’s reign, and we simply can’t have that at the club again.
2019 10 30 Retrieve
[Arsenal legend Nigel Winterburn has backed Patrick Vieira as a potential replacement for current boss Unai Emery] I would say keep an eye on what’s happening with Patrick Vieira. If someone like that could prove they are able to run a club in the right way, then Arsenal may look towards that eventually. I don’t know if they would be as brave to go with someone like Freddie Ljungberg or Mikel Arteta. They may be terrific coaches but when you take that manager’s role it steps up another couple of levels again
2020 01 04 Retrieve
[Nigel Winterburn says Arsenal will be powerless if Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang decides that he wants to leave the club] If a player wants to leave and run down his contract, there’s not really anything you can do. It doesn’t matter who you are or who you have at your club - if the player wants to leave, he will leave. Aubameyang will have his own views on what he wants to do. Players hold the key to everything now - you cannot force a player to sign. It’s crazy if the club don’t want him to stay that’s crazy, but Arteta will try to persuade him with style of play, and who comes in to the club, too
2020 01 08 Retrieve
[Nigel Winterburn has warned Arsenal against rushing into any transfer deals in the winter market] We’ve been talking about Arsenal addressing a problem position at centre-half for three or four seasons now, but I guess it’s down to the manager to decide where he thinks it’s most vital to improve the squad. What money has he got to spend? Can he get the right players in January? It can be very, very difficult in such a short window. If I’m honest, I don’t see Arsenal doing a lot of business this month, but it’ll be interesting to see what Arteta does.
They’ve been linked with a lot of players over the course of the last year and centre-half is still a priority. My feeling is that Arsenal shouldn’t bother with another short-term fix, they’ve got to use their money more wisely. I think it was obvious that David Luiz was never Arsenal’s first-choice transfer target last summer. The amount of money they were reportedly ready to spend on a new defender, only to settle for Luiz at the last minute, suggests he was a Plan B or C
[Winterburn admits David Luiz has stepped his game up a notch since Arteta’s arrival] Since Arteta’s come in, Luiz looks a lot better defensively. We know he’s got a lot of ability on the ball, but now he’s showing quality when he’s on the back foot too. But I think Arsenal need to concentrate on getting that back four tighter together, as well as the protection in front of them. At the moment, I think Arteta is going to have to work with what he’s got
2020 02 07 Retrieve
[Nigel Winterburn says Arsenal warned against targeting Liverpool ace Adam Lallana in summer window] Lallana is a player I like but he has had so many injuries problems. When you’re looking to bring players in for the first team or even the squad, you have to be careful
You want to keep all the best players you got, you want to work with them and play with them. Unfortunately, players are earning massive amounts of money now and if they want to force a move they will. I’m more interested in the players that come to the club. Whether they’re highly rated or not, we’re only interested in what they do when they get here. If you’ve got a World Cup winner with all the stats and everyone is raving on about him, and then he comes to Arsenal and doesn’t do very well, we’d all be saying what a waste of time and money that was
[Winterburn can’t see the Gunners finishing fourth come May] We’ve just got to stabilise this season and go for the cup competitions because realistically I can’t see us getting in the top four this season. It doesn’t look like we can pull together a run of wins, and that’s where we have to get to. Winning games is key to players positivity and mental strength, that’s what Arteta has been brought in to do, to win games. I like what I’ve seen in terms of energy and organisation. Parts of the performances have been very good and others bad, but that will happen
2020 02 22 Retrieve
[Nigel Winterburn says Arsenal won’t get £80m for Aubameyang & face big call] I hope Aubameyang will be an Arsenal player next season but they have a decision to make. Arsenal have never been a big spending club. His contract’s up next season and they’re not going to let someone run down their contract again, although they’ve got little opportunity if he wants to do that. If the indication is that he’s not going to sign, they may have to take the opportunity and say ‘right, we’re going to take £40 million or whatever’.
I don’t think they’re going to get 70 or 80 that they’re talking about with a year left for a player that’s coming to 31 years of age. For me, it’s more important whether the player wants to stay, who comes calling in the summer, and do Arsenal take the risk or can they convince him to sign a new contract? At the moment, it’s so difficult to call
I don’t think there is a case where Mesut Ozil will leave in the summer. I think Mesut Ozil has said ‘I’m staying, I’m seeing out my contract’. And Arsenal offered him the deal. He’s not going to be forced out the door if the club don’t want him.
Ozil’s performances have improved. There’s no doubt about that. But, again, if you want to see a 90 minutes performance from Ozil, you’re going to be disappointed. He’s not that type of player. He’s in the game for 10 minutes, he might then disappear for a bit, but then he comes back into the game. But if you give him enough of the ball and he will create something for you. But is that enough for the current manager, and can he do a bit more defensively?
You’re never going to get Ozil tackling, but can he get into positions to slow the opposition down or go and press properly when the manager wants you to press? I think that’s the questions that will be asked from Arteta to Ozil, to suggest whether he plays more regularly and what involvement he will have next season, which for me is more intriguing
2020 05 27 Retrieve
[Nigel Winterburn and Lee Dixon were the first XI fullbacks under George Graham. When Arsene Wenger replaced Sir Graham in 1996, taking over the helm, Winterburn and Dixon experienced a radical change in their playing styles] Under George Graham, I would never get criticised for not joining up with attacks enough - but that all changed. When Wenger came, we were given more license to get forward and told to quickly get high and wide. Suddenly Lee and I were tasked with both going forward at the same time. Previously if he went forward, I stayed back