Wenger was ridiculed for his love of buying creative central midfielders, but he rarely erred when signing right-backs

By Eryk Delinger for The Squall

None of Arsène Wenger’s achievements at Arsenal – the Invincibles, the way he reshaped English football, the Double he claimed in his first full season, the long unbeaten run or the way he kept the club among the elite despite heavy financial constraints in the early days at the Emirates – would have been possible without his eye for talent. And nothing epitomises his recruitment philosophy better than the list of Lee Dixon’s successors at right-back.

Replacing the famous back four was a monumental challenge and the way Wenger approached it – particularly when it came to Dixon – underlines what made him a visionary manager. Dixon’s future replacement was brought in early – in the summer of 2000 – two years before he retired. In later years, Wenger would be ridiculed for his habit of stockpiling central midfielders, but signing one as a replacement for an old-fashioned, natural-born defender was unorthodox even by his standards.

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