‘We must ensure the game remains fluent’

Over the past two decades, Arsene Wenger has seen plenty of changes in the game that he loves.

From the introduction of goal-line technology to being able to make an additional extra-time substitute in the latter rounds of the Emirates FA Cup, the boss has welcomed many rule amendments during his time in north London.

But would Wenger be open to introducing a fourth substitute in the Premier League and Champions League?

“We have spoken many times about this in managers’ meetings in Geneva,” he told Arsenal Player. “There are pros and cons, but you do not want to interrupt the game too much if you make more substitutions.

“It can become a tactical weapon as well to slow the game down, so you would have to group the substitutions maybe. We have to take care that the game remains fluent and dynamic, and that there are not too many stoppages in the game, especially if we go to video [replays] as well. It will become a stop-and-go game. In extra-time though, I think it can be interesting.”

In rugby union, replacements are certainly seen as weapons, with England head coach Eddie Jones calling them “The Finishers”, and believes that his eight-man bench will more often than not play a critical role in the pursuit of victory.

“I agree with him because I don’t like the word ’subs’ either,” Wenger said. “It’s negative when you are in a society where you have to be politically correct. Also it doesn’t really reflect well what they are about, because sometimes a sub means you are not good enough, or it can be you are replacing a guy who had a bad performance.

“That is not always the case, sometimes you take your best player off because he has given so much, or you bring a guy on who has different qualities to keep a result. I would say they are just players who are helpful to the team at the moment you decide to do it.”

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