Arsene Wenger’s interview in L’Equipe appears to have caught him lying about players’ use of performance enhancing supplements under his watch.
“In 30 years of my coaching career, I never got one of my players injected to be more efficient. I never gave them a product that can improve performance. It is about pride. I’ve played against a lot of teams that were not in this state of mind,” stated Wenger.
However, it’s has been widely reported that when Wenger first came to Arsenal he encouraged the use of creatine as a performance-enhancing supplement.
A natural substance found in the body, creatine levels can be increased by eating red meat, although not as easily and effectively as supplement intake can provide.
The effect of saturating the body with creatine is to provide it with energy for muscular contraction by increasing the efficiency of ATP (Adenosine Triphosophate) synthesis. To cut a long story short, the supply of muscle-boosting ATP only lasts 3 seconds, but creatine supplementation can replete depleted ATP stores to maximise muscular energy, leading to enhanced power and performance during intense exercise, including speed endurance and recovery.
Soviet sports scientists began providing vials of creatine phosphate to athletes in the mid-‘60s and it was introduced to the sports supplement market in 1985.
Creatine is an amino acid by-product that has an osmotic effect, meaning water is drawn into the gut. If not taken with enough fluid, creatine can lead to stomach cramping. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Arsenal players complained about gastric problems due to Wenger’s introduction of creatine, hence the club stopped using it. Micronized creatine usually bypasses that problem, but players were likely taking supplements in liquid form at the time.
In 2011, ex-Arsenal forward Paul Merson claimed he regularly took creatine-boosting juices in training and high-powered caffeine supplements in the form of a dark tablet prior to games. Wenger hit back: “I give them personally nothing. If they don’t want to take anything, they take nothing.”
Note the use of the word “personally”, in order to squirm out of his responsibility for having his staff administer the supplements. Besides, it's absurd to suggest that Wenger's staff would give players supplements without his express permission or guidance.
Although neither creatine nor caffeine are illegal substances, their excessive usage in sports has caused controversy. Meanwhile, for Wenger to state he never gave [or at least instructed] his players to use performance-enhancing supplements, appears to be yet another fabrication of the truth.
Comments should be intelligent and well-written. All others will be binned.