“Oh man, you’re so damn angry all the time’
‘Why can’t you see the other perspective?’
While March, April and May brought promises of war chests and lists of transfer targets produced by club-friendly journalists who were prepared to follow the Linguaphone mantra of listen, repeat and learn without questioning, June has brought the type of news vacuum that Arsenal specialise in just when supporters are so keen for progress. The key to comedy and tragedy is in the timing and practice, and Arsenal have strong suits in both.
Arsenal fans will remember a summer like this, when the potential departures of key players not only threatened to dent the quality of the first-team squad but also stopped the club from doing business. Six years ago, Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas played the roles of Ozil and Sanchez. After months spent trying to persuade the pair that the grass away from the Emirates may not be greener, one left for Barcelona on August 15 and the other joined Manchester City on August 24. The similarities between Nasri and Sanchez – contract situation, pushing for move, potential destination, Arsene Wenger determined not to sell to a domestic rival – are striking.
God bless you Daniel Storey, god bless you.
Things with Arsenal and summer, is most fans don’t realise how many consecutive years they’ve been waiting for the tide to change. I’ve been writing this for 10 years. I am bored of the consistent ebb and flow of Arsenal content. You could literally be reading 2013 Le Grove, modernise a few of the names, and it’d be the same narrative.
It’s laughable how predictable we are. The only thing we haven’t had to deal with over the last few years is players leaving. That’s now back on the agenda because the promise that a monied Wenger would be lethal shockingly didn’t come to pass.
This summer, our two best players are either holding us hostage, or they’re looking to move. We should have made a decision on what to do about this months ago. This is where having a DoF on the job would help. You’d have someone who could have been scenario planning the shit out of this, looking for clubs to move the players onto, and looking into proper replacements should the worst happen.
I’m still not quite buying into the signings we’re looking to bring in. Thomas Lemar, sure, looks like a great player in the making. Lacazette isn’t doing it for me, I’m just struggling to see him as anything more than a pacier Giroud. Remember, there’s a reason the French national team prefer Olivier, and consistently have done for years. We should be going hard for Auba. He’s fast, he’s 6ft 1, he’s been playing stylish football for years and he can speak French. Also, how much more cash is he going to be than Lacazette? He’s playing in a better league, at a better level, and he’s been incredibly consistent. A monster of a player.
Who are we looking at as a keeper to compete with Petr Cech? In fact, why aren’t we upgrading our keeper? Find one who can play out from the back.
Who are we bringing in to replace Santi Cazorla? A player who has cost us BIG over the last 2 seasons.
Who is bringing accountability to the players? To make them press, work hard, give a fuck. Where are our leaders? Can’t be Mustafi, he’s not good enough. We’ve seen it’s not Xhaka, he’s too much of a headcase. Who are we looking to raise the levels in the squad?
Then the big one. Who is going to make this team better?
We should be signing a young coach who is blowing things out the water. Where is there an assistant manager in Europe doing amazing things? Who can we pinch from Pep? Who does Bielsa work with? Who does Ancelotti have in his backroom team? Who has been doing great stuff with a Madrid or the Barca B team? If Tuchel is such an incredible coach, but struggles to behave like a human being, why don’t we talk to him about coming into the fold?
All CRAZY ideas. But look, you can’t progress if you don’t change anything. The best organisations are constantly changing things up. Silicon Valley tech brands have to constantly buy startups to keep themselves future facing, through fear of being the next Yahoo. People in the modern workforce have to constantly reinvent themselves to stay relevant. None of the jobs I’ve had in the last 5 years existed 10 years ago, and my job won’t be the same in 5 years time.
To rest on your laurels it to cede success to the competition. Which is why it’s so interesting that our CEO and owner seems to be so intent on reinforcing Wenger’s ivory towers… because all evidence supports the theory that the Arsenal foundations are rusting to dangerous levels.
Arsene Wenger hasn’t changed his training in 20 years. Literally, the most innovative thing he’s done in the last year is copy the Chelsea formation. How can you blaze a trail if the best you can do is imitate? How can the club expect to be taken seriously when it actively persues the agenda of a man who doesn’t care about winning?
Anyway, the above is why I am frustrated. There’s so little to be excited about, and there is no end date to the death grip Wenger has on Arsenal.