So the machinations of progress continue to power on. The club hired Per Mertesacker to manage the academy. The big German retiring from football to make some magic happen with the kids.
This is a sound move. Per is very smart, very well respected at the club and I’m pretty sure he has a deep knowledge about the game. He’s won league titles, he’s won World Cups and he’s played consistently in the Champions League. I think he’s also very good for the culture at club. He’s a natural leader and a good communicator.
Hard to see any downsides to an appointment like this. I love Thierry Henry, but can’t help but think the Frenchman will have to work very hard to be a great manager. Per has all the attributes needed already, he doesn’t need to work on his personality, he just needs to fuel himself with knowledge and rack up those coaching badges.
I do wonder how much control Wenger imposes on the managers in the lower teams. How much autonomy will the German have? How many of his own ideas will he be able to implement?
The club looks like it’s moving in the right direction, but I do disagree with the people messaging me stating that the catalyst for change is being enacted, thinking that somehow the structure of the club is changing.
We are adding bodies. Not removing them. When a new alpha lion takes over a pride, he doesn’t keep the cubs there and he doesn’t keep the previous leader of the pack in the back office.
He starts a fresh. He brings in a new Director of Lions, and he sorts out his backroom team accordingly.
Jokes aside, it’s difficult to call the current movement at Arsenal anything outside shuffling of the deck.
Darren Burgess comes in to oversee Shad Forsythe who is doing a great job already. Tony Colbert still remains. He’s Wenger’s go to. He’s grossly underqualified. But he’s still there. People can bleat on about how great Burgess is, but my question is this: What problem is he solving? If there is one, it’s minimal. Also worth noting he’s not here for basically the whole of preseason and he’s a shared resource with AUSTRAILIA. How many points did we lose to a lack of fitness last season? I don’t have an answer, but this sort of hire makes little sense considering how much progress we’ve made with injuries (with the context that Wenger still loves to overplay his stars).
Huss Fahmy is coming in to take care of the backend of contract negotiations. He’s an administrator that works off Wenger instructions. I really don’t see where the value is here, or why it’s a story. Dick Law remains.
Per Mertesacker takes over the Academy and fills a vacancy. This is his first job.
Jens Lehmann comes in as a first team coach. This is his first job.
Sal Bibbo isn’t a new signing.
I think these signings are positive. None are damaging. But be real with yourself here. These signings are either political, or they’re additive. They’re not trailblazing signings that are going to impact what happens on the pitch. None of these names impact the biggest problem we have at the club, Arsene Wenger’s power grip.
If anything, we are more dependent on him than ever.
What would I like to have seen?
Firstly, we should have hired a strong Director of Football. That person should have hired in January, and been allowed to conduct a thorough investigation into the club, and report back into the CEO with a plan of action.
From there, a list of positions that needed to be filled should have been drawn up but an external recruitment agency that specialises in that sort of thing.
Then a rigorous interview process should have taken place, the candidates should have presented their vision for taking their specific department forward and a decision should have been made by a group of stakeholders including the manager.
That is how a professional outfit operates.
Not going along with the whims of a failing manager.
The path to success under Wenger has landed us in 5th place and as a laughing stock of Europe. Our solve is give the architect the power to hire someone off a recco from a friend, and to entrench his position of power further. We’re topping up a broken vision, when we should be either hiring a new manager, or redirecting the path with someone who has implemented a successful vision elsewhere.
It is what it is. Fans have severe amnesia and a blindness to the past when it comes to our summers.
Lacazette is exciting. Bringing old players back is the right thing to do. Hunting down Thomas Lemar has us all whooping for more.
… but if the foundations are rotten. It doesn’t matter who you switch in and out. The house will eventually collapse.
That’s my two pennies.
The changes are not strong enough and the structure of power is the same.
Rinse and repeat. Same as ever.
Also, happy Pride!
— Arsenal’s LGBT fans (@gaygooners) July 8, 2017