Ex-player media coup continues to ramp up

by & filed under News Review.

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It’s Labor day over here. I’m in blissful ignorance over what it’s about. I think it’s the celebration of being granted working rights or something. I like it though. Gimme dem free days off.

Anyway, right into the mix. All the explayers seem to be having a pop at the great one. This time, King Kanu.

“You know the problem with Arsenal. When you need them, they let you down.

“I believe they have learned from that.

I like the way he smooths it off with Per Mertesacker’s famous, ‘we have learned from our mistakes, we hope to improve’ line.

It’s interesting watching all the old guard making a play for a bit of a media coup against Arsene Wenger. They’re all working in tandem to have some sort of impact at the club. I think it’s right, when things are going wrong and you have young energy that has taken coaching badges, played at other great clubs, you do have to wonder why Wenger is so reluctant to make them part of the mix?

Well, I do know. Wenger doesn’t really like to have people around him who can challenge his authority. Steve Bould is fine, because he’s kind of chained to the hierarchy, he missed out on the £90k a week days. Thierry was always a bit of a risk, loaded beyond belief and opionated about the game and how it’s played. I agree that you can’t be seen to kill the players on TV on Sunday, then roll in with high fives on the Monday, so bombing him off was fine.

However, I see no reason why we couldn’t bring in more of a core of explayers. If it’s talent, then fine. I just can’t help but think Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Martin Keown and even a Petit could offer something to the mix. Jens Lehmann would be really interesting. I mean, I say this like I know how football smart they are, and I don’t. I just look at the flatness of our bench at times and wonder why Wenger doesn’t open himself up to being challenged.

If you’re secure in who you are, surely you should always be expecting bullets to fly at you? As long as those bullets are framed correctly and there’s rationale and logic behind them, they can only be a good thing?

I mean, I guess it is what it is. I just hope the next managerial structure put in place allows for a more well rounded conversation to happen. I hope it facilitates productive discourse. I hope it involves more of the old guard who want a stake in the future of a club they love so much. It’d be great to get into a situation where we had a Barcelona like run of managers coming through the ranks, all trained in the vision of Arsenal.

So, what do we have to look forward to? An interesting run of games.

Southampton on Saturday in a 1500 kickoff, which is lovely. We the have an Ibra-less PSG in our first Champions League run out, followed by Hull and then our first major game against Chelsea.

Hull and Southampton have to be 6 points, because the Manchester Derby is going to see dropped points and we need to catch them. Chelsea will be interesting, it looks like Conte has awoken the sleeping monster that won the Premier League a couple of seasons ago. Hazard and Costa back to their devilish best, Kante and Matic looking like a very solid foundation at the back… David Luiz. Will Arsene be able to out think a very tactical manager, or will our Chelsea strife continue? A major pivot early on in the season you sense!

Right, I’m off. GUESS WHAT THOUGH. It’s birthday eve for Le Grove. 9 years old tomorrow. Who’d have thought 9 years ago, making a blog for my dad would turn into such a big community of lunatics? More on that tomorrow.


Arsenal summer review | Who could replace Wenger? | Jack to where?

by & filed under News Review.

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It’s absolutely drizzling it down lightly here. You know the type of rain, not heavy, not light, but drenching all the same.

So what have we today?

Jack Wilshere heeded my advice and made the move down to Bournemouth to play under the youthful Eddie Howe. I think it makes sense. Howe has an interesting football philosophy, he plays good ball and he’s plotted up fairly local to London, if you think 3 hours by train is local to London.

Good thing is he’ll get games. He’ll be the star. My worry is that he’s not really going to better himself there like he would if he went and plied his trade at Juventus, Milan or Valencia. But hey, at least he’ll be in the Premier League, at the ready to score against us and not celebrate. Cannot wait for that.

Pretty much no more action from us late on in the window. Plenty from other clubs that was kind of laughable. Chelsea re-signed the defensive equivalent of Nik Bendtner for £30m. Can’t for the life of me understand what made them think Luiz would be a good move (He’s 29!). Spurs rocked in with Sissokho for £30m, which is banter because he’s been begging Arsenal for a move for years. Samir Nasri fled the league to play for Sevilla.

Sadly, Daniel Sturridge did not get the loan move to Arsenal he was looking for.

So what have we learned?

That you don’t really get value in the last weeks of the transfer window. You get shafted. Do your business early. Don’t wait until the end.  I’d like to think Arsenal will learn from their experiences this summer, but I have my doubts.

I think the big learning for me this year was that Arsene Wenger is no longer a heavyweight draw. We missed out on key targets mainly down to his lack of ambition and the fact that you’d be hard pushed to think Wenger would deliver you major trophies. So basically, we’ve made Leicester City like signings (look at them nicking Sporting’s two star names!). We’ve gone for players where there’s a chunk of risk attached.

I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I have to say, it’s those sort of signings I’ve yearned for for years. If you can’t get your plan A, work out a plan b, if plan B is £60m, then take a punt on someone that has the attributes, but maybe not the experience. I like the Perez signing, I really do. Mainly because it’s an unknown based on what the club think is sound research. I’d preferred to have signed Draxler and converted him to a striker. He’s taller, more polished and will no doubt carry more value being younger. But I’m happy with Perez.

Xhaka was no doubt an incredible signing. The poise of Arteta, the aggression of Vieira, the build of a Roy Keane, the fight of an Eastern European and the thuggish looks of an Essex boy in Time & Envy circa 2002.

I think another ‘like a new signing’ is Elneny. Can’t tell you how impressed I am with that man. Unbelievable engine, great discipline and an accomplished passer. A real solid addition.

Jury is out on Mustafi. We’ve signed solid German engineering. His statistics are pretty similar to Jonny Evans, but he’s younger and he’s internationally capped by World Cup winners. Jury is not out on Rob Holding, I think he’s an excellent buy, genuinely upset he didn’t cost £50m, but what are you going to do? Think we have 3 very good centre backs.

Now it’s up to Wenger. Is he going to utilize all of this talent and experiment? Or is he going to line the team up the same for every game like he normally does? Because we have loan striker capabilities on the counter. We have the big man up front. We could play 2 up top in the same way France did with Giroud and Griezmann. We can stifle teams with 3 very defensively minded midfielders to choose from. We have legs for days in the middle.

Challenge for Wenger is how it makes it all click. But, you know what, he’s given himself a chance. Big question is whether he has the quality throughout, or will he pay for not upgrading broken bits?

At least it’s an unknown now…

Interesting reading people talking about our next manager. I think people know that Wenger is far from a dead cert to stay next season, which is great news.

There’s talk of Eddie Howe because he took Jack on loan. Now, not that I think he’s a bad manager, I just think he might need the pressure of a bigger club before he makes the jump. Wenger didn’t start at Monaco, he worked at smaller places and built his career. However, it’s important to note that coming from Bournemouth doesn’t mean players won’t respect you. If you have energy, great ideas, belief and charisma, players will come along for the ride.

I think the front-runners right now to replace would be Diego Simeone, just because he’s absolute hot shit at the moment (has had quite a career as a manager if you read up). He’s a proven winner, a massive talent draw and we’re a bigger club than Atletico. It’d be a major step up and an opportunity to win our first mega trophy in the Emirates.

Thomas Tuchel is my favourite name at the moment. Everything about him oozes Arsene of yesteryear. An innovator, quiet charisma and a football intellect (he really is smart if you read up on him and his ways). I’ll be watching what he does at Dortmund this season, because now the team is very much in his vision. Part of the Mainz factory of managers, he has to be one for consideration.

I also wonder if Allegri of Juventus might be on the list. He’s worked wonders with Juventus. Tactically excellent, great presence and an eye for emerging talent. He’s going on an all out assault on the Champions League this season and he has a helluva exciting team there. We’re not as big a club as Juventus, but our league is way, way bigger than Serie A and the attraction of the competition would be a draw.

Then there are managers that are around the Premier League. It’s very hard to ignore what Slaven Billic is doing at West Ham. A trained lawyer, a man who has injected style, power and aggression into a flat West Ham squad, a man who has played in world cups. A man who looks like he’d kill your babies if you crossed him. There’s Ronald Koeman who really doesn’t excite me at all, but hopefully Everton will keep him away from us.

Point is, Arsenal are a mega club. The bar isn’t as high as it was for United. We’ll have learned from their mistakes. We’ll have a good infrastructure. We’ll have loads of cash. Loads of opportunity.

So don’t rule out anyone, we are a massive draw and we will attract the best of the best. No doubt.


Right, see you tomorrow!