Managerial excellence perception | Could Puma send Mario to North London?

by .


Good morning and welcome to today’s, a more positive, upbeat post.

Before I crack into it, I just wanted to comment on how fascinating I found the reaction to yesterday’s post. Tonally, you can think what you like about the way I write, I’m not the same in real life, so that doesn’t bother me. However, the content yesterday, to anyone rational was bang on. The window was run badly, Arsene ran it, and he’s put our run-in at risk.

Now, most responded with ‘fair shout’… but this crazy little community on the net who attack with no rational response with seemingly pointless excuses… ‘What are your qualifications’…’Wenger knows more than you’…’you said x about x player 4 years ago LOLOLOLOL’ (if you do that with your LOLs, someone needs to put you down)… and it goes on.

I think this website, 95% of the time, is pretty objective and pretty honest. We don’t suck up to either crowd to secure more audience (hence the summer where I was barracked for being too positive). We just say it as we see it. That’s why opinion changes and you can’t plot the same view over 7 years. Situations change, new info emerges, things get better, and things get worse…

… but these guys who have a singular mindset that the manager is infallible and can’t be critiqued totally skew conversation. I totally understand you can be rabidly angry the other way, but those people don’t have the same type of influence because they upset fragile minds.

Anyway, I’m all for backing the manager. I am. I don’t want to see him go, I just want him to act in a more ruthless way, cede some of his control and take on more modern management methods that would allow him to walk the league. Because obviously, he’s one of the best , he’s just not the best because he hasn’t taken a look at the reasons people like Klopp, Guardiola and Mourinho have been so successful.

… and as for this,

‘people wanted Laudrup to replace Arsene and he’s just been sacked’

‘They wanted Klopp and he’s 4th

‘They begged for Mourinho and we’re top of the league’

Jeez, it really is childish. All those managers have won trophies in the last three years and Arsene hasn’t in nearly ten. Laudrup leaving Swansea was on the cards since the summer when his agent was banned by the club. Klopp has had the core of his squad ripped away from him as he tries to take on a Bayern that are more dominant than pretty much any oil sheikh driven side over here and Mourinho is right on our tails and has never lost to Arsene.

… interestingly, Wenger’s 1000th game looks like it could be against Chelsea. Good time to change that eh?

Management is a perception versus reality thing (my pal at work just raised this with me). When Laudrup took over Swansea, they went up a level, bought Michu, won a cup and everything looked amazing. This season, he’s been hit by Europe, which a small club like Swansea aren’t capable  of dealing with, they’ve struggled domestically, that’s killed confidence, caused a terrible run and he’s been sacked. Success has ruined him. The same happened to Pardew. One year, he’s fighting for the top 4, the next, he goes into Europe and he’s nearly relegated. He didn’t get the chop and now Newcastle are doing pretty well again.

The perception is now that Laudrup is a bad manager, when the reality is that perhaps he’s not. Same with Moyes. He’s left Everton and Martinez is playing a more expansive game. Is that because he was left with a good squad? Or that Martinez is a better manager? Moyes has taken over an average squad and he’s getting average results. Is that his fault? Well, the media says so. So yes.

I guess that’s why managers leave so quickly when they do great things at a small club. Season two, the big clubs poach all your players and the chances are, you’re not going to fluke 3 great replacements, then you’re dead, then results go down the pan… then you’re a terrible manager and you never make it to a big club.

… and remember, big club, big resource, it’s much harder to fail if you get what I mean. Even Mark Hughes took City to the top 4.

There is talk that Arsenal are interested in bringing Balotelli to Arsenal this summer, with Puma interested in helping us do that. What a weird old story eh? They’ve just given us £30m to buy new players, and reporters think they’d be able to justify to their board giving us more money to buy a crazed Italian.

Marketing Manager: We think we should give Arsenal £20m so they can buy Mario

Board: Why?

Marketing Manager: He’s good and stuff…

Board: Arsenal have £100m… do you think they need any more help?

Marketing Manager: I’ll get back to you…

I’ve sat in sponsorship meetings at professional sports clubs. Clubs look to get the most out of their deal and sponsors look to maximise what they can get their end. So coverage in the stadium will be touted, maybe experiential offerings outside, maybe half time competitions… but part purchase of £40m players? Jeez… that’d be an awkward conversation and a half.

In my opinion, I’d say this story is likely a no-go. We have plenty of money, Puma are in trouble as it is, there’s no way they could justify part funding a deal.

So looking forward, we have Liverpool this Saturday at Anfield. A nasty early kick off, which no one likes. I think it always stunts the atmosphere. We basically have the best striking partnership in the league against one of the best back 4s. Last time, Arteta did a pretty good job of marking Suarez out of the game. The Uruguayans’ form hasn’t let up in the slightest. My early season hope that his scuppered move would dampen his form was horrendously wrong. He’s been electric. Even when we shut him out earlier in the season, he nearly scored two or three times. So basically, tomorrow, we have to be at our best. Having Arteta marking him fills me with dread. He’s not particularly fast. Sure, he made the most successful passes in the universe against Palace, but he’s slow and immobile and he’s shielding the back four against two of the cutest strikers in the league.

Will Arsene give Chambo another go in the middle? Liverpool is a different kettle of fish compared to Palace. Could he step up? Maybe. Arsene might look to bring back Jack (if he’s fit) or Rosicky. I’m sure Ozil and Cazorla will start. Giroud up front is a certainty. I’d expect his to start Gnabry over Lukas as well… we’ll see. It’s a good chance to bury Liverpool out of the title race. A win against them would put us 9 points clear. That’d be perfect. Lose, and we’re right back in the mixer again.

It’s a massively exciting game and I’ll have more as the week drags on…

Oh, we’re the most popular club in China, edging out United, because we have German players and the German league is free to air over there. Here’s an idea China, stop bragging about your wealth and start spending it in The Armoury.

Right, now, there might be a Le Grove app in the Apple app store. The logo is screwed (awaiting an update thumbs up), but it’s there to test. Now, just as a heads up, if it kills traffic to the site, I’ll have to reconsider what I do, because this is expensive to run, but it’s there if  you want to have a go. Let me know what you think. It’s only on Apple at the moment, if you like it, I’ll go Amazon and Android.

Final piece of the day, is this video that really made me laugh. When people harp on about negative fans, they don’t understand that most of what is said online is said with love at the heart of it. Would people tell him he wasn’t a fan? No way. Would people say he didn’t love the club? No way. Fans are fans, we all have differing views, which is why the factions the internet throws up are so ridiculous. I never get grief in the ground because debate and opinion is what drives an interesting pre and post-match conversation. Children of the web, you need to learn this… anyway, enjoy the video, it’s good fun.



555 Responses to “Managerial excellence perception | Could Puma send Mario to North London?”

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  1. Zacharse

    I can’t see us getting blown out by Bayern, looks more like a barca 3/4 (?) yrs ago, some inopportune ref meddling to avoid any serious embarrassment for the favorites. It sounds far fetched but…

  2. hackneylad

    I think we need an out and out DM

    No more box 2 box mids I know there is a wealth of talent out there for b2b

    But we have Ramsey wilshere and OX for B2B. I love Matudi but on closer thought his not defensive enough and to B2B for me.

    I would go for Bender, Schnerdlin or Fernadho.

    Bender is quality would be expensive though.

    Schnerdlin may be able to get cheaper and is underrated

    Fernandho plays for Porto, Porto management/scouts have an exceptionally good eye for talent…

    Striker I would go all out for Cavani..

    Striker market is relatively poor.

    You have manduzic who I wouldn’t say no to but his not that elite level.

    You have Benzema who I just can’t help but think his never going to reach the potential people used to think he would, there is just no urgency to his game I don’t think he will ever have that mentality to be great.

    then there is suarez lewandowski not available

    Then you have RVP and Falcao both 29… RVP to much water under the bridge and Falcao we wouldn’t afford those wages.

    Then there is Rooney.. I just can’t see him getting better than he is now, his lost that pace and explosiveness I think his still a great player and has a lot to offer but he offers that through consistently being good at taking free kicks and other dead balls but an out and out striker? I am not sure his at the elite level in regards to that position anymore.

    Then we need a young CB 4th choice… I don’t have a name I am sure there are a few though.

    Right Back I would take Coleman without a doubt very good player and already premier league experienced.



    Does the £50 mill have to take into account costs of flights or lunch money during negotiations?

    I mean, I’m not saying the Arsene Fundamentalists are petty or anything but…

  4. Salvage

    TT February 5, 2014 10:22:11

    Not that I am at all pleased with the transfer window and Kim Kallstrom but should we not wait until he plays at least one game before we call him the worst transfer of the window?
    We dont have to wait to see him play before it is termed the worst transfer of the season. The fact that he would be out for almost 2 months out of a 6 month loan is enough reason to crown the transfer with that award already

  5. Carts


    I, somewhat, agree with you about Strootman. Though, I was merely talking from a ‘want’ stand point as opposed to a ‘need’.

    B2B is definitely an area we have covered.

  6. WengerEagle


    ST: Karim Benzema(If Real get Suarez which I think they will)- £30-40 milllion
    LF: Julian Draxler- £37 million
    CB: Matthias Ginter(CB and can fill in at CDM/RB)- £12-15 million
    CDM: Fernando-Free
    GK: Julio Cesar(Experienced back-up GK)- £1-2 million

    Total spend: £80-90 million

    Lukas Podolski- £10-12 million
    Niklas Bendtner- £3-5 million
    Park- Free
    Mikel Arteta- £2-4 million
    Ryo Miyaichi- £1-2 million
    Coquelin- £2 million
    Djourou- £3 million
    Abou Diaby- Terminate contract(Would save us £60,000 a week on wages)

    Total raised: Roughly £25 million

    Net Spend- Roughly £60 million (Sorry Leeds!)

  7. hackneylad


    “I mean, I’m not saying the Arsene Fundamentalists are petty or anything but…”

    Come on mate your better than that, everyone on the blog right now is getting on and just talking about football and leaving the politics out of the way.. It’s actually quite nice!

    So Don’t drag it back down to those levels by talking of Arsene fundamentalists

    I think most people on both sides of the Wenger debate are tired of the endless bac and forth repeated arguments! Lets keep it to football and leave the sly digs out!

  8. Carts


    For the life of me, I don’t know why you haven’t compiled an in depth PowerPoint slide and sent it to those useless twats over at Ashburton Grove.

  9. Simon

    Please notice this!

    There arent two sides! Argghh!

    Some people will want Wenger if he wins. Some will want Wenger if he changes. Some like wenger but would prefer a change. Some like wenger but need him to change a lot. Some love wengers schlong, especially if he does not wash for a week but still prepared to cheat on him! It’s daft. Very silly. The club has grown and football has chnaged and we have a bright future with many options. The manager is just one of them.

  10. Leedsgunner


    Thanks for your reply… interesting list!

    Yes, goalkeepers, I forgot Flappy’s contract was expiring… damn that’s going to raise my net spend a bit! 😉

    What about Marc Andre ter Stegen, U21 goalkeeper for Germany who plays for Borussia Monchengladbach worth according to transfermarkt for about £10m. Not exactly a back up keeper but more like a direct competitor for Chesney but actually think that would be good. Keep him sharp and stop him getting complacent… plus it would add to the German core.

    Failing that, we could go for Jack Butland worth about £4m for a pure Back up role…

  11. Romford Pele

    Leeds, pretty sure Ter Stegen has already signed for Barca because Valdes is going to Monaco. I’m reluctant to spend too much money on a back up GK when we have other priority positions. Hopefully their may be a decent bosman deal we can get.

  12. Carts

    I tell you what: me and my travelling pal are going to do an easyjet/ Ryanair to Italy for two days to catch a game and do sight seeing.

    The Olympic stadium isn’t even half full. I’m pretty certain you’d be able to negotiate a reduced price entry into that place. Same goes for San Siro…that joint has a flippin echo going on because its so empty.

    Generally, anyone know what transportation is like in Italy? Heard a few rumours that it shit; also heard its cheap..

  13. WengerEagle

    Sagna Koscielny Mertesacker Gibbs
    Ramsey Fernando
    Walcott/Santi Draxler

    Subs: Cesar, Ginter, Monreal, Vermaelen, Jenkinson, Flamini, Ox, Jack, Rosicky, Theo/Santi, Gnabry, Zelalem, Giroud, Campbell.

    Depending on the match we could alternate between Theo and Santi for example in matches where we are playing against a defence with a high line we play Theo, and in matches where we are playing against teams that defend deep and park the bus, play Santi.

    Benzema, Giroud and Joel Campbell would be a lovely mix of strikers with different attributes and skill-sets.

    Goalkeeper and defence obviously stay the same as they have been superb all season.

    Fernando adds steel, athleticism, defensive discipline and superb tackling/marking/ defensive protection to the back 4. He’s a decent passer too.

    Draxler adds a new dimension and explosiveness to our attack, has the ability and physical attributes to be a monster in this league.

    I’d be very excited with that squad and think we could challenge on all 3 fronts next season with it. All for a net spend of £60 million.



    You’re dead right about the sly digs but I’m quite proud of the “Arsene Fundamentalist” tag and was restrained enough not to go with “Arsene Fundamentalist C@nt” which could’ve caught on big time when abbreviated to “AFCs”.
    Put my heart and soul into that!

    Anyhow, onwards and upwards,

    I’m now working on a new version of Michael and Sir Paul’s “Ebony and Ivory” based on the reunification of Arsenal fans with Arsene-all fans and need help with the lyrics…

    What rhymes with c@nt?

  15. Toli83

    Two signings in summer could come from Prem.

    Schniederlin from Saints, Morales from Everton would be decent buy as well, both tough effective players.

  16. MidwestGun

    Romford –

    You got my interest up to see this Roma game later. Sounds pretty interesting. Barca Sociedad like watching paint dry so far.

  17. Leedsgunner


    Thanks too for your list, it had some good names on there. I like Manduzikic too, he’s a great player.

    Agreed, Cavani would be a dream dream signing and would bring the anti-Wenger and pro-Wenger factions together… and would get Wenger the Le Grove Peace Prize. 😉 Warms the cockles of your heart.

    Wenger Eagle

    Your list was totally kaloutastic. (I mean that in a nice way!) Good idea about Ceasar, forgot about him. Is he still the no.1 for Brazil? (..and still playing for QPR?) I agree with you on Ginter too, nice tidy player.

    You can make up up the £10m overspend with your excellent skill playing the odds as demonstrated the other night! 😉

  18. Romford Pele

    Midwest, been a good game mate.

    Roma bossed the first half, two great goals through Strootman and Gervinho. They’ve gone to pot in the second though. GK De Sanctis made a massive error which saw Napoli pull a goal back a minute into the second half and Roma haven’t really had the momentum since!

  19. Leedsgunner

    Atletico Madrid was humbled tonight. Modric looked immense!

    Has anyone watched Oliver Torres? Apparently he’s supposed to be the “next big thing” in Spain. Reality or hype? A. Madrid player presently on loan to Villarreal I believe.

  20. Al

    I will never understand why anyone would want Benzema for his price tag….He constantly fails to deliver and his attitude and work rate during matches is frankly pathetic.

  21. MidwestGun


    Yes thats him. Couldnt think of the name.

    My favorite one: Like Moses parting the red sea. Messi splits the defenders.

    Ya dude is crazy as hell but highly intertaining.

  22. Simon


    Wanted it to be funny though! Rather than nasty… I have fallen a few times for clicking on a link some guy promising signings or something and getting … BBC report on 8-2.from a manc. Grrr!

  23. Carts


    The more I watch Benzema, the more I take £500k of his alleged price tag. Think I’m down to about £23m since his tag was around £30m, in the summer.


  24. Al

    Well done gervinho. ..always tried to make things happen when he played for us but just lacked the quality for the premier league because most players in the league could match his pace, strength and had seen plenty of players with his trickery.

    Made for Italy because he can utilise main strength in his speed which everyone lacks in that league

  25. Romford Pele

    AC, just a confident player in a confident environment playing in a system which very much suits him. His dribbling has always been a highlight but his off the ball movement like Theo is very good. And being confident, he’s a lot decisive infront of goal. Funnily enough, we could really do with his type right now lol

  26. Leedsgunner

    “Real look decent enough but imagine them with OG linking their midfielders
    O M F G they would be awefuckingsome !!!!”

    Telarse… thank you for giving me a spit out loud moment. If my ipad goes on the blink because of the spilt tea, can I send you the bill? Brilliant, just brilliant! 😉

  27. Carts


    Vela has undoubted ‘kwalateeee’, Wenger never knew how to get the best out of him whenever he played in anything bar the League cup


    @ any horror enthusiasts
    30 Days of Night

    Absolutely the best horror film I’ve seen in years.

    (The film version of Arsenal’s transfer window is likely to run it close!)

  29. salparadisenyc

    See some you of you boys watching Roma – Napoli.
    I caught the last 45 minutes. Gervinho… looks a new man.
    Rudi Garcia well done, exciting side.
    They can overhaul Juve if they keep playing like that.

  30. Leedsgunner

    Here’s a thought… Rudi Garcia for Arsenal? I mean think about it, it’s not as daft as it sounds. If he can transform Forehead to this unrecognisable rampaging scoring beast… imagine what he could do with someone ACTUALLY good? 😉

  31. WengerEagle

    ‘I will never understand why anyone would want Benzema for his price tag….He constantly fails to deliver and his attitude and work rate during matches is frankly pathetic.’

    Where to start?

    He’s a striker but is probably the most unselfish striker in Europe, he’s accumulated 43 assists in his last 2 and a half seasons which is frankly astounding. Dwarves Giroud and his supposedly great build-up play.

    At the moment he’s a goal every other game striker, however I feel if he played for us in front of Ozil and Cazorla he’d smash in 30 goals a season no problem. You have to remember Ronaldo is the focal point of this Real side, the team is built around him so Benzema has had to adapt.

    He’s fairly tall(6 foot), strong, fast,has great technique, creates shedloads, is a great dribbler and is a good finisher.

    He’s scored or assisted 157 goals in 214 apps for Madrid.

    I think he’d be fantastic in the BPL,

    I think it’s all about motivation for this lad.

  32. Romford Pele

    Spot on RE Benzema Eagle. He’s in a team which is focused around Ronaldo. He’d be much more of a focal point at Arsenal. Sadly I don’t see this transfer ever happening though

  33. Toli83

    Would have Benzema in a heartbeat.

    Could imagine him doing well in the prem.

    Wenger has already said him and Giroud competing in both club and country teams would not be healthy s expect it not to happen.

  34. MidwestGun

    Barca up 1 , Sociedad down to ten men. Pretty much over,very boring.

    Despite Ray Hudson who is a legend. Love that guy.

    Ok well off to check out Roma game. Thanks for heads up Romford.

  35. Cesc Appeal


    I agree. I think we should just agree we need to get Cavani, by ‘we’ I mean the board. Just say, we HAVE to get this guy, make every effort we possibly can

    Madrid look as though they are targeting Suarez.

    Munich just got Lewandowski.

    Chelsea are looking at Costa.

    City aren’t looking at a striker.

    So it leaves us and United – and I would fancy our odds against them now.

    You’re probably looking at anything between £45-55 Million. I don’t think PSG would push to try and make a profit on the player if he’s clearly unhappy and most of Europe knows it. Though they could do.

    I think the Lars Bender ship may have sailed, Wenger didn’t want to pay £20 Million, Bender signed a new deal and his release is near £40 Million now.

    So I think Schneiderlin and Matuidi, the Saint’s man would probably be £15-20 Million (tops) and Matuidi is free. The successors to Arteta and Flamini essentially.

    A RB cover on the same sort of level as Monreal under Gibbs, and then a young CB.

    That for me would be a perfect summer and I’d have the utmost confidence in the squad then.

  36. Leedsgunner

    “I think it’s all about motivation for this lad.”

    You’ve made a fierce and ordered defence of Benzema WengerEagle… but I’m a bit confused about motivation. One would think playing alongside the current Ballon d’Or winner, in one of the powerhouse clubs in the world, being paid hundreds of thousands of pounds a week in front of thousands of adoring fans… would be enough for most people… but not for him?

    I agree with you in that he’s a great player, but his attitude is suspect… a bit TH14 was like before he left for Barca, as if nothing was good enough for him… very damaging to team morale. Besides, is it true that Giroud and Benzema don’t get on when playing for France? If he was acquired, I’m sure they would be professional about it — but do we need the aggro?

  37. Same Story

    Oliver Torres, Spain’s stand out performer(imo)at the U-20 WC in a team that had the likes of Deulofeu,Jese and Suso .

    He’s a little maestro, a David Silva Xavi hybrid is how I’d describe him.

  38. Leedsgunner

    WengerEagle @2200

    As you and I know, fans are fickle.. if he’s scoring they’ll soon cheer him. 😉 For the amount of money required, I suspect we could do better. Obviously if it was between him and nobody, I would take him but I suspect there are other targets out there just as good without the attitude. Say what you will about Giroud’s scoring prowess (or lack thereof) he’s a really team player. Is Benzema that? You may be right, but I remain to be convinced.

  39. salparadisenyc

    I think we’d all give a nut for Cavani.
    Ibra is heading into his 33 year, Cavani is his replacement.
    Can’t see them selling, should of gone all out last January when we supposedly bid the £30 Million.

  40. rollen

    TELARSE February 5, 2014 21:38:24

    @ any horror enthusiasts
    30 Days of Night

    Absolutely the best horror film I’ve seen in years.

    Event horizon – great old school
    new Carrie is really nice , at last someone done good job with Stephen King adaptation

  41. Romford Pele

    Still buzzing off that Roma-Napoli game! Always great when you watch an awesome game as a neutral. Someone needs to find that magic potion Garcia has for a Gervinho and sprinkle it on a few of our players!

  42. WengerEagle


    I personally think Benzema would be a world-beater in the BPL and take us to another level. If you don’t agree that’s fair enough you are entitled to your opinion mate :D. Yes he would cost a lot but he’s only 26 so you’re getting 4-5 of his best years.

    Giroud might be sweeter than sugar but he’s substandard. Costa and Suarez are both dickheads but are great strikers. Benzema would have to be a complete headcase to disrupt our squad right now, the harmony is great and we are challenging for trophies so how unhappy could one be? He doesn’t seem like a dickhead either tbh.

    Costa looks Chelsea bound, and tbh what other quality strikers will be available in the summer?

    Jackson Martinez? He’d cost the same as Benzema and is totally unproven outside the Portuguese League not to mention he’s older.

    Outside of that there is very little.

  43. Leedsgunner

    Romford @2231

    How did Destro do? I like him, good set piece taker, a nice tidy player. Anything to write home about?

  44. Leedsgunner

    I don’t disagree with you that Giroud is a poor finisher. I’ve said that loads of times. I think too that Benzema is a great player too but, I just don’t know, there’s something of prima donna about him. Obviously if he came to Arsenal we all get behind him and a day when we acquire a finisher better than Giroud would be a good day for the Arsenal in any case… 😉

  45. Romford Pele

    Leeds, Destro came on for Totti and played the last 20. Was pretty ineffective until being involved in the sexy move that led to Gervinho’s winner. Don’t know much about him. Good?

  46. Leedsgunner



    Good set piece taker, confident finisher and very good in the air. Perhaps not quite the finished article but really not far off. Someone who would thrive in the Bendtner role but v. much better…

    (Now THAT was a surreal experience Romford asking me about players… ;))

  47. Kamal Zharif

    Dear Mr Pedro,

    From the post, I wonder, why stop at Balotelli? There are other stars under PUMA. For example I can list players like Reus, Falcao (Maybe worth a punt), Fabregas! I still in my heart believe that the January debacle is most likely will lead to a much rosier summer. Hopefully in 5 months time, there are players lining up to join us. I do agree that we need someone in that mold, or at least a defensive midfielder. I remember when Flamini was injured and did not play a few games, the team lacked steel. Lacked solidity and looked fragile. So the need to have a like to like midfielder is needed.

  48. Sadra

    This negativity v.s positivity between this post and yesterday’s reminded me of the pessimism v.s optimism in the Geoff / Pedro posts long ago!

    Good days!

  49. sylvain

    @Leeds : I find absolutely AMAZING that some fans still believe in this kind of hype…
    I expect NOTHING from The Senile One, so I will not have any pain next summer.

    And honnestly I’m already feel the pain of many fans who still believe we are going to spend so much money.

  50. Pedro

    Aaron, isn’t that the point then… that if the perception of a game is that it’s a shit game, you’ll always have a poor atmosphere at shit game regardless of the price?