I’ve been writing articles like the one I penned yesterday for the best part of 7 years, but never have I had so much reluctant agreement. Hardened Arsenal fans from all spectrum’s of ‘Arsene Wenger belief’ all in acceptance that change has to come. Today’s focus will be along those lines, but maybe we’ll bounce around a bit more.
Firstly, the FA Cup. What does it now mean? Well, firstly, it’s an opportunity for the manager to place some sort of progress on the season. As it stands, it looks like we could just be aiming for 4th. All the teams above us in the league banged in 5+ goals this weekend, so the momentum really isn’t with us. 4th isn’t really progress, though clearly, the fact we’re where we are right now is still a massive jump in comparison to last season. So no baby out with the bath water. How Wenger, has that team, in the position it is right now is nothing short of a miracle. One average striker, poor approach to tactics and a flagrant disregard for player fitness and we’re contending the league. Work that one out?
Imagine the possibilities if he built out a proper squad and made some tweaks to his approach fitness and tactics wise?
Now, the FA Cup, this really is interesting because Arsene Wenger hasn’t signed a new deal. Now, I know there are rumours that he’ll retire floating around the web. But don’t take those as having any sort of factual base to them. They’ve apparently come from a players brother. From what I’ve been told, no one at the club has any idea what Wenger is planning on doing. Which for me, is salacious in itself. But anyone claiming to know Wenger is leaving is basically taking a punt on becoming an ITK superstar. So don’t believe it. If it stems from anywhere, it’ll be some 16 year boy who plays with lego and whacks off to his three Nintendo Wii cyber girlfriends, every, damn, night.
Wenger has had countless opportunities to sign a new deal. He was top for most of the first half of the season. Last week he’d just beaten Spurs. We’d had very good cup wins against Spurs a Liverpool a few months ago… all the perfect time to sign up for another three years.
… but he still hasn’t. Why? What reason could there be for putting it off for this long?
Well, I think it’ll be a number of things. Firstly, he’ll want to see how far he can take this side. Secondly, he’ll want to see how the fans react to him. Simple fact is, when you’re 65, the last thing you need when you’re cash monied beyond your wildest dreams is grief from fans. It’s a ball ache, it’s hurtful and you just don’t have the same fire to deal with it in later life.
Maybe, just maybe, this late signing of the deal is to see how much the club want him? If the enthusiasm is there and we’re begging him… he’ll do it. If the papers are just sitting on the desk, maybe he won’t. Maybe Wenger is just looking to see if the love and passion is still there at board level?
Now, I don’t think he should sign on as things currently stand. If he does sign on, the CEO has to take back some control of the club. That lack of control is the reason we’re in such a mess. Ivan doesn’t go near the playing area of the club, despite that being where most of the clubs value sits.
So assuming Ivan knows what’s going on, which I can guarantee he does. These are the options he has:
- Arsene, you’re staying, but here’s the deal. We’re going to compare what you do, with what the best clubs in the world do. If there is an opportunity to make a positive change, we’re going to do it. Now, I wrote this is what Ivan should have been doing a few years ago and it didn’t happen. But it’s an angle in. You stay, but we’re addressing some obvious issues. Particularly in your back room team.
- Ivan doesn’t show enthusiasm for Wenger to sign. He knows it’s game over. So the club don’t hammer hard for Wenger to pen the deal.
- Arsenal retract the new deal. Which; let’s be honest, is NEVER going to happen
Alternatively, Arsene could just be waiting to bow out with an FA Cup like bang. He might look at the hammerings he’s taken this year and think… jeez… I’ve spend the last three years taking these sorts of pummelling’s and I don’t really have to the tools to stop them happening. I mean, seriously, how many times have Bayern been hammered like that? How often do the elite teams of Europe take a pounding on that sort of level? I appreciate there is a fluke every now and then, but you look at the regularity of our freak spankings over the last few years and it’s quite incredible.
The spankings aren’t even freaky these days.
How many times have you read a line like that in a sports blog?
Arsene can’t outsmart other managers at the highest level, that much is clear. He must know that this is the case, because we end up in the same mess year after year. He always said when he didn’t have the drive anymore, he’d give up. He looks beaten this season. He’s once again done it his way and he’s come up short. His scouting chief isn’t bringing in the players these days, his last big move was Carl Jenkinson. His goalkeeper coach is beyond a joke. His head of fitness is continuing to layer havoc over our players who look flat and lifeless as they’re consistently broken. I don’t even know what Boro Piromac is up to? He does the tactics, right? Has anyone checked his pulse of late? Is he alive? Is he even in the ground?
His set up is letting him down. When you build out a team of senior staff who don’t challenge you, that works perfectly when you’re king. But when the walls are knocked down, when your Midas touch disappears and no one has the guts to call you out. You’re f*cked. It’s sad, but this is what’s happened at the club. No one has the nerve to tell the King he’s turned up the training ground in a his partners underwear.
I’ve read around the web and there are people questioning the players psyche. Sorry, it doesn’t rub with me. Giroud is a league winner, Cazorla is a World Cup / European Championship winner, Ozil is a La Liga winner, Mertesacker is a Bundasliga winner, Podolski has won things. The problem isn’t the players, it’s the man who sets them up. These are top professionals. These are players that boast similar qualities to Chelsea. They boast better qualities than Liverpool. Yet they’re collapsing. Why? Because they’re not given the tools to succeed. No tactical analysis. No game plan. No help. They’re overtrained and over played. How can you expect players given virtually no prep to beat teams that have it in abundance?
We have to face it, Arsenal are letting players down these days. Chamakh leaves us and he’s revitalised. Gervinho goes and plays for the excellent Rudi Garcia and he’s a different man. We bring in Ozil and he’s broken within 6 months. Best number ten to total shambles in 7 months. Giroud goes from average all action hero, to average dead man walking. Nik Bendtner is the best striker at the club, gets zero games as we bury Giroud. Flamini, all action hero to pretty much a zero second half of the season. Andre Arshavin last year, one of the best talents I’ve ever seen, sidelined because the manager didn’t fancy him. He was a central player and a dream of one, carthorsed out wide and expected to track. Of course he was going to fail! Jack Wilshere, in a world of nothingness. Cazorla has been pretty ineffectual. Even the players that power on through like Theo and Ramsey are destroyed fitness wise.
Things aren’t great… but let’s get one things straight here, the last thing we need is Arsene sacking it in now. The players don’t need an excuse to switch off when it’s Chelsea in a head to head title battle. If they think Wenger is going, that’s it, season over. The manager knows this. He knows if he is going, that has to be the biggest secret in the game. No one can know. Not even Ivan.
Doesn’t detract from the story though. Maybe, just maybe, he’s thinking the FA Cup is a good time to say goodbye?
… and what does he leave?
Well, he leaves the club in a far healthier state than he found it.
- The new manager has incredible training facilities
- £140m for new players
- State of the art stadium, he helped make possible by keeping us Champions League buoyant on next to no budget
- A super back bone of a team that is three of four players and a new approach away from dominance
- A beautiful footballing philosophy that will be his legacy. No manager will ever come in and ruin our style. We are the Barca of English football and we will be forever more
- World class financials because we’re now a global super brand
The next manager who comes in has it all, thanks to Arsene and his ways. What a way to leave a club, nearly at the top, ready for someone younger with fresher ideas to come in and takeover.
That new person needs to come armed with a great game plan for the club. We needs to see a new approach to fitness, we need to see a new transfer set up where we target players with pace and power, we need to see more empathy for data… so more opposition analysis and more respect for modern day tactics. We need a strong vision for where the club is going over the next 5 years.
There’s a manager out there who can be the Arsene of 20 years ago. They might not stay for 20 years, but they’ll have the chance to make a huge impact and take us to the next level.
There’s no need to be scared of change, what you should fear is accepted stagnation based on a reputation 10 years past its sell by date.
See you in the comments.