Morning people! Sorry I didn’t drop in with a post yesterday, I kind of felt I was killing my own Arsenal vibe… so I took a day out to RECHARGE the batteries!
So, two bits of news to get out the way. First, the sad news that Johan Cruyff passed away. A legend of the game both as a player and as a manager. As a player, he was before I was born, but as a manager, he influenced the incredible Barca sides of the early ninties. Not only that, he influenced some of the greatest managers in the game today.
A mighty figure of a man who gave the world total football… something that clearly influenced our very own Arsene Wenger.
Then onto some grotty news. Adam Johnson, a once sweetheart of English football has been jailed for 6 years for grooming a school girl in the back of his Landrover. Everything about this story is disgusting. Famous married man with everything, preying on something he shouldn’t be even thinking about. Worse still was his arrogance in court in the build up, apparently bantering with the security guard his was a bit bored of proceedings.
I think what makes a story like this even worse in the press and on twitter is the undertone that a 15 year old girl knew what she was doing… and in some way is a guilty party in this affair. At 15, you are a child. No two ways about it. At 28, you should not be looking at children, especially if they’ve told you they are children. It’s beyond disgusting at every level and he deserves each of the 6 years he no doubt won’t serve.
Onto the news you’ve all been waiting for… The Mirror say Wenger isn’t going to leave this summer, instead, he’s determined to come in and overhaul the squad.
Amazing what a waste last summer was. In the space of one season, we’ve gone from 2 or 3 players away from total success… to a mega overhaul. That’s football, Chelsea will no doubt be doing the same. But they at least have a title in hand.
Arsenal, who are still in the title race, are telling the press they’re bombing off a bunch of players.
Tomas, Arteta and Flamini will be gone. That means we’ll need at least two players who can take their roles. Preferably a young dynamic defensive midfielder, then you’d imagine Rosicky and Santi will be replaced by one super player backed up by Iwobi.
This summer isn’t just about replacing like for like, it’s about building flexibility into the set up that we have… real flexibility. Not Nik B on the wing. I’m talking players that can genuinely interchange.
I think we also need to get the blend of experience and fitness right. Signing a Callum Chambers should be with the future in mind. There’s no way he should have been with us this year. What has he learnt? Ping him out to Bournemouth and see how he fares. Or loan him back to Southampton.
We need players that are ready mades this summer… or about to blow up. We need to be picking up 25m 23-24 year olds who have a 150 games under their belt. Where are the Freddie’s and Bobby P’s of now? Are we prepared to accept that they won’t cost 2m and packet of skips? Are we looking in the right places?
Are we checking out those Eastern European Leagues? Douglas Costa came from Shaktar, he’s been a revelation. Are we looking in the places Lewandowski came from? They’re athletes, they have that nut case work ethic and they come with scary aggression. Perfect for our league. Let’s stop sniffing about in the leagues everyone else is. Let’s be smarter.
Also, how about picking up some failed players from the top clubs? Salah has been ripping it up at Roma along with Caudrado at Juve. How about Chicarito… one of the most potent strikers in Europe. Binned off for what, 11m? We need to look at some of the things that made us great back in the day… picking up players on the cusp was one of them, but reviving dying careers was the other. Thierry Henry, a wing back at Juve. Paddy V an understudy on the Milan bench. Kanu, on the bench at Inter Milan. Bergkamp!
Who is festering at Madrid? Who is not in the good books at Barca? Why aren’t we picking off rejects from PSG at a knockdown price? What about players in the Premier League? I mean, what a miss Lukaku was!
Then there are the mega players over here… John Stones feels like that annoyingly successful Chelsea centre back we’re going to hate ourselves for missing out on for the next 15 years. Classy, intelligent, perfect frame… we should be front of the queue there!
We need to go into this summer balls out. That doesn’t mean spunk billions. That means uncover gems, pay premium where you need to and for heavens sake… make sure the squad is fully stocked. It’s out biggest let down every season.
We also need to have a word about how we approach games. There needs to be some deep self assessment.
Why aren’t our players motivated at crunch time? What are we missing tactically? How do we play that up? What are we missing internally from the players… how can we find that? How do we move to compete with the monster that Pep and Klopp are about to bring? How do we build on the limited innovation we brought to the team this year? Why did we go out in Europe… why are we continually outsmarted… and what’s the plan for rectifying it?
We need a vision. We need a differentiator. We need a strategy for executing it.
Arsene is incapable of delivering that on his own, so maybe Ivan needs to empower those below him to help out more, considering this should be Wenger’s final hurrah?
Also, the benefit of doing that is that you have continuity baked into the psyche of the players… if they know Bouldy is staying, they won’t slack off at the first chance.
Anyway, just some of my thought. HAVE A GOOD DAY PEOPLE!