Ivan’s trial balloons + Arsenal’s likely search and select process

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Things feel like they’re moving at a rapid pace in the hire for the new manager of Arsenal FC, but I’d caution you to all slow down a touch.

The leaks to the press are interesting, but I think we need to be careful about what we believe.

Things we’re pretty damn certain about:

1. Arsenal were not talking to any manager about Arsene’s job before last Thursday. That was a respect thing, the club like to claim they have class, and we’ve no reason to believe otherwise.

2. Arsenal want to get this next hire right. Ivan has been waiting for 10 years to make a proper impact on the playing side. This is his chance, his moment to shine like Pascal Cygan’s forehead on a summers day. Do not believe they fired Wenger so they could make a decision in 4 days. They have time, they’ll use it.

The club will go through a proper search and select process. Firstly, they’ll likely have spent a year building a brief of the type of manager they want to hire, Ivan already stated he wants someone who can work with young players, it’s clear they want someone who understands how to implement a pressing game, and he’ll want to lean into the playing values Wenger brought to the club. They’ll be thinking about what they’re looking to achieve, and the ways they can achieve it, as well as the different ways they can achieve those goals.

From there, they’ll compile a group of names and they’ll press contacts throughout Europe to build reports (Sven and Raul will show their worth here, just like Henrique has been doing at PSG). They’ll want to know about their characters, their ability to deal with pressure, style of management, how they work with those above them, and what players think of them. According to Ballague’s book, it was after this phase Arsene Wenger was pushed out of the reckoning for the Barca job in 2008.

From there, they’ll whittle down to a list of names they can speak to, maybe they’ll reach out to agents to gauge interest, then they’ll set up interviews.

You’d imagine for a job the size of Arsenal, they’ll be expected to present their vision of the club (Ryan Giggs classically failed here for Swansea). Arsenal will want to interrogate their ideas for Arsenal, find out more details about their footballing ideals/values, understand their management style, and get to grips with how they work with the specialists where they are. Jose Mourinho failed to get the Barca job back in the day because when he was asked if he’d relinquish his combative approach in the media, he refused, stating it’s part of his game.

I’d imagine after working with Wenger, the club will want someone amenable to a more democratic structure, a man open to new ideas, comfortable with empowering those around them with responsibility and decision making power, and the absolute key… being able to communicate ideas with intensity and passion.

Whenever you read about Pep, it’s always his intensity. Players love his training sessions (read), no one has more energy than him, no one has better ideas, and his commitment and his vision are utterly infectious (watch). Intensity is something we lack on and off the pitch, and it’s something the board will want to see back at the club.

So basically, what I’m saying is this… sure, Enrique and Arteta are going to be in the mix for the new role at the club, but don’t be daft enough to think they’re near a decision yet.

I’m not so keen on Enrique. I don’t know a lot about him, but I kind of feel he’s a poor man’s Pep G. This from Sid Lowe at ESPN very eloquently gives an insight into the manager that I’m not sure we’d enjoy.

Barcelona’s problems are a reality. The team that once invited opponents onto them now looks frightened when they are pressed, unable to find a way out; those passageways they once opened remain closed, the mechanisms malfunctioning. Or maybe there aren’t any? Maybe that element of their game, once so central and important, has been relegated to a minor issue? The evidence on the pitch suggests so, and so did the comments on the touchline.

Luis Enrique is a former Barcelona player, a Barcelona B-team manager, a man who embraced the city and the club and loved to wind up Madrid, who said he was coming “home” when he took over, likening the Camp Nou to Disneyland. But some critics suspected that he was not really Barcelona, and now they’re even more convinced. When Luis Enrique said he was “faithful” to the style but wanted to “evolve it, perfect it, improve it,” they suspected he actually meant destroy it. Now they’re even more convinced of that. Not least because they were convinced of it then, even as he won trophies and fans chanted his name

I’m kind of hoping the name will go away, but the key here is that Enrique knows someone at the club.

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There’s a clear pattern from yesterdays media leaks. All the people that are supposedly still in the mix are linked to someone at the club. I don’t think that’s necessarily a key decision point, but as you know in business, it really fucking helps if someone can vouch for you. I have my doubts it’s any different in football.

I’d imagine a big part of Ivan’s decision making has to be with the fans. He’ll never admit it, but he needs us onboard. Letting Sky know Arteta was his favoured candidate might not be as irresponsible as you think. I’m sure he’s gauging fan reaction to see how much stomach we have for risk. Managerial trial balloons, I’m not sure he’d have liked the reaction, which seems cold if I’m honest.

I’ve been telling you since last May the club wanted the return of Arteta, and that the Spaniard turned down Spurs because he wanted to return to us at some point. I wrote in November why he’d be an interesting hire.

To summarise:

1. Signing Arteta works from a culture perspective, he gets the club, he’s well-liked, and he knows everyone

2. Ivan would own his pristine hair and his backside. Being a kingmaker allows you to control the manager and the direction of the club. Something he’s lacked under Wenger.

3. You’re hiring from the best-tutored coach in the world game. The greatest innovators are usually exposed to genius somewhere along the line (Steve Jobs @ Xerox). They often take others ideas, and reimagine them for themselves. If Arteta is as smart as they say he is, he could be a force to be reckoned with if he can adapt to the gravity of the job.

4. There’s a cost benefit. A young manager charges less, comes with fewer people, and if it goes wrong you don’t have to spend much to rectify the issue.

I’m not sure we’ll have the balls to go with an Arteta like signing, but look, I’d not be against the move. I think it’s strategically sound, and I’d certainly be excited about watching a young manager bring Pep levels of intensity to the Colney dossers club.

Definitely worth a few of your pennies if you’re a gambler, but I do think it might be sharper for the club to look at Nagelsmann if we’re going for untested. He’s already proved he can build something from nothing, he’s taken Hoffenheim to the Champions League (from relegation fodder), he’s shown he can develop players, and he’s on the verge of recreating the same success of last season for the second year running. He’d still be a brave move, but I think the fans would be more comfortable with him as a risk.

There will be more names linked, likely more experienced, and I think the favourites list from the bookies will go back and forth. Expect Conte to be linked, I’d imagine the Allegri rumours will start again, we’ll absolutely explore Jardim, and I’d imagine we’ll see names like Hassenhutl, Jardim, Poch, Carlo and Tedesco in the papers.

Everyone, I say this truthfully, I have not been this excited about Arsenal for 15 years.

The future is bright. It’s technical. It’s unpredictable and joy-filled whatever happens.

We’ve broken the grip of Wenger, now we can enjoy football like any other fan of a rich elite club in London.

What a summer we have ahead.

See you in the comments.

490 Responses to “Ivan’s trial balloons + Arsenal’s likely search and select process”

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  1. steve

    Pierre and CC are just mad things haven’t gotten the way they wanted in regards to Wenger. The plan was for him to stay for many many years. Now he’s been sacked, hounded out of the club. That’s why they hate that Liverpool are doing well as it doesn’t fit their narrative of “Wenger couldn’t compete” “It was the media’s fault” bla bla. Same thing with Leicester winning the league making Wenger and his stupid followers look like mugs. Destroying their idea of not being able to compete. They have no arguments left.

  2. Take me back to highbury

    Yes Charlie

    And your insight is amazing.

    Tell us again how xhaka was the best signing and was gong to make us league contenders that season

    You really know your football

    And now pedalling arteta as a good choice for manager


    Keep it coming CC

  3. Take me back to highbury


    Today it was that Roma are shit hahah

    The lengths they go to.

    Liverpool destroyed them.

    Roma couldn’t handle it.

    But they certainly aren’t shit. They are in the semis of the CL

    Something Wenger and the likes of Pierre And CC only wish Wenger could do for us

  4. Champagne charlie


    Rafa’s mess? Lol what are you talking about?

    Madrid fans didn’t want him as manager from the off, he was booed at his first home game and they never let up. Ronaldo also threw his toys out the pram because he liked Ancelotti who’d recently gone.

    Rafa didn’t cause any “mess”, he was there 7 months and only lost 3 games in 25 under that cloud of shit. Could very easily spin it that Madrid won the CL that season with the foundation Rafa put in place. Your “mess” talk is total rubbish I’m afraid though.

  5. Champagne charlie


    Thank fuck, you found a friend in chav Steve. Hope you both keep each other busy with intellectual debate, you’ve found a match for one another in that department.

  6. WengerEagle


    Ok ‘mess’ makes it hyperbolic but things certainly were not rosy under Rafa, dressing room problems notwithstanding.

    Their results against the top teams around them were not good, hockeyed at home 4-0 by Barcelona, beaten by Sevilla, beaten by Villarreal, draws vs Atletico and Valencia.

    ZZ picked up 51 points from a possible 60 upon taking over, Rafa took 37 points from a possible 54.

    And how can you say that he set the foundations for their UCL success? He won them the group, something that every RM manager has done before him too (ironically ZZ failed to achieve that this season, didn’t matter in the end). ZZ negotiated the entire knockout phase.

    The point I was trying to make was that RM have zero patience with gaffers, regardless of success even. Everyone is sacked by them, ZZ is a rarity that he’s actually lasted as long as he has already.

  7. Pierre

    Take me back to the place where I never saw wengers invincibles play..

    J.oe. …he’s going , it’s over …it’s time to move on and talk about something different….

    Get it into your thick head ….we are all happy that he’s going .

  8. Champagne charlie


    I’m not stating he set the foundations, I said that in jest because it’s precisely the type of obscure rehashing that people produce on here.

    I’m not ignoring ZZ’s influence, but for me it came more as a result of the unrest at the club in the time. He was this mythical figure that came in and waters were calmed once again, players shut up and played, media backed off, fans were onside, momentum built.

    My point is he’s proven himself tactically lacking, and short of the ingredients of a Pep. He’s a figurehead type, I don’t see ZZ tipping up at a Roma and making them tick with his football genius the same way Pep would. His sheen has dulled and he’s getting moved on, that’s not typical of managerial elite.

  9. WengerEagle

    ‘My point is he’s proven himself tactically lacking, and short of the ingredients of a Pep. He’s a figurehead type, I don’t see ZZ tipping up at a Roma and making them tick with his football genius the same way Pep would. His sheen has dulled and he’s getting moved on, that’s not typical of managerial elite.’

    See I don’t understand this, UCL football is as tactical as it gets because it’s a much higher level of opposition with threats coming from all parts of the pitch, it’s where your tactics have to be spot on.

    It’s why we were so hopeless in Europe over the years besides 2006 (post-Invincibles and shite domestically), our Invincible side massively underachieved in Europe because of AW’s tactical ineptitude.

    ZZ has gotten his tactics right time and time again as evidenced by their performances over these 3 European seasons, they’ve beaten Juventus, PSG, Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid over 2 legs in the past 2 seasons, and they’ve been the better side in every tie neutralising the threats of the opposition.

  10. WengerEagle

    Granted they were poor against Juventus in the QF but even if that went to ET, I would have had RM winning as they did against Bayern last season.

    Juve were sitting back and inviting pressure the last 20 mins and you felt that goal was coming.

    Even Buffon admitted that over the 2 legs, RM deserved to go through.

  11. Redtruth

    Any side that concedes 3 goals at home doesn’t deserve to go through which is what i think the Juve goalie was saying……plonker

  12. Champagne charlie


    Disagree entirely, the league is a better reflection of tactical ability and management. Cup football (especially knockout) is about the day, and often what the players do, tactics take a back seat imo.

    Is ZZ capable of producing a game plan that can knock an opponent out of a competition? Ehh sure I’ll concede that begrudgingly based on what I say above.

    Now is he capable of producing a tactically dominant league campaign? Nope, I have massive reservations about that. This Barcelona side aren’t that impressive, relatively speaking, and they’ve blown his Madrid side away this season.

    Madrid are very much at the “ok you’re ZZ, but what else you got” stage of his tenure and he’s not come up with much. Same reservations I have of Thierry coming to Arsenal, he’d be respected, the place would lift, but does he have the managerial acumen to imprint ideas into a team? Not convinced. He’d also not have Ronaldo and Bales to paper over things.

  13. Carts

    I’ll have to look back at the stats but it’s as if Klopp was inadvertently aware that Liverpool seem to switch off if Salah goes off.

    I used to wonder why when ever Liverpool seemed to have games wrapped up, they’d leave it well into the 80s to sub Salah off.

    But yeah, those two goal hey conceded will fill Roma with a lot of belief. Still fancy Liverpool to not get outscored next week

  14. WengerEagle


    Disagree, league matches you’re generally the better team and the favourite if you’re in charge of RM, let’s not pretend that you need to put in a tactical masterclass to beat a Leganes, Eibar or Real Sociedad on any given day.

    The league was over pretty early on, unlike in England anything over a 10 point lead in Spain means lights out when you’re dealing with Messi and Barcelona.

    And what you’re neglecting to mention is that he won the league last season!

    Which i suspect is why you’re now fishing for a ‘dominant’ league win. Nonsense, the fact that it was their first league win in 5 years after Barcelona had won 2 on the trot with MSN, I would say that it was an impressive achievement, made much more so by the fact that he was negotiating as successful UCL campaign along with it.

    Ronaldo and Bale’s to paper things over?

    Lol, what has Bale done for him? He’s been on the sidelines more often than not.

    He’s achieved a lot with Asensio, Casemiro and Vasquez, three players which HE brought into the fold and bedded into the team.

  15. WengerEagle

    Yeah 5-2 is too steep a mountain for Roma to climb.

    You’re only capable of one of those crazy comebacks that we witnessed over Barcelona, it’s literally only happened a couple of times in the history of the Champions League, Deportivo’s comeback over Ancelotti’s Milan in 2004 and Barca’s 6-1 pasting of PSG last season were the only other ones that I can think of.

    Barcelona themselves needed a repeat last season of their PSG comeback after going down 3-0 to Juventus in Turin, could only manage a tepid 0-0 at Camp Nou in 2nd leg.

    Liverpool are in the Final. 2nd leg a mere formality.

  16. Guns of SF

    ITs like ROma did not do their homework. The way they played was like they had never ever head of liverpool. Second leg will be much tighter… Pool might still go through by one goal perhaps

  17. Dissenter

    Feeling real pity for Oxlade.
    Word is that he’s torn a cruciate in his knee. What a blow for him because he was flying so high.

  18. Wallace

    very impressed with Liverpool last night. initially thought Roma might be a match for them, but they re-adjusted and gradually upped the tempo. Lovren’s late f*ck up aside they were very solid defensively, VVD has made a huge difference, and loved the aggression and energy of their two young full backs. Wijnaldum was excellent when he came on, and while Salah gets all the attention, love watching Firmino at #9. so much energy & intelligence.

  19. Pierre

    Just think of the buzz around the club if Arsenal had Patrick Vieira as manager and Henry as his assistant.

    It would give the club a massive lift , Henry and Vieira have very astute football brains …..I believe it could work and would give the club and fans the injection of life that it needs..

    They are both winners at the highest level and would command respect from day one from the experienced and youth players alike ….it’s a risk but a risk worth taking.

  20. Pierre

    Yeah agree..Liverpool were superb last night , a great team to watch .

    The last ten minutes would be a worry for their supporters for the return leg as the defence started to look very edgy .

    An early goal conceded and they could be in for a really difficult night.

  21. Champagne charlie


    I’m not neglecting anything, I can’t be more plain than what I’ve said.

    Zidane came in, fathered momentum, and rode a crest; now the romance has subsided and his managerial acumen is what he’s having to fall back on, which has been thin at best.

    He’s not that good a manager, I’ll gleefully say he’s proven me wrong when he steps outside the Madrid folklore bubble and competes at another football club. My guess is were he to expose himself to where the hierarchy/fans demand results without the status he holds at Madrid, he’d be found wanting.

  22. Champagne charlie


    Vieira/Henry combo would be fantastic for fanfare and buzz as you say, but I’d have my reservations over their managerial mettle – much like I do with Zidane – and ability to survive after the honeymoon period.

    Worth noting that Arsenal operate on a level, and with competition, that requires someone with a smart managerial input. We ain’t working for long with a figurehead style manager imo.

  23. Emiratesstroller

    I would subscribe to Patrick Vieira becoming Manager/Head Coach, but I am not sure that I would appoint Thierry Henry as an assistant coach.

    If Vieira is appointed there needs to be a clear divide in pecking order between him and the other coaches and I don’t think that would work. The club needs
    proper leadership in running the first team.

    I think that what was suggested to me by another season ticket holder who has
    close contacts with members of Board may well be correct.

    It seems that Louis Enrique is likely to be the preferred choice. Appointing Iniesta as his assistant might also be a good option. Both are winners and understand what it takes to build a successful team.

  24. Pierre

    It’s risky but worth the risk.

    My worry is if we got someone in like Arteta in and we got off to a bad start , the fans would immediately be on his back whereas vieira/Henry would be allowed time to put their ideas across …

    To be honest , I don’t want to return to the negativity from media and fans of the last few years ….the negativity will return very quickly if we don’t have a good transfer window (centre mid and defence is a priority) and we are under prepared for the start of the season .

  25. champagne charlie

    “My worry is if we got someone in like Arteta in and we got off to a bad start , the fans would immediately be on his back whereas vieira/Henry would be allowed time to put their ideas across …”

    It’s a key appointment, there’s no hiding from it.

    My concerns are as you say, but with an Arteta (or someone with perceived managerial acumen) you may have a slow start but their quality would win everyone over at some point. I do worry with Vieira/Henry that people are too invested in the players and less about what their management potential is like; they’d get time as you say, but I don’t want Arsenal to descend into waiting endlessly for ideas that may never materialise.

    Also worth noting, imagine we do hire Vieira/Henry, they become an awfully difficult entity for the board to reside over because of the emotional attachment. There’s less of one with Arteta, you could see him getting sacked for doing poorly, whereas I fear our BOD would give untold amount of time to preserve Henry/Vieira’s image. It’s not an easy one, hence I prefer a new face.

  26. Emiratesstroller


    The club needs to focus this summer on upgrading goalkeeper and defence.

    There are those who are far too concerned about the suggested NET £50 million budget. Personally I am not, because very few clubs are being offered that amount.

    Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs are not spending anything like £50 million net.
    If they spend £100-150 million it is because they negotiate sales to cover that

    If you take a look at Liverpool [see transfermarkt] they have in fact recouped
    slightly more on sales than they have spent on purchases in current financial

    The problem at Arsenal over many years is that our dross or unwanted players
    fetch peanuts partly because their contracts have been run down, but also
    because of inflated and overvalued wages which are paid.

    We bought Peres last season for £18 million and pay him close to £100K in wages. Who on earth are going to match such figures for a decent but realistically second tier player?

    You would have a similar problem with Welbeck if we decide to offload him
    particularly since he will be in final year of contract.

  27. gambon

    We should be all over Anthony Martial.

    Hes a completely different player to Lacazette or Auba, and would play on the left.

    Put it this way, would you rather see Martial out there, or Iwobi?

    Our current team, with Martial out on the left, would be good enough to win the PL from an attacking point of view. He would also provide some balance to the “death by number 10s” that we have employed in recent years.

  28. Leftsidesanch

    Costa although being injured has apparently travelled with the squad to London, Juanfran hasn’t however.

  29. Pierre

    Re Liverpool …it helps to balance the books of you receive 140 million for one player..

    I wonder if Coutinho is regretting his decision to leave.

  30. Emiratesstroller


    Sorry but the club needs to prioritise. We are not in the same position as the
    two Manchester clubs.

    In Eldorado where money is no object yes you are right Martial would be a decent buy.

    The reality is that over many years the club has created its own problems by
    buying too much mediocrity and then paying grossly inflated wages as well.

    Our current wage bill is not significantly lower than that of Man City. If you
    pay elite club wages to players then you need also to buy elite players with a
    resale value as well.

  31. Emiratesstroller


    I doubt it. Latin American players will always prefer to play in Spain and Barcelona is realistically a club higher in pecking order than Liverpool.

    One swallow does not make a summer.

  32. gambon


    Sorry I disagree. We have a clear hole in our current team/squad.

    We literally dont have a wide player, we have about 8 players who want to play number 10. Any decent manager will recognise this straight away.

    No other manager in world football would be happy with Welbeck and Iwobi as starting material. Iwobi isnt even PL level, Welbeck is mid to lower table level and should be at Watford or similar.

    Im sure Liverpool fans were saying last year that Salah wasnt a priority etc.

    You dont turn down the opportunity to sign such a quality player, who has one year left on his contract and wants out, and also was reportedly interested in Arsenal.

  33. Peter12

    For what it is worth, I think we should go for a clean break from Wengerite football of indirect football (trying to pass the ball into the net, avoiding shooting from the distance, free kicks etc. What Liverpool have shown (apart from high/energetic pressing) using move out of the defence with long balls over the opposition midfield, much more directness in breaking out. That is why we should avoid Wenger’s replacement to be someone who advocates tiki-taka build up. Personally, I think that should rule out (almost) any current French (or Barca) footballing name. No Enrique, no Henry. Also nobody previously has any attachments to the club – so, no Arteta, Viera etc as they would have too many loyalties (to the current management) and be hampered by them. To be honest almost anybody but these people. I am OK with young/inexperienced but not OK with keeping that status quo and the inevitable malaise. That is what killed Arsenal with Wenger. Any appointment from so-called ‘inside’ would be a dreadful mistake for the club and death-wish for the appointee – tarnish their own standing with the fans. The new manager would need to be bold as well as astute, with no link to any player or board member, nothing to lose; but also somebody who can work with and develop young and relatively unknown and undiscovered talent, because Arsenal just does not have enough money or time to replace the 80% of the current squad immediately. The squad is practically empty of talent. A relatively unknown young and strong manager with no links to the club with nothing to lose and care nobody to upset who advocates direct play. We don’t require a genius, we don’t require a posturing icon. Football is not rocket science, don’t over-complicate just to pontificate. This is my humble opinion.