Social competence challenges for two heavily linked names

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Today, we’re going to talk social competence, because that’s often a consideration overlooked when fans think about a new leader for their club. We think tactics, trophies, hair density, how much they dance about on the sidelines.

Jokes aside, social competence is one of the most important aspects of a managers game, and quite often the defining factor in success. The man who represents your club sets the tone for how your brand is perceived, they can inspire sensational player to move to shitty areas, they can make average players believe they’re heroes.

Barcelona passed on Mourinho because he was a brand destroyer, but players like CR7 describe him as one of the best motivators in football. Jurgen Klopp has a band of average players on the verge of a Champions League final, those players feed off him. Leonardo Jardim took a group of inexperienced youth players and made them the most exciting attacking force in Europe. Social competence matters, and it comes in many different forms.

Arsenal and Arsene have tried to reflect their values in the squad, ultimately at the expense of trophies. Whether it’s keeping Diaby for 5 years too long, giving crap players massive wages to help with their feelings of inferiority, or keeping nice boys like Theo around… all were attempts at managing the psychology of the club for the better.

We celebrated values over accomplishment, and that has to stop. But there’s a clear demarcation line of the type of coach we could hire, it’s good versus evil (through the lens of Arsenal). We could opt for an out an out winner, who leads through fear, or we could hire a man of the people that motivate players and inspires fans by connecting to them on a human level.

Nagelsmann famously told Rapha Honigstein:

“Thirty percent of coaching is tactics, 70% social competence”

“Every player is motivated by different things and needs to be addressed accordingly. At this level, the quality of the players at your disposal will ensure that you play well within a good tactical set-up – if the psychological condition is right.”

The young prodigy was ironically mentored under Thomas Tuchel, a man famed for his football genius, not his people skills.

This is a comment from Antony Ujah comparing Tuchel to the new manager, Sandro Schwarz, at Mainz.

“Both are detail-obsessed and tactically very good, they do a lot of video analysis, so we need players to remember certain things, the difference is communication and human interaction.”

Ultimately, you can be a genius at extracting greatness from players on the pitch, but if you’re no good at the personal stuff, things break down very quickly. This was the commentary after his stint at Dortmund, his first major job.

“Even earlier, in January 2016, Tuchel had fallen out with head scout Sven Mislintat… being banished from Dortmund’s training facilities.

“More bridges were burned and the fall-out with the club and the fans continued. He already had parts of the team questioning him, when he hit out at Bayern-bound Hummels following his last match for BVB in the 2016 DFB Pokal final.”

“The coach also lost influential parts of Dortmund’s fan base. Jan-Henrik Gruszecki, notable fan and historian, told ESPN FC: “Tuchel never identified with the club.”

Even Mourinho admits his emotions have caused issues, and were something he tried to address.

“I believe that I am able to transmit this serenity to those who work with me, to my players. I have the same ambitions as before. The same involvement, the same professionalism, but I’m more in control of my emotions.”

His passion and inability to stay humble is why he rarely longers long than 3 seasons, but also maybe why he’s one of the most successful coaches in the world. He knows how to exract excellence for a short period of time before players and staff give into his social incompetence.

If you want to really nerd out, this quote takes you down an interesting rabbit hole from a football perspective.

“In 1988, Goleman analysed 188 global companies, where he tested and interviewed the star performers within them. He found that at managerial level, technical and cognitive skills were comparable, with emotional intelligence being the crucial factor that differentiated employee’s positions. Boyzatis, Goleman and Rhee (1999, p.3) define emotional intelligence as “When a person demonstrates the competencies that constitute self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and socials skills at appropriate times and ways in sufficient frequency to be effective in the situation.”

“It’s why a smart manager is gold in the game. Players usually turn into coaches. Most players are not taught to be real humans. They lack curiosity and don’t need social skills because they are fit, rich and good looking. Social skills are a rare commodity in football, so they are something our board should aspire to have in a new manager.”

That moves me to my point. The two supposed lead candidates for the role at Arsenal are Luis Enrique and Mikael Arteta. The exBarcelona coach famously offered to resign because he couldn’t get on with Leo Messi, there were also lots of reports that he never really bonded with the players. Then there’s Mikael, who some rave about, but quite a few people in the ranks at Arsenal do not speak of him in favourable terms. Apparently, he’s not a galvanising force, he’s outspoken, he lacks humility on quite a grand scale, can be immensely difficult and he’s seen as one of Ivan’s boys.

At a club that suffers divisions in the dressing room, do we not think the club should be considering someone a bit longer in the tooth? A little more mature? Or someone who has a less controversial reputation amongst players and staff? Or someone known in the game for having a world-class approach to culture?

Or, do we see the genius? He’s turning ok players into world-class operators. He’s captivated the City players, Pep G loves him, and City are winning.

The club might want a change of pace. Maybe we want to hire a ruthless manager to bring discipline and focus to the squad. Maybe a bit of ‘telling it like it is’ is what’s needed in a team that’s lacked direction and leadership over the last ten years.

If he has a streak in him, is that just par the course of absolute excellence? Is elite sport not a place for the nice guys?

Well, there are managers like Jurgen Klopp who operate on the other side of the fence. A man who leads through passion and love for his players. He’ll go to war for all his boys, and they die out on the pitch for him. He brings the fans together, the players and everyone loves him. I think Diego Simeone is another manager who has that sort of reputation for bringing players together, he operates a siege mentality and not many push to leave his nest despite massive riches on offer elsewhere. One of the most successful managers in the world, Carlo Ancelotti, is one of the nicest guys in the game. Players love him, a people’s man, and an absolute winner.

There are two sides to the argument, the question is, right now, what do Arsenal need with limited funds and a squad that sits out of the Champions League?

Matt Law is reporting that Arsenal are not in for Allegri and Sarri, weirdly because they won’t bring the stay away fans back to the club. Seems like an odd thing to say about a two managers that are best in class for sexy football, and tactically unreal football, battling it out in the most interesting Serie A in years.

Interestingly, he’s the first journo to talk about Leonardo Jardim, who should be the frontrunner for the Arsenal job. Interestingly, Marcelo Gallardo who is managing Club Atlético River Plate at the moment, is being linked with the Monaco job. Could Jardim be a backdoor signing? Or could Juve, PSG or Chelsea be up to some back door planning?

Anyway, point of this post is there are so many layers to this hire, and so many people to consider. The health of a football club goes beyond the 11 people that line up on the pitch. If the focal point of the club isn’t a brand fit, it can be horrendous.

The big question for Ivan is this: Who does he want Arsenal to be in a post-Wenger era?

We’ll find out in due course.

Right, see you in the comments.

478 Responses to “Social competence challenges for two heavily linked names”

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  1. Ekpang Bisong

    Hope We don’t get the new manager as we get new players? Wait till the very last minute. With Wenger gone this approach has to stop or will begin to think it wasn’t all about him

  2. champagne charlie


    I think the names are getting dragged through the press to gauge fan response, would be surprised if the Allegri’s of the world aren’t genuinely being considered. A lot of the supposed ITK’s calm Allegri is our top pick.

    That being said, totally agree with the social captivation that has become a large part of successful management modern day. You can’t be a a clued up tactician without the ability to communicate with players, fans, and the media. Maureen displays the fragility of that better than anyone as you note.

  3. OleGunner

    Insane we are not going all out for Allegri.
    He’d be a great fit for us. Still holding out hope we appoint him.

  4. Leedsgunner

    If the only criticism of Luis Enrique is that he couldn’t “bond” with players but he had everything else… (ie. tactics, ambition, man management etc) I believe he should be worth a shout.

    One of Wenger’s greatest faults was that he went to the other extreme and bonded with his favourites too much.

    He was myopic in the extreme and stood by his players so much they knew they were above any accountability or real performance. Complacency at Arsenal has ruled the day for far too long.

  5. Peckobill

    Hope that’s just just a rumour that there’s not even an interest in Allegri and Sarri , it would be criminal to not even talk to them . Oh and surely while he’s at the club on Thursday anyway you don’t pass up the chance to have a little word and gauge a certain mr Simeone. He ticks a hell of a lot boxes for arsenal . Consistently competes against two far wealthier superpowers, can sort out a defence and a system , if anyone can fire up some tenacity in our wet lettuces of players then he’s the man , no more high score embarrassing thrashing’s by the big teams and he’ll ruffle the feathers of the top managers . Let’s see Maureen try to get under his skin . Not all perfect because of his style of play ( although never once heard a free spirit like greizmann ever complaining , seems to love playing under him ) but because of we are right now and what this team needs in this moment he could just be exactly what we need

  6. Buckhurst Gun

    Think it was Balague who said Enrique doesn’t care what you think or what anyone else thinks he will do whatever he wants – not sure our squad of babies would react well to that at all , also it’s being reported he wants close to 15 mill a year , it’s not looking like he’s a very good fit – aside from pep I just can’t get on board with previous Barca managers , It’s almost like a kind of false managerial success , like managing Celtic , you’re going to win some stuff – granted , Barca they win the CL but still …..

    I’m just loving everything about Nagelsmann , the fact he developed under Tuchel , I think he saw his social flaws and realised how valuable that side of management was – he sure is showing it now

  7. HighburyLegend

    “Insane we are not going all out for Allegri.”

    More than anything, I will burn a candle and pray we will avoid Arteta…

  8. Black Hei

    I think it will be Arteta or another young ambitious manager. Someone who will not complain about a 50m budget.

    Can’t think any big name manager will find the kind of restriction enthusiatic. Which is why I think no Allegri.

    Enirque is a possibility because he is basically a free transfer.

  9. Leedsgunner

    “I’m just loving everything about Nagelsmann , the fact he developed under Tuchel , I think he saw his social flaws and realised how valuable that side of management was – he sure is showing it now”

    This is a very good point. Most people, because it’s easy and the path of least resistance just copy what successful people do.

    A key character trait of innovators is that they take good existing ideas, analyse and neutralise the weaknesses and add their own spin to it creating something even better.

    In the case of Wenger, this is a great irony. When he arrived on the scene at Arsenal he was a textbook innovator. Twenty two years later, he leaves because he has failed to adapt… and believing himself above common errors.

  10. Leedsgunner

    I think the push for Arteta is the hope that having sat with Pep he has learnt under him and and will iron out Pep’s weaknesses… and be an innovator in his own right.

    Whereas as I could see the merit of this argument if Pep had been there say 5 or 10 years… he’s barely getting started at Man City. It’s far too early for Arteta to have learnt Pep’s strengths, never mind weaknesses.

  11. Pjay

    Arsenal needs a manager who will not compromise on our attacking philosophy but will seriously sort out our defense which has been a huge shambles under Wenger for over the past decade..

    Enrique fits the bill…he has Barca DNA/aka attractive and attacking football, has won important trophies including the Champions league and has done it on the big stage…

    He will then have my backing 100% if he will sort out the defence

  12. gambon

    The problem is, most of the time you can only be innovative once.

    Wenger is a great example. Everything he brought to the PL back in 1996 is now mainstream, and he’s been long overtaken.

    You can see the effect clearly in non physical games like Poker & Chess, where the best players & innovators from years ago are absolutely miles behind today.

    The next innovation in football, IMO, will be based around scouting and computer science.

    With transfer fees going crazy (£140m for COutinho), there is huge scope for a club that can gain an advantage in finding future world class players.

  13. Bamford10

    Jardim would be great. As would, I think, Nagelsmann. We want someone, IMO, who is very sharp tactically but who also is flexible and not necessarily wedded to any one system or approach. We want someone, also, who has experience but who feels he has something to prove, as we want someone who is highly motivated and sees Arsenal as a platform for achieving something great (and Arsenal is very much a good platform for achieving something great). We do not want a “checkbook manager”; we do not want some self-satisfied type; and we definitely don’t want someone who will alienate players or fans.

  14. gambon


    Im not so sure that Arteta isnt technically ready.

    He wouldnt be my first choice, as I think it takes on the job experience to really understand the more difficult parts of management.

    However, working 6 days a week with Pep for 2 years, will undoubtedly mean Arteta understands how to train a team, improve players and set out the 11 men on the pitch.

    My worry is that he has, as of yet, had absolutely no experience of buying players, making important substitutions, judging when the team need a complete bollocking at half time vs when they need an arm round the shoulder.

    No amount of shadowing Pep will give him that.

  15. TR7

    ‘ITKs’ on Twitter believe an agreement with Allegri has already been reached. Arteta and Enrique rumors are merely smokescreens.

  16. gambon

    A lot of talk on Twitter that Allegri isnt considered because the club want to “win back the fans”

    Surely this cant be right.

    Of all the potential managers out there, Allegri seems to be the only one that people just cannot dismiss.

    He is the only one that no fan could conceivably have an issue with.

  17. Rambo Ramsey

    So Liverpool going to the finals. A stroll in the park for Madrid then. Ridiculous achievement by Zidane, I cannot believe his position is under threat.

  18. Marko

    ‘ITKs’ on Twitter believe an agreement with Allegri has already been reached. Arteta and Enrique rumors are merely smokescreens.

    Would be a sound excellent appointment Jardim will always be my first choice but I’ll be honest I’ve a feeling it’s gonna be Rangnick.

  19. Bamford10

    It may sound like an obvious point, but I think it’s important to acknowledge just how brilliant a job Jurgen Klopp has done at Liverpool. The football they are playing is fantastic.

    And in a sense, he has innovated. Not in the sense that they are playing a style of football — a quick-passing, overlapping, attacking 4-3-3 — that no one has ever seen before, but in the sense that it is a different approach from what most other top teams are doing at the moment and no one seems able to stop it, even teams that feature better players (see Manchester City).

    Another way in which he has “innovated” in a sense is that this Liverpool team is not playing the way his Dortmund teams played, at least not to my eyes. With his Dortmund sides, which featured a more static, target-type CF in Lewandowski, his approach was more 4-5-1 than 4-3-3, and they achieved penetration through overlapping outside backs for the most part. I used to marvel at how their pattern of late overlapping fullback runs in the final third would open teams up, over and over and over again.

    But what he is doing at Liverpool is different, I think. Because he has three highly mobile forwards, he is deploying a system in which those three make interchanging diagonal runs in behind and in combination with one another and most of their penetration is achieved by these three forwards, not by overlapping fullbacks. It’s also made possible by lots of quick vertical passing, rather than the slow horizontal possession build of a Guardiola or a (gulp) Wenger.

    Regardless of any of the above, those who were skeptical of Klopp or who said he was no better than Wenger or that he was a “Wenger 2.0” were quite wrong, I think. He is clearly an excellent manager, he has Liverpool playing brilliant football, and Liverpool fans have much to be happy about.

    Finally, I’d also like to point out that while Liverpool have made a couple of “big” signings here or there, their XI is not composed of £50m players. Last night’s XI included the likes of James Milner, Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson and Jordan Henderson. And while their star players (Sarah, Firmino, Mane) cost money, none cost more than £37m. One of the more common assumptions here is that you can only build a top side through big signings. However this is not true, and it’s also not feasible for Arsenal Football Club. Yes, you do need to spend some money. No question. And you may need to spend £50m or £60m on a single player. However, other pieces of your XI could be £10m players, or youth players — provided they are guided by an excellent manager.

  20. Bamford10

    Allegri would be great. Romford said yesterday that he doesn’t like his overly-defensive approach, but I don’t see how anyone could complain about a manager whose teams are so well-organized, disciplined and successful, and who play entertaining, attacking football when they do go forward. It’s not like his teams play anti-football.

  21. Rambo Ramsey

    Arsene Wenger has had such a lax approach to defense over the years. So a defense first manager would actually get me really excited, I’ll be able to appreciate the arts of discipline and solidity just as much as others may appreciate sexy football.

  22. Peter12

    Allegri or Nagelsmann, these two seem to be head and shoulders above (although, to very different character and skills). No, no no, to Enrique as NOBODY, NO MANAGER IS WORTH PAYING £15m A YEAR, he has nothing apart from his main interest being himself (there is another word for that). Likewise Arteta, too sure of his importantance – with no valid justification. Avoid the last two like the plague. As you said neither Allegri nor Nagellsmann would be objected by the fans; even though the latter is less experienced, he would be my choice if Allegri wants to bring about 50 ‘hangers-on’ with him. We don’t need an army of supporting hangers-on. Passion above posturing. This is my opinion.

  23. Leedsgunner

    You’ll excite people with an exciting attack but you will win trophies and titles with a solid defence.

  24. Pierre

    Bamford….agree ,the Liverpool forward line were dynamic ….it worked because they had a solid base of , Henderson Milner and Wijnaldon…

    I think you forgot the 75 million for van dyke

  25. Marko

    Yeah I could give zero fucks about any hang ups about the new manager being defensive minded or defensively aware. Bets the fuck out of conceding embarrassing goals all the time

  26. Rambo Ramsey

    How much of Liverpool’s success is down to riding the wave of crest of one man’s extraordinary form?

    What Salah has done this season is Ronaldo/Messi lite or just a level below, not even Suarez was this good in his own exceptional season for Liverpool.

  27. HighburyLegend

    “You’ll excite people with an exciting attack but you will win trophies and titles with a solid defence.”


  28. Leedsgunner

    It might be just me, but I would gladly live through weeks and weeks of 1-0 to the Arsenal if it meant we were winning the best trophies year after year.

    Toward the end of his reign, Wenger tried to justify his existence by saying he provided “exciting football” but this season, he couldn’t do that.

    Three points on the Board, and the name of ARSENAL FC engraved on the trophy at the end of season is what it is all about.

  29. Pierre

    You can see that Liverpool are similar to Spurs in that they stutter whenever they get near the finishing line…the last ten minutes last night highlighted that.

    Years of failure in semi finals and finals and in the league takes its toil .

    Arsenal were in a similar position until we got over the line in the hull FA cup final ,after that the pressure is off and it becomes easier to win trophies .

    If Spurs and Liverpool don’t break their run of failing in big games soon they will be back to square one and have to rebuild and start again .

  30. Biggles

    Let’s not forget that Alan Pardew is available!

    I saw that Chiellini is out of contract in the summer. Wonder if Allegri could bring him… got to be a slight improvement on Mustafi.

  31. Bamford10


    No, I acknowledged that they have made a “big” signing or two: “while Liverpool have made a couple of big signings here or there,” I said.

    But one must admit that a decent portion of their XI are not big names or big signings at all. I mean, look at the “solid” midfield you just pointed to: Henderson, Milner and Winaldjum. These are not 50m players — indeed nearly all of them have been mocked or criticized in these pages.

    Again, my point is not that you can win without doing some spending. Of course you need to spend here or there. But the notion that your entire XI must be composed of 50m players is simply not true, nor is it feasible for Arsenal.

  32. Bamford10

    Listen, I also think Madrid are very good, but they looked very beatable against Juventus, they need to get past Bayern first, and some of you, IMO, are under-estimating how difficult this Liverpool team is to defend, and also how hard-working and solid they are. Let’s see how Madrid do against Bayern; one step at a time, after all.

  33. uda

    Madrid have been turned over in the league many times by hard pressing, fast attacking teams in la liga this season. I can see Liverpool beating them. The matchup against Bayern would probably favor them less though

  34. Marko

    Years of failure in semi finals and finals and in the league takes its toil .

    I mean years of not getting to semi-finals or finals maybe Liverpool’s record in Europe when they’ve gotten there is decent. They’ve won it 5 times. I don’t think Klopp has to win it or else. He’s only there what 3 seasons he’s doing a good job

  35. Romford Pele

    Bamford, would definitely take Allegri! Whatever choice we make I’ll get behind. I was just stating my preferences yesterday.

    My only slight concern with Allegri is will his teams score enough goals to keep up with a Pep side? Man City’s goal difference is +72. Their defence is also so good because of the way they are so well organised.

  36. Romford Pele

    Klopp’s lost 5 finals in a row (two in his first season at Liverpool). Psychologically that’s playing a part. I’d still make the other two favourites over them.

  37. Pierre

    Arsenals best sides over the last 50 (invincibles are the exception) have been mixed with players that have come through the ranks and astute signings.

    70/71……Charlie George, pat rice ,Kennedy ,Eddie Kelly

    Late 70’s…. Brady , Stapleton, O’leary

    89/91….rocky, Thomas Adams, Davis, Merson

    98…….Adams , parlour,keown

    92……Cole,parlour,Adams ,keown

    Obviously they must be top quality to bring them through the ranks ..we will discover if players like AMN,Nelson,Willock and nketiah are good enough to become regulars..

  38. Pierre

    I was talking about Liverpool and Spurs recent history …..the 70’s and 80′ s have no relevance to their recent failures …..and yes klopp is doing a very good job but ,as I said, the hardest part is winning the first troph after years of failure.

  39. champagne charlie

    “But one must admit that a decent portion of their XI are not big names or big signings at all. I mean, look at the “solid” midfield you just pointed to: Henderson, Milner and Winaldjum.”

    Define big signings, because Henderson cost 20mil in 2011, Wijnaldum cost 25mil, and Milner takes home 120k arriving on a bosman. Wijnaldum also isn’t a starter and only came on for 40mil Ox.

    Meanwhile Arsenals CM options are Xhaka for 34mil, Elneny for 5mil, Ramsey 5mil, Jack academy, Cazorla 15mil.

    Wouldn’t say Liverpool are uncovering gems, or spending shrewdly to compete exactly. Salah has carried them for the majority of this season, and that’s been a surprise to Liverpool as much as anyone. What Klopp is doing is bringing in players to suit a vision, the quality of his signings though can definitely be questioned.

  40. Danish Gooner

    First and foremost this ridicilous socialist wage structure must die with wenger leaving,there simply put is no reason why players like wilshire etc should earn 100 grand a week without actually being any good and the Abou Diaby situation must never repeat itself,65 grand a week for years with no output whatsoever,really liked Abou and he was probably the closest to a Vieira replacement we ever came but Dan Carter destroyed that.

  41. S Asoa

    Arteta ! ! !
    Could it be that the stench of death off Wenger still around with a hope his “ shit values” are not compromised and Le Fraud not exposed without his underpants .

  42. Emiratesstroller


    A Manager/Head Coach has a brief when taking on the appointment to communicate with media and also conduct press interviews after games.

    It is highly unlikely that whoever is appointed Manager/Head Coach at Arsenal will breach that policy.

    I am sure that the Club will also consider carefully the bedside manner of any
    member of staff when making recruitment decisions. Arsenal have always treated all staff as members of the family and that includes its players.

    They are not going to employ anyone that they consider is potentially toxic or
    destabilising influence.

    However, I do think that the next manager/head coach needs also to be a disciplinarian. That has been clearly a failing of Wenger particularly in recent times.

  43. Emiratesstroller


    Regarding your reply on previous thread that Martial should be recruited.

    As I wrote Arsenal have a limited budget and more importantly the left wing
    is just one of a considerable number of weaknesses in current team.

    At the moment my priorities in order would be 1] goalkeeper 2] centre back
    3] central midfield and 4] left or right wing.

    We have seen that Arsenal can play Aubameyang on the flank as he did in
    last 12 minutes against West Ham. During that time he did not score, but he
    showed sufficient movement for the team to score three goals.

    We know also that Nelson is considered to be a player of considerable potential and likely to be promoted to the first team squad next season. I suspect
    that he will be offered increased playing time in first team.

    So for this reason I would not have thought that recruiting Martial or for that
    matter Lemar or Dembele even if available would be an immediate priority.

    If I have the choice of buying Oblak or a world class centre back as a priority
    over Martial that would be certainly my preference at present time.

  44. Leftsidesanch

    “I am convinced in the future, with two or three additions, we can fight for the title.”

    Bore off mate, luckily it’s not down to you anymore. We need a CB (arguably two), A GK and a DM at least. I’d even throw in a pacy winger for good measure.

  45. HighburyLegend

    “Allegri’s Juve play sexy football?”

    One : yes, it was pretty sexy during the second leg at Madrid this year.
    Two : trophies and prestige before sexy football, thanks a lot.

  46. Marko

    Timing wasn’t his decision either was leaving mate

    And yes who gives a shit about sexy football we haven’t seen it for years so what does it matter bring us discipline and stop the god awful defending

  47. China

    Nicely written article Pedro

    Is it bad that I’m excited for absolutely anyone?

    Yeah some names like Arteta really don’t strike me as the best option, but just the thought of not knowing what the fuck is going to happen next season before a ball has been kicked is FUCKING TANTALISING!

    Can you believe it guys? We actually don’t know what’s going to happen! We *might* be good!

    I’m getting moist just thinking about it!

  48. China

    Actually tell a lie, I’d love to see Zidane get sacked and walk in to the ems.

    Zidane, please. Thank you.

  49. Gunner2301


    I think you need to post that on Untold they really dont believe he was sacked. I notice how he mentions doing it for himself and the players nothing about the fans who have tolerated his bullshit for years. Good riddance.

  50. gambon

    Emirates Stroller

    Fair enough, but I disagree completely.

    Its not just our defence that needs strengthening, its also our attack.

    If we spend all summer trying to sort the defence, we will still be well short of a title challenge, as we arent strong enough going forward.

    City & Liverpool have 30-40 PL goals coming from the wide areas, we have Welbeck and Mykhitaryan contributing about 8 goals per season. That leaves us a massive mountain to climb before the season even begins.

    Also, playing one of the worlds best strikers, a 30 goal per season CF, on the left wing, would be absolutely ridiculous.

    We’ve waited 11 years to replace Thierry, then we stick his replacement out wide? No thanks.

  51. Doublethink

    “Allegri’s Juve play sexy football?”One : yes, it was pretty sexy during the second leg at Madrid this year.
    Two : trophies and prestige before sexy football, thanks a lot.

    1. 1 game which they lost on aggregate?
    2. I never claimed otherwise, I just don’t agree that Allegri is the best in class when it comes to sexy football.

  52. Leedsgunner

    “We’ve waited 11 years to replace Thierry, then we stick his replacement out wide? No thanks.”

    That was Wenger doing his usual management for beginners… where he just takes all his best players throws them in the mix together and says to them — “Express yourselves!!!”

    To think he was being paid £10m to do that is galling.

    It was also a power play by Wenger to the fans and the pundits out there — to demonstrate that he was the boss… to demonstrate that he was in his own mind, an unappreciated tactical genius.

    PS Nice, that was. Writing that… “was the boss.”

  53. HighburyLegend

    @Doublething : if you didn’t watch this awesome display from the Italians, then you really missed something.

  54. Leedsgunner

    Remember what Wenger told us year in and year out… that he had turned down the world’s best clubs to be with us.

    Maybe if it was 2006 I could believe that… not in 2018. Everton or Crystal Palace isn’t PSG or Real Madrid is it?

    I doubt he was go into management at the club level again. His pride and hubris won’t let him.

  55. HighburyLegend

    “His pride and hubris won’t let him.”

    And mostly, the owners of the top clubs won’t hire him as a coach.

  56. Leedsgunner

    Wenger is like a politician of a minority party… quick to make promises because he knows realistically he thought wouldn’t make good on them. Why — because he thought he was invincible.

    Until last Friday.

    No man is bigger than the club Arsene. Even you.

  57. salpardisenyc

    Nice stuff Mr. Wood, interesting situation were in at the moment.
    Nobody has an inside line as to what the clubs going to do in terms of replacing Wenger. Imagine AW will take on the director of football job w/ PSG and keep the money machine rolling.

    Watched the semi yesterday w/ good friend who grew up in Liverpool, he was like a frisky hippo crashing around buying everyone drinks. Klopp has them playing without fear, zero hand break. Although slightly clumsy at the end letting them back in with sliver of hope. Have to say I fancy Liverpool over 90 min against Madrid or Bayern, 180 minutes something else entirely.

  58. Pierre

    as a team , Arsenal have to find a way to counter attack ,especially away from home.we have become too possession orientated and it slows our play down.

    With Aubamayang up top it gives us that option of transferring from defence to attack in seconds with 2 or 3 passes and be in on goal .
    This in turn will create space for our midfield and other attackers as the opposition defence will have to drop deeper to alleviate the threat of aubamayang getting in behind. …

    When you look at some of the counter attacking goals of previous Arsenal sides with Bergkamp and Henry and also when fabregas and rvp/ ade were in the side you wonder why we don’t try and reproduce that type of football.

  59. salpardisenyc

    Oh back in the days when the Arsenal would play thru, around or punish with a blistering counter attack. Now were slower than honey, playing some form of possession based puffball.

  60. Take me back to highbury

    I’m a big no on Arteta. A terrible under whelming signing.

    Arsenal need a signing the gets the fans excited. The players excited.

    Arteta doesn’t do that at all.

    Allegri. Simeone. Jardin. Enrique.

    I want a Klopp like passion on the sidelines. I’m sick of seeing a sleeping bag on sidelines.

    Arteta was such an underwhelming player.

    He’s not ready for arsenal.


  61. Romford Pele

    Nothing wrong with possession-football when it’s with a purpose. City have averaged close to 70% this season and have been the most entertaining team and scored the most goals. They are also lethal on the counter when the opportunity arises, look at their game against Spurs recently. The problem for the top teams is that they don’t get the opportunity to counter much because teams just end up parking the bus against them so space in behind is limited. It’s only in the big games where teams are more adventurous against each other that we see these opportunities manifest themselves more.

  62. HighburyLegend

    “I want a Klopp like passion on the sidelines. I’m sick of seeing a sleeping bag on sidelines.”
    Couldn’t agree more.

  63. HighburyLegend

    Ian Wright : “That’s why I believe that if Arsenal do get the right man, we will see results on the pitch change very quickly, because if rumours are to be believed, they’re not training as hard as the likes of Liverpool or Man City, in respects to the coaching side.”

    lol you bet they’re not training as hard as the others…

  64. Take me back to highbury


    Pep once said that he hated the “tippi tappi” label.

    Said passing has to have a purpose. To open up spaces for someone To score a goal.

    Not just to have possession. Just pass pass pass backwards sideways. That was the Wenger way.

  65. salpardisenyc

    Enrique is a tricky one to gauge for me. Hard to measure a manager that helmed Barca in their pomp, if were honest he turned them into runners up in his last year in charge.

  66. Johnny Longstocking

    Hi Pedro,

    The piece of news that has got me most excited is the link to Ralf Rangnick (aka Ragnarok), the Godfather of Gegenpressing, architect of the RB model, mentor to Nagelsmann, Klopp and Hasenhüttl.

    Why is this? Because it would surely only be an interim solution as it was when he stepped back into the helm at RB Leipzig in the 2015/16 season, whilst they searched for a permanent solution.

    Ragnarok coming would herald the return of Arteta as an Assistant Manager, under his tutelage for a couple of seasons. Ragnorak would then step aside becoming the Technical Director, a role we have yet to fill, and promote Arteta to manager. You can feasibly swap Arteta in this scenario for Vieira.

    Imagine the pedigree of Arteta at that point, having studied under Wenger, Pep and Big Ralf. If you are serious about becoming a top class manager you could not pick a better apprenticeship program.

    Rangnick (+Arteta) ticks all of Ivan’s boxes- builds a team to a system, focuses on youth, works to a budget, plays attacking and entertaining football, and develops a club culture/philosophy.

    Alternatively, maybe the link is due to Ivan wanting to hire Rangnick simply as the Technical Director as he continues his catalyst for change program. This role was apparently previously earmarked for Wenger, but for obvious reasons this is not going to happen any time soon.

    In my darkest fantasies, there is a scenario where Rangick joins as TD and Nagelsmann as the manager. Can you imagine the upgrade to our tactical weaponry with those two on-board? Two of the most cutting edge thinkers in world football, bringing in the latest training techniques. Imagine seeing the Footbonaut or infamous Videowall (see link below) at London Colney?

    I had to change my pants writing this.

  67. Take me back to highbury

    Peps words

    “I loathe all that passing for the sake of it, all that tiki-taka. It’s so much rubbish and has no purpose. You have to pass the ball with a clear intention, with the aim of making it into the opposition’s goal. It’s not about passing for the sake of it.”

    The following day, he expands on this message in a meeting with his players.

    “Be yourselves. You need to dig into your own DNA. I hate tiki-taka. Tiki-taka means passing the ball for the sake of it, with no clear intention. And it’s pointless.

    “Don’t believe what people say. Barça didn’t do tiki-taka! It’s completely made up! Don’t believe a word of it! In all team sports, the secret is to overload one side of the pitch so that the opponent must tilt its own defence to cope. You overload on one side and draw them in so that they leave the other side weak.

    “And when we’ve done all that, we attack and score from the other side. That’s why you have to pass the ball, but only if you’re doing it with a clear intention. It’s only to overload the opponent, to draw them in and then to hit them with the sucker punch. That’s what our game needs to be. Nothing to do with tiki-taka.”

    Complete opposite of boring Wenger ball

  68. salpardisenyc

    Meant to add: doesnt change fact he opened with a Treble and followed that doing a domestic double. Lot of egos in that dressing room.

  69. Romford Pele

    TMBTH, Agreed mate. City are passing with a purpose and you can see that in how dominant they’ve been this season. The challenge for everyone is to close that gap because they are on course for a 100 points which is a joke tbh.

  70. gambon

    We wont be challenging for anything without at least 4 good players.

    You just have to hope that there is a coherent plan moving forward.

    Our future ability to challenge is based on 2 things. The quality of manager and the quality of transfer market business we do.

    We cant afford such poor decision making again as we had with Xhaka, Mustafi, Perez and Lacazette for £135m.

  71. HighburyLegend

    They have made us wait for 10 years before getting rid of wenger, they can’t give us Arteta!! lol

  72. Pierre

    Take me back to Highbury ( where Wenger won 3 titles in 7 years)

    No point in mentioning Wenger anymore , I don’t know if you have heard but he’s leaving so it’s time for you to move on…

  73. gambon

    ” ( where Wenger won 3 titles in 7 years)”

    Must have missed the part where we left Highbury in 2003….

  74. Romford Pele

    “You just have to hope that there is a coherent plan moving forward.”

    And tht’s what I was saying yesterday. A manager with an ideology and plan that you can get behind. I’d say there’s probably another 20% a new manager could get from this squad by just getting them organised and disciplined. After that you fill in the personnel in the right positions to take us up a notch (GK, CBx2, LB, DM, CM, wide player).

    That’s probably 2 windows worth of work there but you can probably get half of that done this summer by trimming the wage bill and selling well. Time for Raul to earn his coin.

  75. salpardisenyc

    I remember it differently, Henry scoring a hat trick on 2006 to close out our time in Highbury…. Wigan?

  76. seniorgooner

    The most important thing now is is that ALL the behind the scenes clique at London Colney are cleared out . We need complete new training staff and new techniques as well as a new manager. There must be a clear out of redundant playing staff . fifty million pounds transfer chest is not enough.

  77. Take me back to highbury


    Where our greatest managers Chapman , Whitaker , Allison, Mee and GG did their thing and made Arsenal the club we love!

  78. Romford Pele

    I quite like Lacazette. Like many, I was quite shocked that he wasn’t as quick as I initially thought. He’s definitely put on weight since Lyon last season though, that’s noticeable.

    He’s a very intelligent striker though. In and around the box he shoots well with little to no backlift. He tends to score a lot of late goals as well when defenders tire, which makes you wonder why Wenger always subbed him off so early in games. Aubameyang is probably more dangerous due to his pace but he’s 29 and who knows how long that’ll last. Lacazette is 26 so we definitely shouldn’t be getting rid of a striker entering his prime years IMO. Will be interesting to see how the new manager handles him and Auba because they do look like they could strike up a decent partnership.

  79. Take me back to highbury


    It’s the same Pierre who keeps saying we won 3 fa cups in 4 years.

    Not the truth that we won 3 fa cups in 14 years which is a diablocal record for a supposed great wonderful innovating manager

  80. TR7

    It’s unrealistic to expect a title challenge next season. People need to realize we have a very average midfield and defense. It will take at least 2 transfer windows to strengthen these areas. Not to mention the sheer quality of City, Liverpool and Tottenham.

  81. Romford Pele

    Sal, hope you’re well my man.

    I don’t really mind who comes in tbh, I’ll get behind them. Anything new is a breath of fresh air after years of Wenger.

    From a personal perspective, Sarri and Tuchel (?) are my favourites because of their style and strong positional play. A lot of our players are suited to their management types and due to the fact we don’t have a lot of money due to our wage bill and lack of CL, it makes a lot of sense. I’m not opposed to the likes of Allegri/Jardim/Nagelsmann though. But I would definitely like if its young and dynamic.

    I was trying to explain the logic behind the Arteta rumours yesterday but it definitely didn’t go down well! He wouldn’t be my first choice for sure, but I can see why he’s in the running.

  82. jasongms

    We really need to take a look at the forwards, we have Ozil, Mikki and Ramsey that all want to occupy the 10 role, Iwobi who is more of a number 10 or an attacking mid and not a natural winger (really shouldn’t anywhere near the first team). Then there’s the problem of having two quality strikers in the team that are natural number 9’s.

    Ideally, you’d like to keep both Lacazette and Aubameyang and rotate them accordingly. But if we need to generate funds, out of the two I’d probably sell Lacazette.
    We should try and offload one of Ozil, Mikki or Ramsey, bring in someone of the ilk of a Douglas Costa as the player to give us that natural width. If Martial comes available I wouldn’t hesitate to bring him in and or even revisit bringing in Draxler.

    In any case, the team needs a major overhaul, having Xhaka and Elneny as our holding mids isn’t going to win us anything either. So definitely need CDM and a CM.
    Sell either Xhaka or Elneny and release Jack

    Sell Mustafi and Chambers and keep Holding, not sure what’s going on with Kos and his injury problems. I’d give Kolasinac another season under a new manager. Probably need two new defenders if not three.

    As for the goalkeepers, I think we should just stick for now.

    Massive job for the new manager, thanks Arsene…

  83. Sir Chips

    Luis Enrique has got some front asking for £15m a year. Yes OK, he won a champions league, but he had arguably the greatest front 3 of all time. Winning the CL was probably par for the course for that side. He also failed at Roma when he didn’t have superstars across his starting 11. Additionally, his job at Barca was tinkering with an already winning formula. Arsenal at the moment is a complete rebuild. Totally different objectives.

  84. Pierre


    The front 4 of mhkitarean ,ozil ,aubamayang and lacazette have a lot going for them though I think they could be lacking in strength when the going gets tough ..maybe that’s where welbeck comes into the equation ..

    15 goals for lacazette is a decent return so far considering, as you say , that he was always hooked off with 20 odd minutes left ..he proved at the weekend that that policy was wrong as he is capable of utilising the extra space in the last quarter….will be interesting how a new manager sees it …if he can fit all 4 into the side or will he rotate..

  85. Romford Pele

    “Luis Enrique has got some front asking for £15m a year.”

    Yeah he needs to relax. Wouldn’t even be in my top 5 for candidates.

  86. Hunter

    With a complete overhaul of our squad required and a so called limited budget of £50 million there is no way Allegri,Jardim or the Spanish bloke would take the job unless they were guaranteed a 5 year experimental period.They would be mad to take on the position if the club expected,minimum this and minimum that.its going to take time and a lot of patience to get this right especially from the fans.
    One thing is for sure it’s going to be a new beginning and one hell of a roller coaster ride!

  87. Romford Pele

    Pierre – Generally speaking I’m not a fan of two striker formations because of how susceptible it can leave you in the midfield. We don’t have the strong type of CMs to play a 442 right now and I’m not even sure I’d wanna see that long-term because a top club playing 3 in midfield will work their way round that. We could go wingerless in a 4312/442 diamond – and considering we lack any natural wide players, it could well work but generally I hope the next manager we get plays 433 which is why I’m pro Sarri/Tuchel and pushes the focus to wide forwards (which we’d need two and play Reiss Nelson more).

    Lacazette has been ok considering what you said and the fact he missed 2 months with injury. I think his lack of athleticism will stop him ever being WC but he could do very well for us.

  88. gambon

    As jason said, I cant see any rational manager wanting Ozil, Mykhitaryan, Ramsey and Iwobi all in the squad.

    4 players who want to be in the same position.

    Firstly, we have dead wood that we will want to shift:

    Ospina, Martinez, Jenkinson, one of Holding or Chambers, Perez, Campbell, Akpom and some sub-standard kids.

    After that, I guess it depends who we sign.

  89. HighburyLegend

    Recently TH14 was talking about moving to the Emirates, and how it has affected the team, and most often not in the best way…

    Reminds me of the great Ajax, which has falling apart in their new stadium, and everything had to be rebuild.

  90. gambon

    If we go 4-3-3 we probably have to sell Ozil.

    Which i’m all for by the way.

    I think his new contract, if its really at £350k pw, is an absolute joke.

  91. Romford Pele

    I’m not sure if Iwobi will last under a new manager. Mkhi can play wide and did under Tuchel so that’s not the biggest issue. Ramsey is interesting because he’s just become the highest goalscoring CM in our history (58 goals). I think in a midfield three with a destroyer and a technical CM by him, he could really thrive with the freedom so it’ll be interesting to see what happens. You could also get £50m for him in this market because of his age and nationality too. Inkling is that he may go. He’s always said he wanted to try his hand abroad.

  92. Romford Pele

    I’d love to see how a new manager would use Ozil. Like many of our players, he’s not been utilised to full effect. Most of the season he’s played right either in a 343 and now 433. He was used CM a fair few times as well.

    When you see the transition with the likes of Silva etc, I’d be interested to see what could happen with a manager that prioritises positional play.

  93. Gunner2301

    More Delusion from Untold Arsenal

    “With Arsenal we will of course see, and now the first suggestions are being made by the media as to just how much money the new manager will have to spend. That figure seems to be coming in at around £50m for the summer – although if there are a few successful sales that might be bolstered a little.

    The problem with the sales of course is that much of the squad has been so denigrated by the Anti-Arsene movement that their value has declined along with their self-belief which makes major money sales less likely. True Liverpool paid £35m for the Ox, but there aren’t many more who Arsenal will willingly let go whose value is now that high. The years of ceaseless bitching have done their job.”

    LMAO. So were responsible for the devaluing of players not that they were bad buys or were badly coached or enjoying life too much in the creche.

  94. HighburyLegend

    “Which i’m all for by the way.”

    In all honesty sir, you have no heart.
    Have you an idea of the state of shock Mesut is in, after his master has announced his departure ??

  95. Wenker-wanger

    Not Enrique ffs….overpaid prima Donna that probably continues in the tippy happy style. Give me strong direct attacking play,….yeah have to admit, Liverpool look superb.

  96. gambon

    This transfer window could be interesting in terms of the number of good players available on free transfers.

    If you can find a good freebie, then sell a current squad player to release funds, we could push our budget much higher.

    For example sell Mustafi and sign De Vrij for free would give us £20-25m extra while improving the squad.

    Lukas Hradecky, De Vrij, Kwadwo Asamoah, Emre Can, Max Meyer, Oghuzan Ozyakup all available for free.

    Jonny Evans available for £3m. Theres also some quality in teams that may get relegated, such as Shaqiri and Lemina.

  97. Wenker-wanger

    Untold were offering black armbands for their following wanker-ites.
    They also issued a statement pledging their continued support for their idol wherever he goes to manage.

  98. salpardisenyc


    The Arteta rumors make a bit of sense to me as well, far from ideal which was the ready made Pep coming from Bayern but we missed boat on that with our indulgence of Wenger. Many other interesting options out there, notably Jardim, Sarri and the very young Nagelsman whose 30 FFS. Allegri such a sea change to Wenger would be surreal being that organized. Not as surreal as Simeone hiring but still pretty surreal.

  99. seniorgooner

    Gambon Ospina Campbell and company are worth very llittle are at the end of their contracts to get money we need to sell Ramsey Mustafi and even Belerin if our new backroom transfer expert has got good replacements for them

  100. jasongms

    wouldn’t go anywhere near Meyer or Oghuzan Ozyakup. We need to be building a title challenging squad, not continue the Wenger project. But yeah I get what you’re alluding too, smart acquisitions not necessarily expensive ones.

  101. gambon


    I dont mean any f these freebies as firxt XI players, but squad players.

    For example, imagine signing Jonny Evans for £3m, and selling Chambers for £22m (which is what Palace bid for him last summer)

    So thats a £19m profit, while also upgrading the squad (Im not a big evans fan, but hes better than Chambers)

  102. gambon

    I can definitely see us going after Christian Pulisic this summer.

    I think our business in the next 2-3 years will focus on young, but already established players.

    Sven signed Pulisic originally, he will appeal to our US owners, will be good for Commercials, and we seriously need a wide player that can take players on one to one.

  103. jasongms

    If we could sell and recoup the money spent on Mustafi and Xahka and then replace them, that would be ideal. Even Lacazette could be sold, having him and Aubameyang is a luxury that we just can’t afford.

    That’s well over 100mil just there.

  104. jasongms


    Having Mkhi, Ozil and Ramsey all operating in the same team, pretty much means we’ll be watching Wenger ball again next season regardless of the manager. For me, it’s either Mkhi or Ozil and Ramsey, or even just one of.

    I’d be happy to sell Ozil, but like you said, I’d also like to see what a real’ manager could do with his talent.

  105. MW

    Good to hear Ozil’s recovered from his umpteenth “illness” and is ready for Thursday. Worst immune system in the PL. Looking forward to this squad getting shaken up. Ian Wright said on some podcast recently essentially players rock up to training whenever they feel like it.

  106. azed


    With a proper manager, we are not far from Liverpool. Our defenders are clearly more talented than Burnley (4th best), they are just properly drilled. Getting a manager like Allegri or Simeone means our defence would be better by at least 50% without any spending.

    We already have a striker in Aubermayang so we need to invest in proper wide players and we can challenge for a top 4.

  107. salpardisenyc

    But I could see us selling – one of Welbeck or Iwobi, Ramsay, Mustafi, Opsina w/ Wilshire not being renewed. Add that to the reported £50m and still not a whole lot of dosh in this market. Europa league win needed.

    Front three of Martial, Lacazette and PEA would be pretty sexy. Now we just need a baller manager to come in and get Verratti for the mid, shore up the defense along with adding a keeper.