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. Victorious

    “Would genuinely prefer Brenda Rogers over Enrique.”

    lol this surely tops your ‘Welbeck is an exceptional player’ in rating your pearlers on here

    Enrique is far and away the better manager,i’m genuinely taken back to some posters take on Enrique,he was behind the famous MSN attack that wow the football world.

  2. Dissenter

    Wenger Eagle
    The days of cheap findings from Italy are over because Serie A is back again.
    Chelsea discovered that with trying to sign Sandro last summer. The Salah sale was to fulfill FFT rules, he had to go by a certain day and besides he was in the last year of his contract.

    Serie A now has four CL qualifiers permanently allocated like any of the other top three teams.

  3. Elmo

    Anyway, I’m quite excited about tonight. Now that we know Big Weng is going, can actually enjoy this European semi as arguably our most meaningful knock-out match in a decade, even if it is the European Losers’ Cup. Winning a European trophy brings some prestige to the club, and the CL qualification will be a big boost to the new regime.

    Hope the team can show something and it’s not another embarrassment at the high stakes table. No reason for there not to be a good atmosphere at the stadium and full backing of the team.

  4. WengerEagle


    Certainly true of the top 5 European leagues.

    It’s getting to the stage where people will have to look at places like Austria, Belgium, Switzerland to find these kind of gems before they blow up.

    Look at RB Salzburg for example, they’ve stunned everyone in the EL this season and are full of goals and inventive football.

    Leon Bailey (Belgium), Mo Salah (Switzerland), Sadio Mane (Austria), Ivan Perisic (Belgium) are only a few of the players that made their name in these countries.

  5. Paulinho

    Victorious – Wow, what a genius. Must have taken him a long time to identify those players, and have the foresight to see that they would be good together.

    He was shit at Roma, and that is better platform to judge his abilities than managing Barcelona. It’s like trying to give a leg-up to Apollo 11 and taking credit for it launching.

  6. Guns of Hackney

    Enrique had to take a sabbatical after a couple of seasons…maybe he doesn’t have the stomach for a prem season dealing with Wengers bullshit.

  7. mysticleaves

    Sorry I am replying late, like anyone cares lol.

    “Don’t rate any of the Arda Turan, Aleix Vidal (he’s absolutely dire, amazing how he has not been binned), Alcacer, Andre Gomes (lol he’s pathetic), Cillessen, Digne, Mathieu, etc.

    At the times these transfers were made each one of them would have improved our first 11. Make no mistake we aren’t Barca and their situation is way different from ours. Their first team is riddled with world class players. It’s harder buying those players knowing that the players they are supposed to replace are still at their peak. How does Gomes improve Barca more than Iniesta has? Alcacer would have thrived in another team because he had a good record before he came but he solely came as back up. Digne would be in our team but can never bench their LB. Arda pisses over our CMs but can’t play for Barca. It’s not exactly the same situation.

    Any significant signings made by us now will improve us. Even Andre Gomes.

    Ishola, Nagelsman is young, untested and would be more underwhelming than hiring even Arteta. He has no pedigree whatsoever and you wonder who he could pull in the TF. Virtually every team with a modern manager presses and has a system now so we won’t lack that with the new coach.

    Messi was put back on the wing permanently by Enrique after he got Tata sacked because of it. When he protested and downed tools Enrique told the board to choose between him and Messi, he was not going take him back to the centre. I personally thought he would be sacked but he wasn’t and he went on to win the treble and Messi made a great season largely on the left.

  8. Champagne charlie

    Been told word is Allegri to Arsenal is quietly being agreed (nothing signed), no announcement or leaks about it because all parties involved want to avoid it being seen as a distraction to Juventus’ title run-in. Sunday’s result made the landscape more tense.

    The names doing the rounds have been leaked by Arsenal to the press, who they may/may not hold interest in, but it’s a red herring type affair currently.

    Dubious, but that would be welcome!

  9. WengerEagle


    The problem wasn’t that they couldn’t displace those players, it was the fact that the drop-off in quality was so steep from the first team because these players simply are not good enough to wear the Barca shirt.

    Andre Gomes is shite, not sure what player you have been watching. Same goes for Vidal and Digne.

    Alcacer is a good penalty box CF, in the right team I reckon he’s capable of 15-20 goals a season but he’s still not good enough.

    Turan doesn’t piss all over anyone, he did at Atleti perhaps.

  10. Ishola70

    Get outta here Mystic lol

    Nagelsmann a worse recruitment than Arteta.

    Nagelsmann has actually been managing a football team in one of the top european divisions and not only that getting plenty of plaudits for it.

    What has Arteta been doing in comparison? Being Pep’s puppy dog that’s what.

  11. Romford Pele

    Mystic – I think you have your wires twisted because Messi has never played on the left. It was Neymar there, Suarez in the centre and Messi from the right. Logistically that works so it’s not a big problem. Messi has played there loads before so it’s not a problem, it’s also where he broke through into the Barca team. Pep played him as a false 9 but Messi wasn’t wedded to it. And there’s no way in hell any board is ever picking Luis Enrique over Messi lol. There may have been tensions between the two but that’s normal in any team.

  12. Vintage Gun

    Wenger Eagle
    “I have to say that everything I see Roberto Firmino play for Liverpool, I just remember all th the good things you used to say about him 3 years before he came to England”

    I also remember W’ Eagle banging the Firmino drum also.
    Credit where it’s due

  13. Bamford10

    I like technical, talented, control-the-game midfielders as much as anyone, but if you look, for example, at what Klopp is doing at Liverpool at the moment, his central midfielders really aren’t that; they are really more like athletic role players and facilitators. Their principal job is to defend and then, when they do win the ball, find the feet of one of the front three players. They then make overlapping runs off of these players to help with the attack, but none of Milner, Winaldjum or Henderson are “great” central midfielders. They’re serviceable, athletic guys who work hard, can play simple passes and get forward.

    You could argue that Leicester City did something very similar (in central midfield) in their title-winning season. It’s not like any of their central midfielders were great technical creative types. They worked hard and helped get the ball to the feet of the front two.

    If you want to play a possession-style game, then yes, you need a talented, highly-technical central midfield. No question. But if your approach is going to be more vertical and more quick-attacking, there are other models that work. I personally think you have to be flexible, as you sometimes have to adapt your system or approach to the players you have available to you.

  14. Romford Pele

    Allegri is such a shift from 22 years of Wenger but it’d be a breath of fresh air to see us so organised!

  15. Ishola70

    Romford Pele
    “Allegri is such a shift from 22 years of Wenger but”

    Never mind the buts RP lol

    Such a shift from Wenger.

    Those thoughts are sweet music to many people’s ears.

  16. Pierre

    We won’t go far wrong with Allegri that’s fo sure…

    Back to the days of the George Graham era of an immaculately turned out classy manager( no fumbling around with zips for him) who knows how to organise and prepare a team but maybe with a little more flair than George (hopefully).

  17. Park Chu-young's left testicle

    Now that Wenger is on his way out I wonder what the position is on that Wilshere contract. If I were the club I would withdraw the offer. No point having a player on the books that the new manager might not play.

  18. Champagne charlie


    Not my words mate, guy I know at Arsenal does get close to the action but he has said it’s been so closed doors the week running up to the announcement by Wenger. Normally he’s sure about saying anything, but he’s been reduced to a bit of hearsay and stated the absolute truth is being kept very much at the top.

    Told me previous that whenever Josh Kroenke is in-house the place is on lockdown and the usual activity around the building is limited. Make of that what you will.

  19. mysticleaves

    Weagle my post said at the time those signings were made meaning Turan was signed off of Atletico. Even if he came now he would start in our middle. Ramsey bring a ball under control with one touch, Wilshire is dire, Xhaka will start because there’s no replacement for him and Mo is a sub at best. If Turan were to come to Arsenal now he would start. Gomes is so young and with what he did at Valencia you could discount his barca days as a spin off. Dembele might still go the same way at Barca. Maybe players found the surroundings too big and tough to adapt, it happens. When he signed for Barca he would have improved our team from the start. Alcacer would have put Giroud down or at least made him more competitive. Digne is better than Gibbs and could bench Montreal. All these players failed at Barca. That tells you a lot about us. We are talking about Enrique coming to manage Arsenal and people are saying he will fail because of transfers? I don’t get it. Mathieu was sometimes excellent for Barca I don’t even know how he got on that list.

    Of course that was a mistake, Neymar was on the left but it seemed to me you didn’t understand what I said. Messi was false 9/central after pep took him there (at his request and Peps allusion. he sold Eto and Ibra for it.) Tata came and changed that, brought Messi back to the right and it backfired because he sulked and downed tools and got the man sacked. Enrique came and we all thought he would take back Messi to the middle but he didn’t, It caused tension and there was a meeting about it where Enrique stood his ground and Messi came around to it. I know it’s in the papers but that’s where we generally get our source from.

    Of all the managers available you choose Nagelsman and are trying to justify it. smh. Good luck to you. I just pray it doesn’t happen.

  20. Ishola70

    Mystic I don’t choose Nagelsmann.

    If you read properly you would see I said I would want Allegri, Jardim over him.

    Not keen on Enrique.

    That you seem to rate Arteta higher than Nagelsmann is worrying. There is nothing absolutely nothing that suggests at this point that Arteta would be a better appointment than Nagelsmann.

  21. Champagne charlie

    Timo Horn choosing to stay at Koln regardless of their season, opted against triggering his release clause.

    One option down, Bernd Leno looking the prime candidate for us this summer if rumours are true

  22. Vintage Gun

    Jack Wilshere is cooked at the elite level.
    His mentality, attitude, self entitlement, bad habits (on and off the pitch) along with the obvious injuries have left him a bang average injury prone CM with a dubious aura. West Ham seems about right.

    Sad but true