Arsene is OUT.
A new future awaits.
We know very little about what’s actually going on with the status of the managerial interview process at the moment, but what we know for sure is now the season is finished, the club can talk to Bundesliga candidates and people from the Premier League. Next week, we’ll be able to meet with Serie A prospects.
I’ve been weighing up the next coach for years, plotting out who could be the best candidate for Arsenal, and now the options are starting to narrow, it’s clear the front runners are Vieira, Nagelsmann, Arteta and Allegri.
I think the Juventus maestro is looking less and less likely by the day. Someone on his team leaked a story to The Sun that he’d look for a £200m transfer kitty to come to the club. Firstly, that’s never going to happen, secondly, what does that tell you about the way he operates? Things could go very Conte, very quickly. By that I mean back channelling complaints in the media, throwing games to make a point the squad is shite, and letting emotions get in the way of doing the best job possible.
Sources close to Allegri, who first revealed his interest in our exclusive TWO MONTHS ago, claim his ambitions have to be matched.
He will accept the job if Arsenal can take him to the levels he is used to at Juve, which include competing in the Champions League.
Allegri won’t be working in a perfect environment, and it’s telling that his team are already making demands about the environment. We are not going to be operating like Juventus immediately, if that’s his expectation, he’ll be disappointed. It also reads like he’s looking to turbocharge the rebuild to suit his rush to win a Champions League. Though that would be lovely, we have to be real, Arsenal won’t be on that path for a while. We’re not going to give him Galactico budgets, we’ll have to make an impact using a different strategy.
I do wonder how Allegri would cope being at a club that doesn’t have the funds to compete with City, United or Chelsea. When you’re one of the best, with just the Champions League evading you, how are you going to feel about working with tier two funds? Fine if you’re Klopp, he likes being the underdog and relishes the challenge. Allegri is at the Manchester City of Italy. Arsenal will never be that.
The leak could also be a white flag from his team, making their reasons as to why he’s not heading over very clear. Either way, it’s not a good sign. For all Wenger’s faults, he never really complained in the press about the board or his lot in life, he ploughed on through the dark years. That’s the Arsenal way, that’s one of the values you want from your new hire, loyalty to the cause however tough it is.
Also, though his football is tactically exciting, as Paul Merson mentioned, it takes us back to the George Graham era of football. Catching teams on the break with incisive counter-attacking football. I could live with it, but it’d be a sharp deviation from what we love. I appreciate there’s a lot of excitement about having a manager who can defend properly, but we don’t have to destroy our style in the process. Look at how United fans are dealing with Mourinho football. Who wants 2nd place that way? Also worth noting Allegri is taking English lessons. Small detail, but building out Arsenal and a new life whilst getting to grips with a new language is tough.
Nagelsmann is the hottest young coaching option in the game, what he’s done at Hoffenheim is next level. I don’t think his club is going to let him go, he’s tied into a strict contract that would require a big fee to release him. Also, he’s apparently planning on settling down with his lady, and it sounds like Munich is the dream. He’s 31, if he does well at Arsenal, there’s a cap on his tenure, a bit like signing a young Barca player. He’ll always pine for Bayern.
Patrick Vieira being on the list is an odd one. He’s not set the world alight in the US and he’s been working with average players. The fans obviously love him, but I’m not sure that’s enough to land the job.
That’s why I’m throwing my vote behind Arteta.
He’s a very interesting prospect if you have the stomach for strategic risk. He’s not been the head coach at a club yet. But that shouldn’t scare people off, because there are so many interesting facets around his star that make this potential move feel very exciting.
I’ll start with the easy one. Leadership is in his blood. He’s been the captain of two Premier League clubs, Everton, then Arsenal at a time where he needed to help stabilise us post-Cesc. I’m really not worried about him being overawed by the head coach role, some people just naturally gravitate towards responsibility and can lead. He’s clearly one of those people.
He’s also been in on the ground floor at Manchester City, actively contributing to the creation of one of the best Premier League sides of all time.
Guardiola is desperate to keep hold of Arteta, who he considers pivotal to his backroom staff at City.
The Catalan immediately approached Arteta when agreeing to take over at the Etihad – valuing his knowledge of English football.
They hit 100 points yesterday. That is insane. Arteta has been there from the start, he’s witnessed how you coach new ideas into players, he’s helped improve people like Sterling, he’s in the day to day. He has helped create history. He worked through the very average first season with Pep and helped fix it in the most spectacular way.
Why would Arsenal not want to hire in someone with the hottest intellectual property in world football?
In business, a tried and true strategy for smart hiring is pinching the young people in and around great successes at other companies. If you make a great advert that wins a bunch of awards, that team is decimated the next year as rival agencies pick off the people who they ‘hoped’ worked on it so they can infuse that magic in their client accounts.
Tesla has been bleeding engineers and senior managers to Apple’s car division. Why are they raiding them? Because those people have been part of something special from the ground up. Does anyone say that’s a bad strategy because Elon is such a dominant force in the media? No, because in business, it’s more clearly understood that the person taking all the credit always has an incredible body of thinkers/doers underneath them making the work happen. We tend to think of football differently to business, despite clubs increasingly moving to structures that closely resemble traditional corporations. A collection of specialists reporting into a CEO (the head coach).
It’s also worth remembering that Pep G and Pochettino both fought it out for Arteta’s signature before he’d even hung up his boots. That’s two of the best coaches on the planet. A pretty strong endorsement of what people think of him. This is the Spurs manager.
“I love him and he loves me,”
“You know our history from Paris St Germain, when he was 17 and I was the captain.”
Arteta said no to his mate Poch because he wanted a way back to Arsenal.
An even bigger endorsement came from Pep Guardiola after the City game yesterday.
‘Mikel’s contribution was outstanding, amazing, and we have been so good together,’
‘So, if he stays I will be happiest guy in the world. If he decides to move because he has this option I will not say: “You don’t have to go”.
‘I want the best for my friends and he is a friend. If he decides to go I will be sad but I will understand his decision.
‘Because it is his career, his life and family and I am not the right guy to say you don’t have to do that.
‘But hopefully he can stay and finish what we have together in the coming years.’
Pep could have easily said he doesn’t comment on speculation. He could have said he wasn’t ready. He could have said no. Telling that he didn’t.
Back to Arteta, the guy cried on his last game with us. He loves the club, he’ll know there are doubts about his ability to transition, and he’ll go through brick walls to make it work. I love his ruthless ambition to make it big. Mourinho like moves on a major job.
The most important thing he can do for me is bring sexy football back to The Emirates. I want to see innovative thinking. I want to see a continuation of the Wenger legacy in a more modern and disciplined setup. Where better to find that than from under the wing of Pep Guardiola?
There’s also the brass tacks of this sort of move. The club is having a clear out of the coaching staff. Colbert, Boro, Banfield, Peyton, Bibbo and maybe even Bould might be off. I have no doubt the club will want to control the coaching hires, and I expect they’ll be making offers as we speak. You need a manager who is comfortable with the club decentralizing power and control. Allegri is unlikely to tolerate that if he’s putting his reputation on the line. Even the relative novice Thomas Tuchel was fired because he couldn’t deal with the power structure at Dortmund.
In Arteta, we’re hiring a coach. The club doesn’t need someone to manage transfers, contracts, and every single department of the club. We need to hire someone who knows how to train players, keep them motivated and ultimately improve them. We need a person who can work with different departments, synthesize data, and make bold and imaginative decisions. We need someone to coach the kids, recalibrate the senior players, and help support smart additions to a squad that needs surgery.
This is not us signing Steve Mcclaren or Carles Queiroz.
- This is hiring in a b-team coach called Pep Guardiola for Barcelona in 2008.
- This is Hoffenheim hiring a 28-year youth team coach in Germany, a move apparently so absurd, the local press called it a PR stunt. The guy who owns Hoffenheim, billionaire Dietmar Hopp, co-found SAP, one of the most successful software companies on the planet. They know a thing or two about staffing and what it takes to build a success machine. He’s been working in and around the club for a very long time and has taken them from nowhere to Champions League for the second season running.
- This is Madrid hiring their greatest ever player because they wanted to do a Pep G in 2016.
- Salzburg hired their youth team manager, Marco Rose, and he made the semi-finals of the Europa League. Redbull is a mega-organization dominating their chosen fields in sport, they know how to run and staff highly effective enterprises.
- Schalke hired a 31-year-old coach with a degree in business engineering and a master’s in innovation management and he made the Champions League in his first season, going from 10th to 2nd.
- Portugal has an esteemed history of taking chances on young innovators, with Porto winning big with Jose back in the day.
This move isn’t a madness. It’s positioning ourselves as a modern club and getting ahead of the curve.
Arteta will need to work on some internal PR at the club. He was at Arsenal when he was on the back nine of his career, his legs were clearly failing him and his body was going into freefall, I’m not surprised he wasn’t great to be around. But people grow, and he’ll have to make sure he’s good to folk around him if he wants to make this work. Bringing people together is so important in a rebuild, especially when morale is low.
Finally, just remember, no manager guarantees success. The key thing is matching the hire to the job in front of them. I think Arteta could be a perfect fit. The pay off could be unbelievable, and look, Arsenal has to take a risk if they want to beat out Manchester City. We need to try something different. We need to move into the future. Why not do it with a coach, who according to Matt Hughes, is a potential successor to Pep at Manchester City.
I think this could be an inspired move, and I think people are coming round to the potential of Arsenal doing something visionary with their next hire. You only have to look at the #WelcomeMikel tweets after Pep spoke out about his assistant. Even Ian Wright is onboard! Fans will get behind progress, and I think people are starting to see that this could be very exciting for thier Arsenal experience next season.
In conclusion, yes this a brave decision, it’s also the most logical. We’d be hiring a former Arsenal club captain who has an emotional attachment to the club, someone who has been mentored by the greatest coach alive and has been a massively integral part of a record-breaking Premier League winning team. We shouldn’t pass up this opportunity. We should embrace it and see where it takes us.
Right, that’s me done. See you in the comments.