It’s really amusing to read the opinion police out in force when they read something they don’t like. I think the Unai Emery hire is bland, I laid out my reasons if you don’t like them, it’s really not a problem.
Here’s the thing, Emery is going to be far better than Arsene Wenger because anyone would bring improvements to us. I’ve been telling you for years that our ex-coach was dated and past it, so it’ll be really hard for anyone born of this era to not improve on 6th, no real analysis, no pressing system, and a poor grasp of coaching.
What I do find interesting is the lack of interrogation people are giving this signing. I mean, I guess people just want to feel safe knowing we’re going come out of hibernation as a club, which I’ve no doubt we will.
My issue is that Emery feels every inch the panic hire, namely, because he is.
Firstly, the reason no one had his name on their lips is that Arsenal was not interested in him until Emery’s agent took a punt on the job. The Spaniard has been in the consideration loop for about a week.
Mark Gonnella is feeding a narrative to the press that this was a well thought out and all part of a thorough process, but I’m struggling to see how you can claim that when your decision was to hire a manager who can barely muster a word of English.
It’s also being widely reported that Emery is planning on bringing at least 4 of his coaching staff and some analysts who also likely won’t be able to speak the language.
Think of the divide that causes from the off. English speaking players who can’t speak Spanish or French are on the back foot straight away, because all the comms will go through others.
For a man who is famed for his complex ideas and a rigid dedication to extensive video analysis, he certainly has his work cut out trying to educate players in an unfamiliar language. Neymar hated the 12 hours of analysis for every game, imagine how our players will feel having to do that through translators so early on? Also, you can’t take a translator into the dugout.
Carlo Ancelotti was very firm in his book about the importance of being able to speak in the native tongue. It’s an absolute basic of any job in a different culture. It’s also an impressive attribute that says you were focused on working in that country. If Emery was being considered properly, we’d have put the feelers out months ago when it was clear PSG were done with him, so he could start the English lessons.
People fob of the language as a footnote, but you only have to look at the good PR Pep got when he rolled out fluent German when he arrived in Munich. Scolari tanked at Chelsea having not mastered the language, legendary names like Neville and Moyes failed in Spain because they didn’t speeeeka da lingo. Bobby Robson had poor Spanish at Barca, and let Mourinho translate his tactics, rumour has it they used to reimagine the instructions in his own vision with Pep.
Explaining complex systems to players who have never worked in them, in Spanish, is going to be tough. Think back to what it was like being a kid in school learning how to say ‘my dog eats baked goods’ in German. Now imagine having a tactical masterclass explained to you in a foreign language?
Now multiply that challenge through the coaching staff he’s bringing and you can’t quite believe they’re doing this. If there is one unifyer at a club, it should, at the very least, be the language.
Who is vetting his coaching staff and analysts he’s bringing with him? Did we interview all of them in a week? Seems odd that the club went from wanting to own the infrastructure, to simply handing it back to the new manager by letting him replace the coaches we just fired. Also worth mentioning his assistant Carcedo wasn’t liked at PSG, Hatem Ben Arfa was caught shouting,
“You hurt my head. You are shouting too loudly. Let us play. Why do you shout like this?”
Old school journo’s and pundits will lap up that type of carry-on, but is that really the way to deal with players? Who knows. But our players are closer in persona to PSG than Sevilla or Almeria than they are to a tin-pot selling club in Spain. No one has mentioned that he also tanked at Spartak Moscow, getting fired in the dressing room. Did he know the language there? Notable that his main successes have come in La Liga, where he can quickly grasp the culture and express his ideas effectively.
It certainly didn’t work at PSG where they went backwards. The press bluster about this being a masterclass hire, or a coup seem self-aggrandizing.
‘Emery is meticulous’ they tell us, because apparently, he does 12 hours of video analysis before each game (try listening to an hour of a tactical podcast). Here’s the thing, all managers are meticulous at that level. It’s only exciting to Arsenal fans because Wenger wasn’t (despite furious denials when I told people that over the last ten years).
The club would have been prepared under Jardim, who bossed Emery in his first year at PSG with kids.
The club would have been well prepared under Antonio Conte, the so-called serial winner, who not only knows English, he’s won the Premier League.
For me, this signing is about Ivan protecting himself. It could be great, it could be terrible, my guess is it’ll be ok. A bit like Brexit will end up.
Regardless of what I think about the hire, ultimately, we’ll be seeing something very different this season. It sounds like the future is going to be built around Ramsey and Auba. I mean, I don’t know why people find this notion so groundbreaking… but what was interesting about the snippet of info that came from The Sun is it didn’t include Ozil.
We’ll see subs before 70minutes, we’ll see a change of tactics when we’re losing, we’ll see the ball played out of the back, we’ll learn how to press, we’ll be far more competitive, and I suspect we’ll probably win the Europa League in our first season.
Arsenal has hired a manager who, language skills pending (and the ability to adapt to the best league in the world), will be able to stabilise the decline. He’s going to coach players, they’ll learn under him, and they’ll have to work hard to survive. He’s a manager who makes players go to war for him, and I’m telling you, we’ll see a massive improvement in the effort, attitude, and footballing output.
Worst case scenario, the next manager will have a group of players who are far more prepared for the rigors of elite football than they are now. Manager who takeover after LVG usually succeed becasue they’re fiercely disciplined, and just need a bit of love and a warm heart (which is why United should have hired Poch, not Mourinho).
My critique of this whole scenario is really centred around the fact that we could have been more ambitious. This is a low-hanging fruit kind of job for anyone; we were ripe to take a chance on a young coach, and we’d have been even more ripe for an elite coach. We opted for a solid operator, the middle ground, a manager at the back end of the top 10 in Europe. If it goes well, we’ll be top 3. If it goes badly, we’ll have to hire a so-called big name to appease a rabid fan base.
I worry we did what’s best for Ivan’s job security because the move was nowhere near the ‘bold and brave’ he promised. My biggest fear? Ivan Gazidis is the new Arsene Wenger. He’ll just plod the club along, hoover up that fat paycheck, and always create as little risk on a new manager as possible so he can put his hands up and say ‘I tried’ if things go wrong. You don’t make it in this game without taking a risk, either financially, or with personnel. Pep G famously told the Barca hierarchy, ‘you don’t have the cajones to hire me’, and the rest is history. Can’t help but think we blew it with Arteta, and blew it on the experience card. We hired a safe pair of hands when we needed to take a strategically sound risk.
Nice to see that Arteta didn’t lose out after Arsenal shafted him late in the game. The owner of City and Pep called him after the news broke, that’s good leadership and constitutes bold and brave planning for the future. They want him takeover after Pep, that’s the exec team who ran Barca during the good years. I think we’ve made a mistake there, but it is what it is. Not like Arsenal haven’t made a living out of passing-by elite coaching talent over the last 5 years.
In other news, I am very excited about Per Mertesacker looking after the kids. He’s a really smart player, and I can’t get enough of reading about the way he thinks. A modern leader who understands that mental health is important, and understands deeply what it takes to maintain levels in the game. I love his incredulity about players not asking him for advice, bringing in kids who have a curiosity about what it takes to succeed will hopefully inform the recruitment process.
Right, that’s me done. See you in the comments.