Well, yesterday’s post certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons. I think a lot of people felt that was mostly aimed at Emery. It wasn’t, I think the challenges we have with the club moving forward are about the whole team. A few people screamed that I’d always straight up blame Wenger for what happened on the pitch back in the day, but was affording Emery different treatment. That’s because Emery is a coach, not a demigod.
The biggest concern that all Arsenal fans should have moving into this year is the lasting impact of the Ivan Gazidis signings in the club. He’d been making face-saving decisions all over the football club because his MO was about self-preservation. Don’t rock the boat. Do enough to get you by. Go with the mainstream view of what looks good, never put your neck on the line.
The big question is this: Who will put their neck on the line to move Arsenal forward?
Think about how easy it is to take the job at Arsenal. We have a bigger turnover than Liverpool, one that is about to get bigger, without any real success to talk about. The fans still pay for the season tickets, Adidas are about to pay out a fortune on a new shirt deal, the Premier League gravy train just keeps on rolling on, and we’re doing all this without Champions League football. Incredible.
Stan has two big clubs on his books. Arsenal, arguably one the greatest brands in European football… and the LA Rams, a nothing team that moved from St. Louis. The Kroenke’s invested mega money into the American club. One of their guys is on record as saying something to the tune of ‘we knew we had to invest, because folk from LA aren’t going to pay to watch a substandard product.’
So what did they do? They hired in a bright young innovative coach to lead the team. They’ve made powerful backroom hires. They’re adding big names and excitement to their team sheet. They are making an unbelievable effort to make that team the crown jewel. It’s an absolute investment, because they know that there’s no history there like there is in North London.
Meanwhile, over here, there’s Arsenal. The MO has been keeping the trains running. He will never invest a penny of his own into taking us to the next level because there’s no benefit to him. The big question then becomes this: What is the expectation of his staff?
Will he have Raul and Vinai banging down the door for LA like investment? Or, like we’ve seen with Ivan, will it be a put up and shut up? If the person that runs the show has no desire to dominate, rewards a culture of low risk and obedience, what hope do we have?
Well, the hope goes back to what we spoke about yesterday. We need to accept that we’re tier two. We need to be grateful that at the very least, Stan allows the club to put back in what we earn. We need to try something new. The approach at the moment feels like we’re waiting for a miracle to happen, instead of making our own miracles come to fruition.
This point becomes even more important now David Ornstein confirmed the ‘we’re skint’ intel I shared 6 weeks ago.
We need to make our way back the Champions League. We’re not going to do that hiring in hacks that are past their prime. We’re not going to do that blowing huge amounts of money on players that don’t fit the mold. Again, I ask this question, if the club truly believed in Mesut Ozil, why is Unai Emery alienating him? Not that I disagree, I’ve never thought he was fit for purpose, but what was the football strategy that allowed us to get to that point?
Anyway, the thing to watch for next year is whether the new management are for real. Raul has come from the most prestigious club in the world. A nasty club. A club that does dirty things to get whatever they want. Their wage bill is hideous, almost double that of Manchester City. No wonder they dominate, they can have whoever they want. The manager is almost an irrelevance, even Enrique won the Champions League there. Raul is not a tried and true scrapper like the Dortmund CEO. He’s never had to properly hire a manager before. He hasn’t had to innovate, so what is he going to do at Arsenal to help us out think, scout and perform our much smaller resource pool?
Sven for all intents and purposes was exactly the sort of hire we wanted. In charge of ferreting out some of the roughest diamonds in world football and turning in De Beers profits. We know he has it in him to bring all the boys to the yard, but the question remains is this: What is his remit? I can get on-board with Matty G and Torriera like signings, but what is going on with Gary Cahill and Ever Banega? Are those guys kicking us onto the next level? I highly doubt it, so wouldn’t it be worth investing our limited budget in players that have room to grow like Dortmund did so well? Should we be planning for next season this January, versus making average crap shots with players that really aren’t that great?
Then there’s Vinai. Clearly a very talented man, but he’s 37 years old. He has been gifted an outrageous opp at Arsenal. It is unheard of to give someone that young so much power. But at what cost to Arsenal fans? Is he an Ivan protegé? What did he agree to land the job? Will he have the guts to move us forward, or will he be preaching self-sustaining as a football strategy for the next ten years.
Arsenal need to wake up. They need to focus on a way forward. They need to be bold. The problem statement is simple: how do Arsenal succeed with the resources on offer?
Remember the resources are MASSIVE. 3rd highest net spenders in the league (bigger net spend than Madrid since 2010). 9th largest wage bill in Europe. Growing turnover. We have a huge stadium, mostly full attendance, unreal training facilities and the backdrop of the greatest city in the world. If Atleti, Roma, Juve and Liverpool can make CL finals, so can we. No more excuses. No more mediocrity.
The answer to the problem statement cannot be the direction we’re heading right now. It’s not innovative, it’s not bearing fruit (nor will it), and it’s a very long way off being sustainable.
Happy New Year, enjoy the Fulham game. 🔴⚪️