Monchi sleuthing uncovers tasty tidbit + 3 directions Raul could take Arsenal

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Arsenal confirmed last week’s exclusive: Sven Mislintat is leaving in early February, dropping an American style short notice period. It marks an embarrassingly short tenure for a hire of such expense/fanfare and it really does demonstrate the damage of a shite succession plan.

The story really is a mixed bag. What is clear is he didn’t impress Ivan or Raul. The timeline of the narrative seems to be this:

  • Ivan promised Sven the Technical Director role when Arsene left. The German was hired with the promise of a promotion. Everyone in business generally knows that if you are hired into a sideways position, you’re usually being bullshitted (bullshat?) about a promotion that will never come.
  • Sven’s first act was to bring the Dortmund band back together. He led the signings of Mikhi, Auba, and Sokratis (rumoured he wanted Pulisic as well). All very expensive with little hope for a long-term return on investment. Were these signings at the behest of Ivan who wanted to shoot for CL short term? Or were they all on Sven?
  • He did bring some youth magic to the club. Lucas Torreira and Mavrapanos are Sven signings. There are conflicting reports over Guendouzi. I read that Wenger was a fan of MG and spoke to him, but then I’ve read that Emery was a huge pull for the player and his family.
    • Worth noting that the players Sven is responsible for were likely overspill from Dortmund. Perhaps that’s why there were rumblings of discontent from the Arsenal scouting team. Sven was just a name dropper, versus a change agent (process/tech/hires).
  • January comes around, the club is being linked heavily with players that look like they’re from the world of ‘contacts’ scouting. Suarez, Banega, James and Carrasco do not have the hallmarks of Sven. They are Emery and Raul teaming up.

Summary: Sven lost the power struggle. Raul and Emery ignored his recommendations. He didn’t impress enough to earn the promotion he wanted. He didn’t show up enough, which suggests his signings were black book specials. He had neither power nor the ear of the execs. He left.

So what’s next for Arsenal?

We could be looking to adopt a bit of the New England Patriots model.

The Patriots were $10 million over the NFL salary cap before Belichick’s arrival, and he quickly went about recruiting more affordable players that fit his system and philosophy. The result was a team that prioritized certain characteristics (toughness, intelligence, work ethic, ability to take coaching, and a team-first mentality), fit within the constraints of the salary cap, and allowed Belichick to develop a unique game plan for every opponent, and adapt on the fly.

“Whereas most people play the game, Belichick plays the opposition,” Wells says. “He adapts to the competition in order to beat them. It’s why he can win a Super Bowl with a largely mediocre roster—his players are adaptable. They play for each other and play for him, and they’ll do whatever they’re told to do to the best of their ability because of it. It goes to show what leadership and proper motivation can do.”

“Just like in business, a quick win is all very fine,” Wells says. “You can borrow from the balance sheet. You can hand out big contracts and bonuses to attract star players. But you mortgage the future. Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft don’t want to win once. They want to win over and over again. They know that’s how you build a fan base, that’s how you build a legacy, and that’s ultimately how you make money.”

Find players at elite clubs that have lost their way, offer them love and support, hope they repay you on the pitch. This method is also comparable to the one Wenger adopted in the early years. He gave old players a rebirth, he found value in markets no one else was looking in, and he took chances on broken players, he outperformed expectations on a budget.

Marc Overmars was a crock, PV04 was rotting on Milan’s bench, Thierry was a right wing back, Bobby P had an attitude problem at Marseille, and Nwankwo Kanu had had a heart attack!

The more I think about it, the more I try and convince myself that there’s value in an approach like this. Pepper in a few Nicolas Anelka’s (which might have been what Raul was trying to do with Malcolm last January) and we could make something happen. My only issue here is you really do need a next level coach to make something like this work (You also need to be finding actual gems as well).

We could also look to Sevilla and more recently Roma for inspiration. The genius of Monchi has been well covered on this site. He’s one of the best talent hunters in Europe. Importantly, he finds value in both young and older players (Raul seems to be of this view). He most recently gave Dzeko a rebirth at Roma, but his real speciality is finding young players like Ramos, Rakitic, Reyes, Dani Alves and Keita. He usually moves them on for huge sums of money, with the uncanny knack of replacing them without decimating the progress of the club he’s running. I also found this tidbit from a 2014 Graham Hunter article about the Spaniard.

This is chaotic for a meticulously planned coach like Sevilla’s Unai Emery and it cranks up the pressure on Monchi not to make a single slip. And there are so many areas wherein that slip could occur: who to sell, how much for, who to buy, what type of guy to bring into this flexible, intelligent, technical but very hard-pressing football philosophy.

You’d think it would stress him. But last year he spent the majority of the season in London, conducting his business from a rented flat there and learning to speak English. Such an endeavour will augment both his market skills and his market viability when, as eventually must happen, he follows the route favoured by his pupils.

He’s a secret Londoner!

He’d suit the Spanish vibe of the club and he’s clearly good pals with Emery. He’d be a comfort for the both of them and he’d have the fans moister than a Mr Kipling baked good. David Ornstein has him linked for the Technical Director role, with Francis Cagiago replacing Mislintat.

We could look the Red Bull franchise for inspiration, seeing as we’re done copying whatever Dortmund are up to. They have a system of coach and player creation that really is a force to be reckoned with. They’ve built a vision around hard pressing young players that are given the chance to play and shine before being moved on to bigger clubs. This is Rangnick on what he scouts for.

‘The difference between us and other clubs is that when we sign or scout new players, we are fishing in a very small pond. We only interested in players aged between 17 and 23, as from our experience, when you are 23 you are no longer a talent. If you look at other clubs and their development, you can see that players start their careers earlier than 10 years ago and finish earlier too. So we are only scouting those players. The maximum age is 23. The second difference is that in both clubs, we try to implement and play the same style of football and of course between the two clubs, we make use of synergies that can be developed out of those two factors.’

Big difference between RB and Arsenal is there’s a philosophy that runs across all the clubs they have under the RB name. This from The Blizzard.

Here are the principles: one, add maximum possibility to the team and act, don’t react. So you need to dictate the game with and without the ball, not through individuals. Two, use numerical superiority and let the ball run directly whenever possible, with no unnecessary individual action and with no fouls. Three, use transitions, switch quickly. Try to win back the ball within five seconds with aggressive pressing. After winning the ball back, play quickly straight away, play direct and vertically towards the opponent’s goal, surprise the disorganised opponent to get into the penalty area and shoot within ten seconds of winning the ball back.

Now, it would appear Raul and Emery don’t want Arsenal to be a developmental setup. They want instant success, which is totally up to them. I just don’t think Arsenal has the resources to be a force there. I think we should be growing out a Dortmund+++ model. Or to be more precise, a project youth with bells and whistles.

I also think we should be building out our coaching staff in the same way we’d like to approach players. Hire in specialists in pressing philosophy, find the coaches with the best ideas when it comes to attacking, find the people who dream of clean sheets and wake up with dirty ones.

That’s my concern with having no CEO and a lack of scrutiny of what Raul is up to. We spent 14 years trying to expel a manager who controlled to the club, now we’ve handed footballing decisions to two people who basically answer to no one (I know, I know, they have a Whatsapp group with Stan). Emery was already allowed to hire in his mates. They’ve already seen off Sven, and though it might have been deserved, the idea of Monchi coming in makes things look even more nepotistic.

All good if it’s working out, not so good if it isn’t.

Still, Monchi is a f*cking baller and he’s done it at 2 clubs. On the face of it, that’d be a stunning coup. Makes you wonder why we were even talking to Edu if the Spaniard was available?

The positive of all of this is at least we’re heading into the unknown. Beats the stagnant vibes of the Wenger years. Let’s hope the latest chapter is a clearer vision for how we get to success. More efficiency, more excitement, more of a footballing philosophy we can all buy into.

While you’re here listen to the podcast. Thanks. x


320 Responses to “Monchi sleuthing uncovers tasty tidbit + 3 directions Raul could take Arsenal”

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  1. Charlie George

    British /French players all day, every day,

    Just look at players France didn’t even take to the World Cup

    (laporte/laca/martial etc.)

    No delicate Spaniards or Italians for me.. ( unless signed as schoolboys so they can adapt, Cesc/Hector style ).. they can play their pretty side ways passes in la Liga/Serie A)

    The prem is tough/horrible/ugly/fast and furious and badly reffed- we need competitors first…

  2. Marko

    Apparently due to Barca wanting an obligation to buy.

    They can fuck off then. Let them pay for his wages on top of Boateng’s now

  3. Carts

    ‘They can fuck off then. Let them pay for his wages on top of Boateng’s now’

    isnt their rev: wages ratio nearly 80% LOL

  4. Bamford10

    Below is Saturday’s XI with AMN in place of the now injured Bellerin. At the moment, this would seem to be our best XI.


    However, someone above rightly said that Emery might now revert to three CBs, which would require us to look more like this:


    To which, I would ask two questions:
    1. which of the two above set-ups do people prefer, and why?
    2. if you could replace only two of the players in either of the above set-ups with better players, whom would replace and why?

  5. Dissenter

    Barca will call us back at the last minute
    They have a restless player on their hands that no one else will even take on loan with an option to buy.
    These option-to-buy loan deals aren’t so “optional” because they set triggers that will force a buy like say the player plays a certain number of games.

  6. Takin the Mhik


    I think this is the perfect game to bring Ozil back in

    Mainland niles Sokratis Koscielny Kolasinac
    Torriera Guendouzi
    Lacazette Aubameyang

    United haven’t got a Jorginho type ball playing holding midfielder to close down. Pogba is more forward these days. It’s a perfect game for Ozil to find space.

  7. G8

    I believe our last Spanish player purchase(Hector not counted) was the one and only Arteta…
    A panic buy by Wenger and co..
    I could be wrong though ..
    None of our summer recruits is Spanish ..
    So no Spanish conspirscy there..
    We need to look for a right back now or in the summer, Hector dosnt cut it for me at all ,he is the better of a really dreadful bunch.
    AMN had enough chances to impress and so far failed spectaculry, too casual, clumsy and hesitant, corporal Jenks is a better option, or even try Mustafi

  8. Sid


    Safe to say, whatever he brings to the table is going to be exciting.

    Basis what exactly? …. Oh right him being pep’s second.

    Ever heard of the assistant of a CEO landing a job as the CEO of another organisation?

    The Arteta brigade seem to be happy to give him the keys to the kingdom and risk it all burning to the ground but are unwilling to give an experienced, proven winner a single season to show what he can bring to the table.

  9. China1

    We have different people now and I guess financially things are different too. But I sure do have flash backs of the arsenal dithering years this January…

  10. Tony

    So if you don’t buy a lottery ticket you can’t win ……………….

    But seriously what a ridiculous enquiry to ask Manure for the loan of Bailly to the end of the season.

    Raul & Emery really rocking it up there.

    Suarez loan deal breaks down for the umpteenth time because Barca want the loan made permanent in the summer. Presumably to help pay for their De ligt £65 million deal.

    Is there no love left at Barca for Raul? Better cross that contact out of his precious black book.

    Meanwhile team building with paintball for our entire squad and coaches.

    Learning how to dodge bullets – probably useful for Emery & Raul.

    Finally Henry continues his humility lessons with Monaco losing to Ligue 2 Metz.

  11. Dark Hei


    The CEO’s PA no.

    The guy 1 rank below the CEO, or his right hand man, yes.

    Even in football, there is a precedence. Pep’s successor at Barca was his assistant.

  12. China1

    I’m not sure why this Suarez deal is so hard for us if we really want him

    If we aren’t willing to go for loan with an obligation to buy then why are we so desperate for him in the first place?

    Like if he was 30 years old on massive wages and a huge gamble, I’d understand wanting a try before you buy approach. But he’s being looked at as a long term successor to Ramsey and probably even Mesut Ozil. He’s reasonable young. I don’t expect his salary is insane. He’ll have resale value if he doesn’t tank. His purchase fee in the summer appears to be modest. What are we so scared of?

    If he’s someone emery believes will help us get top 4 and push on for years to come, sign the guy for Christ’s sake. Barca arsenal and the player all want a deal. Stop dithering and get on with it.

    We’ve had a shit last month to be frank. Outside of the first spurs game and the Chelsea game, its been a bad one for us. If Suarez is a key difference maker then expedite this signing already before we drop more unnecessary points.

    If we’re really that unsure about commuting to him in light of all of the above then I don’t know why we’re even bothering with him in the first place

    This is prime arsenal dithering. Some things never change at arsenal

  13. China1

    Why are we wasting time and energy dealing with players we aren’t confident will make the difference for us?

    What’s the method in this madness? We’re wasting Suarez’s time, barca’s time and most importantly our own

  14. Leedsgunner

    If this deal for Suárez is done, it is a good thing in the long run for the club. It’s because we have finally started to stand up to Barça’s bullying tactics.

    We sold Cesc to them at a price they dictated. Must we buy their rejects at their prices too?

    Good to see us grow a pair and tell them where to go.

  15. Charlie George

    Theo Walcott scored over 100 goals for Arsenal ( very few penalties).
    An Arsenal great on that stat alone
    he played in a variety of forward roles.Often not getting 90 mins.
    Great pro-hugely likeable

    Totally undervalued by coaching staff and fan base.
    We sold him for a paltry 18 million.
    Should still be here.

  16. James.wood

    Charlie those 100 goals took 10 years to get
    The guy was useless there was nothing between his ears.
    I don’t think a better coach would have helped how he ever achieved England caps is beyond me.
    You say very few penalty’s – I say two headed goals and as I have said before one of those went in of his ear.😏