Well, well, well… Spurs. What have we here? Looks like another case of the CHOKES. As Dan from the pod put it, what we are witnessing looks very much like a case of ‘Le Spiral de Negativiteé.’
Very amusing. Spurs are reaching a situation where their World Cup battered squad is struggling to make physical ends meet between Champions League and the race for Top 4. Tomorrow, Arsenal will be one point behind them if they win, United will be level points if they win, and if Chelsea ramp up the pressure and win their two games in hand, they will jump them.
Oh my, what a whirlwind this race is. Imagine if Spurs drop into the Europa League after opening the Nike Toilet Bowl? Would be sweet… real sweet. Only worry is the Champions League is looking fairly weak sauce at the minute. So there’s always the horror scenario where they fall up the stairs and win that. Doubtful, but let’s cover the bases so we don’t look silly.
On the Technical Director front, the mighty Monchi has severed ties with Roma in a sweeping week in which the American leadership team also exited their manager. Make no mistake, if they’d wanted to keep the Spaniard, they’d have angled for a fee. The new team looks like it’ll be either Piero Ausilio and Massimiliano Mirabelli as the Sporting Director and Ranieri as the manager. The exLeicester boss is just out here racking up millions in dismissal fees this season, unreal work.
If you want the YES MONCHI IS COMING, take a read of this.
Today’s thoughts are a little more sober because I have done some digging.
His tenure at Roma has been bland. He wheeled and dealed very hard and made zero friends with the local ultras. At an airport, Roma fans shouted, “You have destroyed the team”, to which he responded, “sure you are better… In 6 months I come to take you all one by one ”
What did I say about him looking like a Netflix crime boss? Seems he’s the real deal. Full on John Gotti threats in an airport. Love it.
There are a few questions that have to be asked here… if he’s being panned for moving on talent, you have to work out if that was a command from the American owners. He dropped a 60m euro profit in his first window and an 18m euro profit last summer. If that was to support the new stadium, it simply means the fans aren’t as financially sympathetic as Arsenal’s.
I think the main upset comes from the fact that he hasn’t delivered the hits he was dropping for Sevilla. For me, the big red flag is that last summer, when he had a little more financial freedom to move bodies, his two marquee signings were Nzonzi and Pastore who are both 29 years old and far from elite. If you’re picking them up on free transfers, sure, but dropping 60m euros on them is pretty crazy. For a man that slagged British clubs for being profligate, those two really are perplexing buys.
It’s always good to raid the fan blogs for a bit of blood and thunder opinion. This SB Nation blog gives a very fair overview of his tenure.
On why he failed:
‘The club’s strategic direction comes from the top. I place his failures more on Pallotta’s philosophy of flipping players rather than building a winning team. What I am curious about is whether he was angling his way out prior to the last few weeks. Of course with EDF fired his position was untenable and he had no choice but to resign. I’m disappointed with the decisions he made but surely this Roma side needed at least another year or two before it would reach its peak and represent Monchi’s vision?’
‘Two years is far from sufficient to judge him, which makes his resignation all the tougher to swallow. If, however, we view it as a principled stance in support of EDF and/or his own autonomy as DS, then I can certainly respect that. In the end, I just don’t think his big purchases worked out as quickly as he needed them to, which looked worse in the face of the Salah and Alisson sales. And then there’s the wrinkle we’ll never know: how much independence did he actually have and to what extent was he limited by Roma’s financial health.’
On his failings:
‘The manner in which he short shrifted the defense. His right backs had about two healthy ligaments between them while his left backs were either living on borrowed time (Kolarov) or were too handsome to be good footballers (Santon). The less said about Moreno and Marcano the better. Roma’s defense was a disaster waiting to happen, and as we saw this season, it, uh, happened.’
‘Sometimes it felt as if Monchi would spend big on a name just to have spent big on a name. Pastore and NZonzi spring to mind immediately. Perhaps there were brand concerns at play (I remember there being significant rumors that Qatar Airways funded the Pastore purchase), but he didn’t seem to have a handle on the type of player who could succeed at Roma who was already in their late 20s.’
On his successes:
‘Cengiz Under was a great signing and I’m hopeful we will say the same about Cristante next season. Zaniolo was a remarkable find, kudos.’
‘Zaniolo is the popular answer around here and it truly was a masterpiece from Monchi. But I think Justin Kluivert can truly turn into something special in a year or two. Whether it’s at Roma or another club, that’s the question. Pallotta and co better keep him in Rome as long as possible.’
The jury is out. He brought in some good young players that didn’t have the chance to show their worth. He made some bad senior signings. He couldn’t mend the defence (gulp). He wasn’t afforded enough time for anyone to make a fair assessment (he also tied himself heavily to Eusebio). Additionally, what I do admire: he took full responsibility for his failings. We lack accountability at Arsenal, the club is always looking for excuses. It takes true leadership to own up to your fuck ups. Extra pertinent when you’ve got Wenger reimagining the StatDNA investment like he unearthed the scouting equivalent of Google Search.
We are in a situation with Monchi like we were with Unai Emery. Both last attained greatness at Sevilla, the big question is: can they level-up? Are we hiring in the Europa League A-listers… or is the magic of the two together like the pairing of Peter Taylor and Brian Clough?
Here are some other questions you have to ponder.
Does our leadership have long-term thinking top of mind?
When Monchi and Emery last worked together, the average age of their signings sat at 27 years old. Emery, Monchi and Raul are big fans of sniffing out bargains from the elite clubs around Europe. Raul, I hear, is a huge fan of Malcolm who has had big issues at Barcelona. No doubt we’ll be in for him in the summer.
Does that strategy have legs? Is that how you make it back to the elite?
The mode of operation that worked best for Monchi was to flip players like houses. Identify value in the market, fix up a player, and shift them on in two seasons. That’s not a longterm view. That’s chasing the instant success dragon in a league where the major clubs are thinking in a more long-term manner.
Denis Suarez was our only punt in January, we’ve barely seen him, but he is exactly the sort of player Monchi hunts down.
The other question I have is this: Is Monchi a great chief scout, or is he a great technical director? Say what you will about Marc Overmars, but he and some of the Ajax European Cup winners have turned the club around. The youth team has churned out some wild players, the senior buys have looked smart, the football is back to its most powerful, and the job that he’s been there since 2013. Ajax has been nowhere, now they are back to resembling their best.
What are Arsenal’s objectives? Who knows… but my worry is that we’re not going to be thinking 10 years ahead. Are we bringing in builders, like Jobs, Hastings or Zuckerberg, or are we bringing in 1 term politicians who need to prove themselves now? We could punt for a brighter instant future and win big, sure, that’d be amazing. The real cost though is what happens if that plan fails. What do we fall back on? What happens if our second attempt at expensive greatness flops?
We fade into terminal mediocrity…
There is a lot riding on this hire. A lot riding on a contacts transfer approach. A lot riding on two people moved on by their clubs under dark clouds.
Could be magic though… it could be.
There’s a huge game today. Top 4 is within spitting distance. Emery seems to have less problems motivating and planning strategems when it comes to bigger sides, though he didn’t do very well against United at the last attempt.
It’s clear that United will be happy to give us possession. They’ll look to find pace on the counter with long diagonal balls. They’ll more than likely lean on the huge wave of luck that’s followed them around. Lukaku is in great form, as is most of their frontline.
We gave up the advantage of freshness when Emery fielded a very strong team in the midweek defeat against Rennes. He’s going to have to dust down those deflated souls and inject some of that energy of Spurs away into the affair.
This is our top 4 cup final. Win and we have by far the best run in. Lose, and those away days are going to look like an uphill struggle.
This is mega. It’s going to be a great game of football. Let’s see what side Emery brings to the battle.
See you in the comments. x