What is going on my darlings?!
I am currently in Washington with my dad.
The weather is disgusting. It hit 100 degrees yesterday, or 37.7 Celcius. We walked the landmarks in a fit of ‘let’s not be pussies about this’ and I can confirm this was a mistake.
I have no idea how the players are supposed to deal with this… peak temperature arrives at 1700!
There is a BIG game tonight as we take on the once-mighty Fiorentina. Another chance for some of the kids to shine. Another chance for Mustafi to show the world he is a total legend and well worth the £90k a week.
Some interesting snippets in and around the internet. Arseblog had an interesting piece from Sven about his time at Arsenal. It’s what we all knew… he fell out with leadership because they changed direction when Ivan G left.
The key takeaway – one I have debated at length with people is… the dreaded contacts approach to football is real.
Arsenal is the only club on the planet that can move in the direction of modernism, only to crush it and go back to something that reeks of old fashioned curtains. He basically said instead of being proactive, using tech, people and data to uncover value in a competitive market… we’re waiting for agents to bring players to us. Pretty much the exact strategy that’s seen United do so well since Fergie left.
I guess we have to hope that Edu has something to say about that. It is not efficient to rely on the opinion of people who have something to sell. That is not a forward-facing approach to building a super club. When it succeeds you can’t repeat it either… it’s built on luck of the draw.
Very depressing if our new technical director agrees with this… because, you know, it’s not a very technical way of looking at a game that is advancing at a rate of knots.
Don’t be a dinosaur, Edu.
It was amusing that the journo speaking to Sven pestered him about taking a smaller job, his response was basically – ‘we fill 60,000 for a relegation battle and we’re nosier. This isn’t a small club.’ Fair play.
Talking of Edu, it reads like he gave a personal response to my blog the other day.
There are a lot of things to do, but I will try to explain to you a little bit about almost everything. People always say that the technical director has to look after and be involved in the process of signing players, selling players, keeping players, loaning players. That’s an important part of the job of course and I understand that. But for me there are more important things in front of that – we have to look after what we have today. We have to work hard today. We have to look after our squad today. The future is the future, and signing players means sometimes the future, and of course I have to be involved in that process, but I also have to take care of today. I explained to the players when I arrived that I’m not the guy who stays inside the office and waits for someone to knock on my door and send a message to me. I want to be involved in the process, I want to be on the inside, I want to be with them, I want to be with Unai, I want to be with the staff as well, to try and advise them if they need it, and give some advice for them. Being involved is important and that’s what I really believe from today. The link with the academy is very important because people always forget about it, because they talk about signing big names, but we have to take care of the academy as well. That’s one point I have to be linked with.
So there are short-term things to address, and also medium-term things to address?
Yes, that’s part of my role as well, because in football there are short-term, medium-term and long-term [challenges] of course, but how do you share that? I have to look after short-, medium- and long-term, but Unai has to look after the very short-term [challenges], and that means Wednesday, Saturday, training sessions, looking after the opponents and the strategy of the games. I have to give him time to look after that situation, and he has to give all his energy to that very short-term, he has to look after that and I have to help him with it. And medium-term and long-term, when we look after the academy, maybe you’re talking about medium-term and long-term, so that’s important to me, to be linked very well with the academy as well. So as I said, Unai has to be focused with his energy on the very short-term, and I have to help him with that.
What do you say, Edu, to the fans who are concerned about the club’s future? Some fans are positive, some fans are less positive. What do you say to those who are less positive?
We have to understand the fans, we have to understand that. That’s important. But they have to understand us as well. Because we have a philosophy. The club is changing a lot, so I saw that before I signed up for technical director, I saw the many changes now Arsene has left. The structure of the club changes a lot. So that’s a process, and sometimes we need time. I understand that time is going against us but we have to be aware of that. But in the end, we’re going to give to [the fans] some good things I am sure. I am sure. Because since I started to talk with Vinai and Raul about that job, I felt the energy of the club. I felt the very positive things around it. That’s why I really believe and that’s why I am here as well, because I feel we will do good things in the future. Not the future-future, but nearly there!
Let’s jump one year into the future. If we spoke to you again then, where would you hope the club would be at that point?
I’m not saying [it’s a] dream, but [we need to be] focused to be fighting for the Champions League again. Of course that’s our target. To make the squad even stronger. I want to see the fans enjoying, as before, the club even more. I know how they live the club, how they love the club and we have to give them something back so they can enjoy again the club.
This reads really well for me… and the club are clearly trying to appease the whingers like me. They want the ground to be buzzing this season, which is fair.
What I like:
He’s addressing the now, he’s talking about stages to what he’s doing and he’s said that his goal is to fight for the Champions League.
No time frame… but I’m giving him one. 5 years. Champions League final. Make it happen!
Transfer wise, no one really has anything. All the deals we know we’re gunning for are just chugging along. Dani Ceballos is going to be a very interesting move for Arsenal, that would make me feel a lot better about the coming season. If we can bring in a couple of wide players and a centre back, at least we’ll have inched forward. The most important thing for me is building out the athleticism of the squad. It’s been painful to watch average teams bully us. We need a more brutish character this season, Zaha certainly gives us that sort of edge.
In the… ‘look who we let go OMG OMG’ instalment today. Ismail Bennacer just took the player of the tournament at AFCON. Ouch. It’s amazing how good other clubs have been at identifying the better prospects in our youth ranks.
Hopefully, Emery really does get pressured into playing the kids this season… John-Jules, Saka, Willock and Medley best be £30m players by the end of the season.
Interestingly, Chelsea HAS to take the youth approach. Top 4 could be battle of the kids.
Right, that’s me done, enjoy the game this evening and HYDRATE if you are in the ground.