In politics, if you are susceptible to conspiracy theories or have mused through history books, politicians have through history created situations that prompt the people to have their civil liberties taken away. Take Hitler burning down the Reichstag as an example.
In some ways, the football equivalent of that is happening at Arsenal at the moment.
The Unai Emery shit show is so bad, the people are begging the club to make things worse by bringing in a percieved solution that feels right in the moment (take my freedom to ensure safety), but when things calm down, we’ll realise we’re in a dictatorship we can’t escape (Jose Mourinho soft coup).
The Portuguese manager has, for the first time in his entire career, softened his stance towards the not-so-mighty Arsenal. This week, he was spotted in an exec box at Arsenal catching a bit of Europa League football. As ways of passing time go, this seems suspicious. It’s like finding out your partner has swapped Instagram for Tinder as a way to keep up with her friends. It doesn’t add up. Most Arsenal fans couldn’t muster the energy to go to the game.
A large section of Arsenal fans are clawing for a move that seems obvious. Jose makes sense. He’s won the league in living memory, he has an excellent understanding of the language and culture, he’s probably the purest pragmatist in the modern game, his track record with African players could be beautiful for Pepe. He will absolutely fix our defence with the tools we have on offer. He would more than likely make us a top 4 team this season.
… but there’s a catch. While you’re begging for Jose to bail you out of your footballing misery, consider the following.
Jose Mourinho is a chequebook manager in every sense of the word. He long gave up sharpening his coaching skills in favour of filling his team full of elite players to push his trophy ambitions. Peak Jose, when he was at Inter Milan, appears to be a distant memory. The job he did at United looks increasingly positive against PE coach, OGS, but be honest, for that outlay, the end product was drab.
To counter the above, I was informed that Jose doesn’t have a backroom team at the moment and he’s apparently in the market for one. If he has accepted that his approach has to develop, and he adds some world-class minds to his brain trust, then you might be talking an evolved beast. On paper though, if he’s the same old Jose, he’s only going to work if he has money to burn. Arsenal spent the money for next summer, when he finds out the coffers are empty, he’ll be a nightmare. Excuses galore, leaks to the press, and a grey cloud of misery will cloud the stadium.
Secondly, Jose brings a big backroom team. That means any visions Raul had of controlling the infrastructure would be gone. Hiring in a manager with a big backroom team is a soft coup. It insulates the manager and gives him control of aspects of the club he shouldn’t have control over. It can also cause cliques. If Jose brings the early days of his career back and we’re winning, it’s good times all round, if he doesn’t, firing him could cost us a fortune. His 2007 sacking cost Chelsea £23m. His United sacking last year cost £19m.
Then there’s the football. Wooooah boy, it is not pretty. However, it’s usually effective. But note this, if you go from Emeryball, which is fucking atrocious, then reengineer the squad to Mourinhoball, you basically say goodbye to the beautiful game. WengerDNA would be wiped out within two managers. That means if you ever want to welcome a Fonseca or a Rose, you’ll have to invest in different players, and likely lose a season of competitiveness as the squad gets used to having the ball at their feet.
There’s also the theatrics. Arsenal, is generally a liked club. Jose, generally, does not play by the rules of most managers. He creates a theatre that revolves around him. This is a guy who abused his own physios for doing their jobs, a man that gouged another man’s eye in the El Classico, there are countless shocking behavioural examples that should concern you as you clamour for winnertivity. Remember, in 2008 when Barca were chasing him, they had to end conversations because he wouldn’t abide by their conduct policy (namely, don’t be awful).
… putting all that to one side. The reality for Raul and Edu is they don’t have any wiggle room this season. It’s literally Champions League or bust. They need top 4 and outside Allegri, who hasn’t managed in the Premier League, there’s no other manager that is more suited to rebooting this season (outside maybe Benitez). He would be the ultimate short-term stopgap, but the fear would be the 4 year deal, because you know it’ll end like most Jose adventures… at 3 years, with plenty of tears.
Right, that’s me done. See you tomorrow. x