The media is alive like a pit of vipers, all looking for their hot take on a story they don’t yet have. A little like some of the nonsense that was fed into the airwaves when we were hiring for the Wenger replacement. It makes for interesting reading, dependent on how you want to spin it for yourself.
The through-thread I’m hearing is quite simple: We don’t have a plan.
If you take that as your north star, it makes it easier to work out what’s real and what’s fantasy.
I am more inclined to believe the stories that Arsenal are not going to budge on ousting Unai Emery, namely because there’s no suitable replacement candidate, and there’s been no detailed undertaking of what’s in the market at the moment.
It’s also important to remember that Unai Emery is Don Raul’s man. When Arteta lost out because Ivan G lost his nerve, it was our lead football exec who brought Emery in for the magical interview with the powerpoint dossier. He’s attached to Unai, there’s either going to be a level of faith in his hard skillz (lol), or there’s going to be a level of stubbornness in the decision.
You also have to remember that Arsenal are not fast movers. Mountains of evidence supported Wenger being a busted flush, but things didn’t move against him until the stadium emptied out and the finances started to weaken. It’s very rare that a manager has ever been as bad as Unai Emery and turned things around. It is in the Kroenke DNA to really, really, really make sure the manager they have in charge is completely useless before they pull the trigger.
I’d also be paying attention to the reality of our finances. We pulled money from next season into last summer to make the big fancy signings happen. That was the financial trick. There’s probably an element of worry with firing Emery: ‘Do we really want to spend upwards of £12m to fire the coach and the 6+ people he brought along for the ride?’
I was told at the start of the season the chances of Emery being let go early were very slim. In fairness, I’m not sure anyone thought things would be this bad, this soon. There are some stories saying that he’ll be out the door if he loses next weekend. I think that’s fanciful. The bigger concern is that a lot of papers are saying he’ll be given a month to turn things around.
I worry if we go a month, it’s going to be impossible for any caretaker to get things back on track. The best choice if we did that would be Freddie Ljungberg, but that’s hugely risky. Bringing in a young coach to take over in a crisis isn’t ideal.
I’ve done to death the Jose Mourinho counter-argument. There are fans saying that talk of ‘values’ is weak sauce and that we shouldn’t pay attention to things like that.
I really dislike this line of argument. ‘Values’ when used to deflect a lack of competitiveness is unacceptable. Arsenal tried to tie the two things as inextricably linked during the bad years because it made for easy reading to the soft fanbase who saw Wenger as their daddy.
‘Chelsea may have trophies, but where’s the class? Not for me’
When we’re talking about values and Jose Mourinho, the commentary has more grounding in reality. You really are attacking who you are as a club when you make that appointment.
But honestly, fuck the talk of values. That is the last thing on my list of why nots when it comes to hiring in Jose.
The man is finished as an elite level coach. Just look at his idea of modern football. Look at the footballing output at United having spent £300m+.
‘But did he have a say on the players?’
Can you IMAGINE Jose Mourinho at United’s Pleasure Island for Faded Managers NOT having a say on players? He’s literally one of the most powerful coaches on the planet. He would have had total control over decisions. He is a King. He lives off his once elite reputation as the Special One. He had control, and while Manchester City were out there creating the next generation of cognitive football, he’s making excuses about the lack of investment and defending his painfully dated footballing philosophy.
Don’t worry about values people, with Jose Mourinho, it’s lose/lose. You’re bringing in the most toxic man in world football, and by the way, he’s going to crash your club within 2 seasons, likely with little to show for it.
Arsenal are in this situation because they hired a coach based on an objective.
‘Get Champions League’
We didn’t hire a coach thinking of the 3-5 year plan of where we planned to take the club. We weren’t thinking about how to be competitive. We just hired in someone based on his glamourous previous job.
The fans will now demand our next hire is a ‘proven winner.’ But it’s the wrong way to look at it. Hiring a winner took United to LVG after David Moyes. It then took them to Jose Mourinho. Now they’re in all sorts of trouble because the correct decision was a young innovative coach, but when they finally made that decision they did it based on emotion, not smarts.
We built a global brand playing stunning football. We are not currently capable of behaving like a superclub. Arsenal has a golden generation of kids coming through. We have a squad built for attacking football.
Our next hire needs to be mapped to our reality.
There is no point in hiring the archetypal ‘winner’ because that sort of reputation is ALWAYS tied to a chequebook manager. We can only afford to work with one of those types on the way out of the top tier (Jose). We need to make our gains by hiring in someone that can outperform our resources. That has to be a coach with ideas, someone that’s happy to work with what is on offer at Arsenal, someone that wants to grow into a king.
Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments.