I am so sorry that I broke the website. I needed to freshen up things and I made the Unai Emery of IT choices. Will be fixed today.
Don Raul has been at Arsenal for about two years now.
He has overseen the rebuild of Arsenal in the post-Wenger era.
I think it’s time to ask questions about the direction he’s taking Arsenal.
Unai Emery was his decision. The Basqueman was brought in through the back door after Ivan Gazidis lost his nerve during the recruitment process. We interviewed Unai on the 10th of May and hired him on the 18th. The interview process started on April 25th, the club knew they were firing Wenger in January. Raul, without doubt, had to act as the translator in the interview. Ivan doesn’t speak Spanish, nor does Ivan Gazidis. Together, they all agreed that they were inspired by Unai Emery.
Ivan specifically noted that no one during the process pulled out. Allegri and Rangnick were on that list. We ignored Conte, Rodger and Jardim.
Absorb how hilarious the criteria list now looks:
“We had some clear criteria that we were looking for in our selection, the first was progressive, entertaining football, a personality that fits with Arsenal’s values and also a record of developing players, in particular, young players through detailed, tactical instruction and also through cultural demands, pushing players and demanding more from them.
“Obviously all football clubs have an ongoing review process, but we looked through and analysed on the basis that every coach in the world would be interested in this position. We don’t believe there is a position in world football that is more attractive than Arsenal Football Club and having gone through that process and series of references, and a good deal of analysis, we created a long-list, an eight-person list.
The list of Emery traits is even more perplexing.
“He came in extraordinarily well-prepared, with a detailed knowledge of Arsenal Football Club. He had an analysis to share with us, not just of his ways of working and of his ways of coaching, and the team of people he works with, but he had an analysis of all of our individual players, their qualities and how he feels he can help them develop individually and collectively – in detail. Also an in-depth knowledge of our off-the-field team, and how they can contribute and how Unai’s team would mesh with them productively.
I’ve not seen much of the above come through during his tenure and we’re over 15 months in. I am going to be honest here, I’m not sure the PowerPoint Emery came in with was the visionary document our leadership team would have you believe.
Did it involve binning off Ramsey? Alienating Mesut Ozil? Playing a brand of football that has the stadium as empty as it was for the dark days of Wenger FOR A SATURDAY 3PM GAME? Did it involve Xhaka as the central figure in our midfield… etc etc.
Ivan spun us a yarn about a detailed search and select process when in reality, we made a desperate panic purchase. Even basic due diligence would have uncovered the consistent passing up of leads, a bad record with big egos, difficulty learning new languages, an inability to build defences, and a reputation for desperately negative football.
Raul must be suffering buyers remorse. He bought a Robin Reliant on Ebay after 10 beers and he’s trying to convince car experts it’s a Porsche 911.
Emery put the kids out against a very average Vitoria side yesterday and flunked the tie. Europa League football was his comfort blanket, a weekly moment we could all rely on to forget the demise of our great club, but not yesterday. We managed 1 shot on target. We conceded 15 attempts, Vitoria had 4 on target. We took our 4th lead in 4 games and gave it up.
This is not a player issue, this is a coaching standards problem. Emery actually thought the defending was good.
Watching our manager in the rain hiding under his hood reminded me of Steve McClaren with the brolly when he was the England manager. He’s beaten. I’m not sure he knows how to fix a squad that doesn’t want to respond to ideas.
It’s clear this isn’t a long term solution, but the big fear is what comes next.
Raul thought Unai Emery was a protagonist that painted beautiful football. How can we trust him with the next step, which is basically another rebuild?
He’s been with the club for 2 years now and he’s dining out with Jose Mourinho during a crisis. The rumour was denied, but that story came from The Times and was penned by a proper journalist. How can our Football CEO be so irresponsible? How can you look at Jose’s deeply noxious relationship with the club and be captivated? How can you look at the way he has crashed every club he goes to and want some of that for The Arsenal? Beggars belief… but look, this is a man that was inspired by Unai Emery.
Worse still, how can you think our owners are going to want him in our dugout? Not because Stan K cares, more because of what Jose represents to their day to day. Ivan and Arsene were given the keys to Arsenal for so many years because they understood the Kroenke’s wanted the easy life. They owners have real estate DNA. They want tenants with fat kids and boring lives. They don’t want teenagers that are causing havoc at all hours. Jose Mourinho is a noisy tenant. He’s a bad egg to start with, so the press whirlwind is going to cause them anxiety. He isn’t at the cutting edge of coaching, so the only way he can win these days is by writing cheques. He’s a wrecking ball to a carefully built club infrastructure, so he’ll be expensive to move on. His football will have the fans miserable once the ‘Special One’ sauce rubs off after 3 months.
Do you think that is the sort of manager the Kroeke’s are going to indulge?
In LA, KSE are giving chances to young coaches that are innovative and entertaining. Are they really going to sign off on the most prolific arsonist in football management?
I hope not.
That said, I’m not sure there’s a plan in the works to replace Emery.
If it’s not Jose Mourinho, it’ll have to be Freddie Ljungberg. I love the guy, but I think we could be welcoming another problem. He’s a lovable risk, but his coaching credentials are working under Unai Emery and getting relegated with Joncker in Germany. I could be totally wrong, I hope I am, but I don’t think we’re hiring our way out of this mess if we move Emery on this weekend.
Oddly, we’re almost in a position where it’s more dangerous to sack Emery.
We should be making a well thought out decision right now, one for the future, one that is backed by detailed and insightful recommendations, not moving hard on a has-been or a coach very early in his career that has already relegated a team.
Bayern Munich fired Kovac and they were linked heavily with Arsene Wenger yesterday. Rapha H, the defacto go-to on all things Bayern says he’s not on the shortlist. Point is, it’s slim pickings. Worth noting, Ralph Rangnick wouldn’t even entertain a phone call with them. That’s how tough the job market is. I also don’t think we’ll move for Allegri, he has a big financial appetite and I suspect the club passed on him for a very specific reason last time. Maybe dry football and issues with language were the sticking point? Ironic if that were the case.
We are in a disastrous position now. Big trouble awaits. We didn’t move on Emery this summer despite it being absolutely clear he was not going to drive us forward. I can have some sympathy for Edu, he’s new to Arsenal, but Raul? A few shiny transfers that have so far tanked will not gloss over his choice of Unai Emery. That’s on him. Rectifying it with Jose Mourinho will further prove out my fear that he’s not the full package we hoped for.
The mutterings I hear about current situation are not positive. Take that how you will, but I have sailed pretty close to the truth on the big narratives, I consistently hear from people close to the action that the new setup is not right.
Raul can hide behind Ivan G, but he was the football guy. He can push Edu into the mix, but he’s new. He owns the mess. He owns the PR debacle of Xhaka and Mesut Ozil. He was responsible for the Mourinho dinner.
It’s time to clean up and start delivering on fixing the mess. It’s time to craft a plan. It’s time to prove that he truly is a Don, because as it stands, he’s looking more and more like a used car salesman trying his hand at running a space agency.
Let’s see what happens next, but beware the tonic of change, it might have a nasty aftertaste.
FRESH PODCAST MEAT: Matt Kandela back on the mic, all the issues, from Xhaka through to Don Raul. Please listen, you fucking owe it to me for spending so much money fixing the comments
(a bit of white noise as I transition to Skype calls, bear with me this once, I’ll have fixed it for the future)