There are a lot of rumours doing the rounds that Unai Emery could be entering the ‘win or you’re out’ zone. Sarri heard rumours about a similar situation at Chelsea before the Europa League final last year and basically said, if that’s the view, fire me now, it’s no way to run the football club.
I tend to agree. Don’t sack if you don’t have a plan in the back pocket of what’s next. Also, don’t sack if the plan is terrible.
The stark reality the club are facing is this: Lose against Leicester and you will likely be 9 points behind 3rd and 4th. Not insurmountable, but certainly a huge body blow heading into the dark months of fatigue and rainy days against top 6 sides.
Raul doesn’t have the most elite taste when it comes to managers, my worry with him has always been that he’d see us as a Barca-lite. We know he’s an ego guy that mixes in high society circles. That, in my opinion, has led to a false sense of who we are. I raise that, because when you spend your time hoping to be something you are not, you make bad choices. David Luiz will cost us £40m all in, it looks good on paper, but it’s been a disaster and he’s 32. That sort of move is a high society move.
Dinner with Jose Mourinho is a bad choice. Dig into it though, why would you go to dinner with that man? Because it’s a statement about who you are. It’s star fucking. Is it good for the club? No. But it says something to people who roll those circles.
I think the backlash from most of the major Arsenal media will put an end to Jose dreams, though we can’t be sure. However, I don’t expect that to push us into the path of the sort of manager that will be good for us.
We should be looking at names that do a lot with a little, or coaches that have untapped stardust.
A manager like Lucian Favre is desperately untrendy, but he’s been all around the world and he’s working magic with a superb young cast at Dortmund. He consistently outperforms his xG, the football he plays is exciting and he’s truly a tactical master. The way he turned around that Inter game last week was something else.
He’s not trendy though. There’s nothing saucy about his resume, though he’s built for an underdog job, which is exactly what we are.
There are plenty of hip names out there that could also excite. It’s hard not to pay close attention to the work of Paulo Fonseca; the saucy Portuguese created a mini-Man City over in Donetsk, now he’s sitting in 3rd with Roma. He has style, he’s grounded in Italian football, and the Premier League would be immense for him. He also has real nice hair.
He recently lost to Marco Rose’s Monchengladbach, as you know, he’s my new dream. If you want clarity about who he is, check out his 11 principles of management. He has sauce, he took Salzburg a long way in the Europa League and he went unbeaten in Austria. Now he’s transported his heavy pressing vision of football into Monchengladbach, who are topping the German league.
It’s early days, he could go the way of Ralph H at Southampton, but his partnership with Rene Maric seems to be built on something solid and smart. Here’s some details on his tactics so far this season.
I will run a deeper analysis at some point, but my point here is that now we’re being linked to Luis Enrique. A man that rocked the treble at Barcelona, a player of extreme prestige, someone that is a high society type of guy… but would he be right for Arsenal?
I don’t think the filter of, ‘better than Unai’, is where we need to be looking. We need to be hiring in a manager that has a distinct vision of where the game is going, and we need to have someone that has an underdog mentality. That’s why I like Ralph Rangnick. That’s why Nagelsmann is impressive. Even Allegri to a certain degree was an underdog at the highest levels of European football, the Juve spend to success was impressive, they were run a little like Spurs until recently.
Can you create a competitive edge with top tier managers with with midlevel money, or does that create an imbalance? Jurgen Klopp is still out greatest miss because he was a top tier manager with a midtier mindset to creation. He had never had £200m to spend until he went to Liverpool. He was an underdog. He was the perfect manager for a rebuild. That’s what we need.
I also want to hark back to my point about vision. I know that people associate this sort of babble with hipsterism, but just as oat milk and elite couture shouldn’t be frowned at, an understanding of where the game is going shouldn’t be either. Case in point: Thiago Motta.
He caused ructions in the football world when he played a 2-7-2 in the PSG youth leagues. His belief is you take out the power and pace era by flooding the midfield. He sees the keeper as an integral part of that process. That’s advanced thinking. Here are the details.
Will this work? Who knows. But the exPSG player landed a job at Genoa and this is what he’s producing after three games (also worth checking out the quality of goals here).
How can Thiago Motta have Genoa playing like this after three games pic.twitter.com/eJffGGznKI
— Renato (@rehnato) November 4, 2019
So in short, the next Arsenal manager needs to be a statement of vision, not a big name because it gives the club a short hit of prestige.
Who would you hire for a replacement?
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