You gotta love Arsenal.
Vinnai: ‘Yoooo, where shall we meet?’
Arteta: ‘Come to mine, but please, be discreet’
For fuck’s sake, Vinny. What are you playing at? You look like you’ve just performed a tactical chunder after Jaeger Bomb number 6 – the concerned look of a man worried he’s just soiled the tyre of a local gangster.
There are conspiracy theories doing the rounds that the above etiquette was so outrageously amateur, it might have been a ploy to flush out Pochettino.
Don’t be ridiculous. This is just a mistake. Top execs never want to be perceived as sloppy.
Also, let’s square this noise with Poch. The man wasted the last two years of his Spurs career so he could be the first manager in the new stadium. Do we really think that this summer, when he can freely move, he’s going to turn down City, Bayern and PSG to pick up our shit show for half his market value? I very much doubt it.
… but, back to the main story. All the winds are blowing in the direction of Arteta. He had Huss and Vinnai over to his house. I hear he laid on homemade sangria to set the tone… left Shakespeare, Orwell, and Amis on the coffee table to denote the sophistication of his British prose, and he had the Gervais series of The Office running in the background as a subtle dig at some of the goings-on of Unai Emery. The man gets it, he truly does, he even rocked a Savile Row 3 piece, the boy knows what the fans want. Taking the meeting in a home location as well, stunning, the man clearly rolling hard on the 3 free articles a month on HBR, Mikel, may I suggest Team of Rivals; Doris Kearns, a leadership classic, it blew my fucking mind. What a man Big Abe was, could he organise a back four on a cold night in Stoke, no doubt, no doubt.
This appears to be the 2nd or 3rd round of interviews according to reports. We are shifting into 5th gear heading into the final straight, Carlo Ancelloti has just swerved off the road into an Everton shaped puddle, this could be the real deal.
Never underestimate a gigantic fuck up, but this time, it looks like we could see Mikel Arteta at The Arsenal.
Rumours have it that City are upset about how Arsenal conducted themselves, so we’ll be paying out a fee to release the Spaniard, but they’re going to play ball. I would guess there might also be some conversations about when the start date needs to be as well. Does he step into the flames considering the next two weeks worth of fixtures? Or do the club start him in the new year? My guess, the sooner they can get him into the club, the better. We’re a complete mess.
I also suspect he’ll fancy his chances at making the top 4 this season.
This move is absolutely huge for Arsenal. It’d be a step in the right direction. We’re at a low ebb as a club, we’re not going to be able to buy our way out this summer, our only chance of a bright future is to rely on a coach that can develop our exciting young players and see out the senior dross in a Game of Thrones blood bath.
If Arteta signs, which I hope he does, he basically has a 7 month preseason (similar to Klopp). He’ll have to survey the wreckage of what he’s inherited, begin to implement a vision, and partner with the powers that be on what the rebuild will look like.
The OUT list:
All the above players are in the final year of their deal this summer and all bar Mustafi will be in their 30s by next summer. That makes them easier to move on, see Koscielny’s shit-fit last summer for confirmation that older men worry they are one injury away from having their future value halved. I would also suspect we’ll see exits for Xhaka (shite) and Lacazette (2 years left on deal). There could be £150m in fees up for grabs and £1m a week in wages.
With all that in mind, it is absolutely essential Edu and Cagigao know exactly what they are recruiting for. It’s also important they know the sort of staff they should be building around the new coach.
Mikel Arteta needs to be the real deal. We’ve had the fall guy post-Wenger in Emery. Freddie doesn’t really count. We’ve pushed all our chips onto someone that we hope embodies everything we want out of the game. Possession based attacking football of the future. This could be incredibly exciting if it works out.
The great news is the fans have been primed for the job Arteta has to do. There are no illusions about how hard things are going to be. It’s going to take some time, we’re going to see some bad results, we’re not going to have a title-winning side by March. I’m ok with that because at least we’ll be safe in the knowledge we’re building towards something exciting. No more bums at Arsenal, no more frauds that don’t love the club, it’s all about building a modern superclub with a young, innovative coach.
I think the Bundesliga is a great place to look when it comes to up and coming coaching trends. Klopp was my hipster favourite before Thomas Tuchel, now he’s blowing shit up at Liverpool. The top two teams in Germany are RB Leipzig, who have a sub-35 Nagelsmann at the wheel, and Gladbach, who hired in my RB Salzburg fave, Marco Rose. Both managers, total unknowns 3 years ago, now toppling the mighty Bayern. RB doing it with a squad with an average age of sub 24.
Hiring in Carlo would have been a disaster, the game has passed him by. You need modern thinkers that can see football from a different viewpoint, not Galactico relics. Arsenal needs a coach that work effectively with technology, scientists and analysts to gain a critical edge over their opponents. People that don’t subscribe to old fashioned notions, like ‘making more tackles wins you games.’ The sort of talent that’s moist at the concept of cognition in football. Someone that really pisses off Paul Merson and Matt Le Tissier.
Arteta loves the club.
Ahh man, Arteta loves Arsenal, watch this video. https://t.co/wrII14HU6j
— Le Grove (@LeGrove) December 16, 2019
He understands the culture. He’ll know all the things that are right and he’ll have an idea on how to fix those that are wrong. One thing you’ll never be able to accuse him of is doing things that work just for him. Emery chasing Europa League instead of top 4? Felt like he was doing that for the record books. I’m hoping we have a manager that has the right amount of Arsenal DNA. Remember, he took a pay cut to join and won trophies with us. He cried because he loves us.
Look at that video again, right now.
You back… all welled-up? Wonderful.
As for the players leaking their concerns to The Mirror (supposedly). Fuck em’ if they are real. Pep G took over at Barcelona and shipped out the problem children in his first major job at 38 years old. He told Eto’o, Deco and Ronaldinho to leave, then he built a team for the ages around Messi, utilising exciting young players to make him great. Who cares what our senior players think, they’ve been awful, we need a refresh.
A few people have mentioned that I’ve put my neck on the line for this coach. No doubt, because I believe in the idea. I’d rather shoot for the moon than settle on something that’ll ‘might’ move us a few percentage points forward if we’re lucky. Fuck that. We’ve spent 14 years playing it safe. Our meek fanbase has celebrated ‘influencers’ that warned us to ‘be careful what you wish for.’ How did that pan out? Settling for Wenger’s ‘top 4 trophy’ didn’t move us forward. We let him sink our club into mediocrity under the guise of class, he wasted disgraceful amounts of money, built a soft boy culture, and allowed elite players to leave for nothing because his ego couldn’t handle that top names would earn more money than him. Falling into Emery’s Europa League safety blanket didn’t make things better, his Europa experience wasn’t a benefit, it was a low benchmark our players happily sank below. Freddie is a dreamboat, but we knew he wasn’t right. So let’s try something bold, let’s push the needle, let’s see what all the fuss is about with the most hyped assistant manager in world football.
Could it be any worse than what we have now? No chance… and the upside could be incredible.
… before any of that can happen, let’s see if Arsenal can seal the deal. I was asked on Love Sport yesterday what Josh K would be looking for in a new coach. My guess? Someone that can deliver on ‘be excited’, hopefully, he feels that vibe from Mikel. Let’s see what happens, a young coach with vision took LA to the Super Bowl.
P.S. I’m back in London this week… get in! Now listen to my damn podcast and rate it 5*.