Predictably, things are taking a little bit of time. As fans, we’re being whipped into a frenzy by newspapers and journalists trying to maximize their share of the attention carcass.
The latest odd story doing the rounds states Arsenal are yet to make formal contact with Manchester City about a release. I find this one a little weird. Arteta let Guardiola know what was happening last week, per Pep in his press conference… so it’s hard to believe Arsenal’s leadership didn’t speak with the City top dogs despite sharing a box with them at the 0-3 defeat, or after spending the night in Manchester after a botched stealth job at the assistants home.
… but let’s be honest, it’s exactly the sort of weird oversight you wouldn’t put past our leadership team.
I suspect what we’re seeing is a bit of hardball. No one wants to seem like they’re getting fisted in front of the world of football via a hidden camera. No club wants to lose a top coaching talent everyone is raving about. I imagine the posturing is about making a go of it to their own fans who might be wondering why he’s moving. They have to be seen to do something. The release fee is ranging from £500k to £2m. I am sure we can handle that sort of payment and I’m sure City don’t really care about the compensation, it’s more about the PR perception. City don’t often lose.
There are more positive stories elsewhere. Great news that the club is going to keep Freddie onboard. He’s done a fantastic job under very grim circumstances. He’s not thrown anyone under the bus, he’s largely protected the kids, and he’s spoken with eloquence and love in the media. He’s a very, very impressive guy, I hope he’s looked after.
I doubt he’ll be given the assistant job. I think that needs to go to someone with experience, so there’s a counter-balance to Arteta’s relative youth. Torrent and Rodolfo Borrell seem like very obvious candidates, but it’s not clear what positions they’d take up. There might be other names under consideration, still can’t get my mind off the idea of Xabi Alonso in the dugout, it’d be far too saucy, it might even be a distraction.
One person that isn’t happy with the move is Willy Aubameyang. The brother of our captain complained on the internet that Arteta lacked experience. Quite the opinion the drop considering the prestige position his brother holds in the team and in the hearts of the fans. I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise to many, but there are a lot of bad eggs at Arsenal, young and old, that will find their way out of the club this summer. You can’t pin this on Pierre, but really, can you imagine Harry Kane’s family slagging off ‘past it’ Jose on Insta before he started? No chance. There’s just a level of professionalism Arsenal have lacked since Wenger left. Hopefully the new regime will bring a bit of discipline and pride back to the Arsenal operation. Huss, Edu and Raul need to gain a bit of control of the squad. Arteta will need to be given time and a huge amount of visible support. If the players sense they can overpower him, his tenure is dead. I think the 3.5 year deal is important, it says we’re committed to the project. I can’t help but think Emery’s break clause dogged him, particularly in year 2 when the players knew they could end him.
Word has it that Carlo will sit out the game at the weekend, opting to take a seat in the stands and let Ferguson run the game. I’m really struggling to see the benefit of Arteta leading the team out if he’s had no time to work with the players… maybe just having him in the stands will be enough to see a performance from the players? Maybe it doesn’t matter. He’ll only have 5 days with the players before the Bournemouth game, then it’s 3 days before we host a struggling Chelsea, then we have United on the first day of the decade. Quite the baptism of fire, but at least the run is fairly breezy until we go to City at the end of February after that.
It’s great to see the fans are behind this move. I even saw some people retract statements of disgust around Arteta because of the backlash. This move is a smart one for Arsenal. Fan expectation is very low. We’ve hired in a world-class coach, that part can’t be denied, he has the reciepts to prove it. We’ve hired in someone that can speak the language of the country and the league. We have someone with Arsenal DNA in the dugout. We hope the coaching credentials will translate onto the pitch. There is lots of work to do, there are going to be rough patches, but at least there’s some direction now. The rest can be worked out over our 7 month preseason.
I’m keeping this short today, I need to keep some powder dry for the actual announcement of the coach. Fingers crossed he lands today, if he doesn’t, don’t panic… I think it’s too far down the line for even Arsenal to balls it up.
See you in the comments.