Don Raul and his sidekick, Edu, have been given a ‘this is fucked up’ dressing down by Nick Ames in The Guardian who pulls together a list of sources to pour concerns over the way we’re operating. It’s not a pretty read and the opinions he’s pulled together come from a wide variety of people in and around the club.
It’s good to know that leakers are sounding the alarm. You know why they are talking? Because what we are doing doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. After focusing on the obvious WTF moves of the last week, Nick lasers in here with some new information.
Transfers of that nature would, while entirely legitimate, have been anathema under Arsène Wenger. He generally shied away from deals with bigger-name agents and had little time for heavy investments in older players. But Joorabchian’s hand has been evident in a clutch of moves involving Arsenal in the past year, the first being a move that was completed on 8 August, a month after Edu, a former player, returned to Arsenal. The Football Association’s list of intermediary transactions, released this week, shows Sports Invest UK represented Arsenal in Alex Iwobi’s £35m move to Everton.
Iwobi’s and Everton’s side of the deal was, according to the list, overseen separately by the agency that represents the player. It is not unusual for different parties to work on the different ends of a transfer, even more so when involving moves from abroad, and there is no suggestion of any wrongdoing. Some experienced industry figures simply point out that given Arsenal and Everton are familiar rivals and worked together 18 months previously when Theo Walcott made the same move it appears a convoluted way to have done business.
The world of super-agents is not simple to follow, it’s not easy to unpick, and all of that is by design. It’s a little bit of Wall Street in the world of football. You create products and services that skirt close the boundaries and swim in the world of grey. The losers? The fans. Always the fans. Agents take money out of the game, which was fine when the fees were in line with the value they were bringing, but now you’re in a situation where the whole system is out of kilter with reality.
Agents of any sort should be a byproduct of scouting players the right way. What they absolutely can never be is an extension of your club. They should not be the Technical Director or the talent scout. They should not have so much influence they can push a shit manager into the club that cannot speak the local language.
Since then, the suggestion is that Arsenal have surrendered a coherent approach to player-spotting and handed too much power to the contacts books of Edu and the head of football, Raúl Sanllehi. Some members of staff are believed to feel frozen out and there is particular angst that Arsenal, who also conducted a revamp of their academy staff in November, may be losing ground in any chase for the best young players. One former employee claims the club’s approach no longer fitted their values and the high-performance culture fostered under Wenger has been allowed to ebb away.
The notion that Wenger was operating anywhere near a high-performance culture at the end is laughable, but what you could never deny with him is that every move he made was generally with the best interest of the club at heart, even if it was wrong. Can you honestly say that about Arsenal now looking at the way we’re operating?
This sort of pressure from the MSM is just the start. It is now a theme that we make ‘eyebrow-raising’ deals. Keep an eye on it. No one cares about the details when Messi is carrying you to the big trophies while you’re trying to bring in Jean-Michel Seri, but this is Arsenal, and all super-agents have offered Arsenal so far is a further crash in standards. How long until Stan pays attention to the mess his son is at the centre of?
We have an FA Cup game tomorrow against the SUPERB Sheffield United. Chris Wilder’s men have been absolutely excellent all season. They play with great intensity, they offer up a very direct game of football, and they are not to be trifled with. Make no mistake, if we don’t show up tomorrow, it’ll be a very sad journey back home.
The press conference didn’t give a lot away in terms of the game. Arteta seemed to make some cryptic points about Liverpool’s success.
“Well yes because they were in a very difficult position four years ago and they made a lot of right decisions. Some difficult decisions, some unpopular decisions but the right decisions for them. They have been very consistent with their messages, very clear messages from top to bottom, and a ruthless mentality to go every game with the mentality to win the game.”
We need to make better decisions on our squad this summer and the entire football leadership team needs to unite around a vision. Arteta doubled down on the decision making when he tackled the young players.
“I have a lot of faith on all the young talent we have at the football club but we need the right stability and foundations around them to make sure they develop in right way, at the right moment, with the right amount of pressure behind them. In order to do that, it’s a process. If you speed up that process, you risk burning them [out] and we cannot do that. We have some really young players who are playing more football than they probably should be but they are showing great maturity and personality to play in difficult moments which is great for their experience. But we need the other players to support them in the right way and that’s what we are trying to achieve, this balance to be very competitive but excited about the future ahead of us.”
The young players are keeping the club going at the minute. It’s the senior players that have been the issue due to talent, motivation, or contractual issues. If we’re going to elevate our game next season, we need to find players in their mid-twenties that can help elevate the kids. That’ll be tough to navigate in a market where there’s very little money, but there are plenty of players about,
The press tried to angle in on the truth of Matteo, who has told the club he is willing to go if rumours are to be believed.
“All the players that are here, I’m counting on them. If they want to jump on the boat they are more than welcome. That’s always my mindset – I’m here to help all of them to improve individually and collectively, and that is my job.”
That’s a pretty brutal comment to make, but it’s a fair one. Arsenal can’t be held hostage by players who break the rules. We are still a big club and all big clubs have standards with players. Maybe Arsenal are wrong for Matteo right now. Maybe the system could absorb him if we were an actual top 4 club in a better moment. Right now, we need 24 players pushing in the same direction, you can’t compromise on that. When Pep landed at Barcelona, he cleared out the players who didn’t meet the new standards. Huge names. Absolute icons. If you can bin off Ronaldinho because of attitude, then we can try and accept that if Matteo isn’t working out for a 3rd manager, it might be a Matteo thing.
Leave if you want to… unless your name is Saka.
More importantly, who told you Matteo was a problem before anyone else? Me. Same with the Raul worries. Come to Le Grove for the best narratives, unless you are hunting for opinions on CEOs, I have some work to do there.
Right, on that note, I have a little podcast for you, enjoy it, share with your friends, give it a massively good ratings because you love the work. x