Well, it didn’t take long for the shine to rub from the Thomas Partey transfer.
Arsenal managed to get themselves into the weirdest fight of 2020 as Mesut Özil and our exec leadership traded blows over the redundancy of the man behind the Gunnersaurus.
Now, let me cover off a few things.
Firstly, my deepest sympathies to Jerry Quy who lost his job after many years of loyal service. I cannot imagine how tough this moment must be for him. Losing your job is bad enough without being part of a PR war of attrition with the most famous footballer in North London.
The way Arsenal dealt with the mascot situation was absolutely horrendous. Binning off a very visible part of the club and burying the story on transfer deadline day felt very, very amateur. Leadership is often about managing contradictions, but firing the mascot whilst lavishing £50m on a £250k a week player felt like corporate doublespeak in the extreme.
Machiavelli in The Prince suggests that cruel acts be done all at once to maintain power over the people. Arsenal’s slow drip, drip, drip of bad news suggests leadership skipped this chapter. We sacked the scouts. Then the 55. Then, weirdly, word dropped that the mascot had been binned. What an utterly pointless exercise in cost-cutting that lacked any humanity for the employee or self-awareness for how this would play out with the footballing community. Savings should be done with people in mind, this sort of exercise looked like the back-office spreadsheet merchants had been let loose without a sentient minder. Horrible stuff.
Next up, Mesut Ozil, PR guru of the internet swept in and offered to pick up the salary.
Firstly, it’s lovely that he’s willing to step in for someone. You can’t knock that. But the move is painfully transparent. The sole purpose of his campaign was to embarrass the club. I’d liken the move to calling your boss a ‘faaacking melt’ in an aggressive Essex accent, in the moment, you feel like a hero, but the next morning, when you realise you’ve just screwed your life so bad you’ll be adding skimmed cows milk to your Nescafe instant coffee… you feel silly.
This is another of Mesut’s classic contradictions. Salaries weren’t important a few weeks ago when he was trying to assess the business implications of the pandemic. He didn’t accept his 12.5% pay cut on his £18.2m a year salary when nearly everyone else did. That totalled £2,184,000. He didn’t step forward for the 55 laid off in the first round, a rumoured bill of £2.5m. That’s his decision, but it makes it clear the target of his generosity was not Jerry, it was to humiliate Arsenal at the cost of a day’s wages.
The club deserved the humiliation in this case, Arsenal’s own goal was greeted with the disdain it deserved, but bigger picture, what was the point for Mesut the footballer?
A lot of fans were hoping there’d be one more chance, his fans were pleading for ‘The Last Dance’, but after this? It’s a struggle to see how he can come back from it. What is super odd is that his people thought it was a good idea. He’s just told the world he does his own thing. He’s not a team player. He now operates as a lone wolf. Why would you want that to be the messaging for your personal brand in the final year of your deal?
The staff knew where it was going with Mesut, the predictable pattern of injuries, the lack of interest in new requirements like club Zoom calls and homework. It doubled down on what we all suspected, this is a player that doesn’t really care anymore. That’s sad. He’s an outrageous talent on his day. It is such a shame that he still wants a fight no one really cares about.
Still, it’ll be over by next June. Until then, it’ll be fascinating to see what Arteta does about it, or more likely, does not do about it.
Onto other news. I like the low-key job Per and Edu have been doing with the youth team this summer.
- Lewis 18
- Akinola 19
- Dinzeyi 20
- Möller 18
- Ideho 17
- Salah 17
- Rekik 18
Data led scouting. A low-risk/high-reward strategy. A group of players that will all fit the profile of what Arteta wants in his players. On paper, it seems very promising. All you need is one of them to come good and you pay for the entire process.
There was a bit of shock on the Premier League website as the squads for this season were updated. Pablo Mari and Cedric were missing. Well apparently, that list isn’t final until October 15th or so. The question is, who makes the squad and who doesn’t? Will we keep Mesut on the books after yesterday’s episode? Which defenders stay and which go? I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out.
That’s all I have time for today. Listen to my podcast. Enjoy the slow couple of weeks we have coming up. See you in the comments. x