Nothing, and I mean nothing… enrages me more than a drip from a badly sealed coffee cup. I would go take a country to war over such a sleight.
I have no segue, I just wanted to share that.
So what do we have today?
ARSENAL SIGNED A PLAYER.
Unreal stuff. The pull of Edu and Mikel is real, we’ve landed the best back-up left-back that money can buy. Nuno Tavares comes into the club for under £10m. He’s a Portuguese U21, he’s a bang-bang kind of player, and his profile closely maps to Kieran Tierney, which means continuity when there’s a need for a rest.
It’s a tough position to fill. Do you go for an experienced head that has no resale value, like Leicester has, or do you sign someone young that might not hit the mark right away? I think this option is best for our business model. It’s also nice for the overall vibe of the squad. Tavares won’t be satisfied with the bench, he’s grown up with Felix, that’ll keep hunger levels in the squad at optimum levels.
Next up would seem most likely to be Sambi Lokonga. Again, the right age profile, a very high ceiling, with a skill set that very closely aligns with Thomas Partey. I think Clive from Arsenal Vision has it right when he says we need to raise the ceiling and the floor. Our floor with midfielders was a basement that had flooded last season. Sambi Lokonga has better potential than anyone we’ve shipped out. We’re moving in the right direction here. I’m still interested to see who we sign to replace Xhaka… hoping it’s Locatelli or someone with his power. But we’ll see.
The pattern: Arsenal building back with young kids with high ceilings.
You love to see it. Also interesting to note that Tavares said his favourite player was ”The Smith’ because he is my generation’… blooding kids shows other young talents that Arsenal is the place to be. I do not think it is a coincidence that the emergence of Saka has coincided with Martinelli, Balogun, Kido Hart, and Okonkwo signing new deals. We’re starting to become the place to be if you are a young player. Bright young coach, massive stadium, London social life, elite training facilities, and the chance to make a name at a club hopefully on the rise.
There’s still a load of work to do moving players on, but this time around, I think we actually have people that other clubs want. Patrick Vieira, fresh off the back of signing the excellent Michael Olise, is apparently interested in adding Eddie Nkeitiah to his squad next season. I think it’s a smart move, he has it in him to be a very good striker, but he needs minutes. You know one thing for certain, he’ll get you goals, hopefully we get more than £12m for him. Wouldn’t it be something in Patrick turned Palace into an exciting team to watch?
Xhaka, Hector, and Kola will be the next names to drop. I suspect we’ll see movement out the club for Ainsley, which is a shame, but he wants a position we can’t give him. There are also positive rumours out of France that suggest Arsenal are not looking to move on Saliba (shocker), they see him as a key part of the future, but the recco is a loan… TAKE THE NEWCASTLE GIG WILLIAM.
Arsenal launched HUGE news yesterday that they are going to do an All or Nothing documentary. It’s a bit annoying because I spent a large part of last summer ripping into Spurs fans about it… but here’s the thing, it makes a lot of sense on so many levels IF you look at football through the prism of ‘it is content’ and ‘it is business.’
Now, I have some expertise here. I’ve spent the last 5 years working closely with an unscripted reality TV network (one of my fave clients ever), which isn’t far off what these shows are. If you can make it work, the positives can be huge. The fandom around these things is SPECTACULAR. You have women leaving them and making $100m. I worked at a convention they held, it was $400 a ticket, it sold out in about 10mins, and it was WILD. Louder than a cup final. These shows connect people to the talent in ways you can’t imagine. I’m not sure if Arsenal has the acumen to make it work for them in that way, but if you do it right and connect all the pieces together, it can have lucrative bottom-line implications.
Some ways it could be good:
After a year of being out the ground, it’s a great way to bring the club closer to the fans. We’re going through a rebuilding process at Arsenal, we’re doing it with young players and a young coach, and it’s exciting. But there’s a huge swath of fans that don’t like it and I suspect some of the logic is that this will humanise the process. It’s hard to hate people when you can see they are trying to do something positive. It’s hard to say ‘it’s all shit’ when you can see it on the TV. This will soften how people see the club.
Additionally, there will be some reputation pumping going on here. The club must think what they are doing is impressive. They must believe that the coaching staff and technical team will come across well. They must have seen that Jose Mourinho came out looking pretty human from the Spurs doco and want a bit of that. There’s an element of ego associated with this, but also the realization that they have come across very badly over the past 5 years.
The worry? When you work in reality TV, you’ll hear it all the time, ‘they didn’t treat me fairly, the full context wasn’t there.’ This is the risk. Amazon is unlikely going to pay £10m to give Arsenal creative control and a veto on the work. I could be totally wrong, but they are a megalith and the job of this doco is have people watch it. They need the drama, they need the bad eggs, they need the heroes, and they need a narrative. Someone will pay the price, because that is how you sell content and get more people buying toilet rolls via Amazon Prime. You have no idea who the editor is, what mood they’re in, or who they support. Being made to look a total whopper on a global scale is not going to be fun, but someone will get that treatment.
I think there’s also a bit of surprise that the Bank Of England club would go down this path. We’re letting people in behind the curtain and it doesn’t feel very Arsenal or aligned to the brand.
Still, get it right and we bring in a whole set of new fans. It’ll shift a whole bunch of merch. It will create a deeper bond between the hardcore that think no one cares. It’ll give a little bit of insight into how our actions online impact the young minds that are trying to do their best. It could be great.
Football is now a content game. Amazon has one of the biggest platforms. Arsenal has a generation of young players that will connect with a new generation of kids looking for somewhere to spend their money. Imagine the wildness of a Bukayo Saka Twitch watch party? Honestly, this is too much for my advertising brain to handle… I know most people hate it, but I think it’s sharp.
If you get time, you should watch the Chivas documentary they have on there now.
Threads that might feel familiar:
- A might club that has fallen
- Owner passes the club to his son
- The club goes on a big spending splurge to get back to the top
- They have a famous technical director that used to be a player
- They are trying to bring back a winning mentality
The storytelling is a little frenzied, but you empathise with everyone at the club. Worth a watch.
Right, I’ll see you in the comments my darlings. Remember to listen to the podcast this week. We’ll be doing one again on Tuesday!