You can pinpoint the moment everything went to shit for Mikel Arteta. It was a couple of summers back when Vinai put Edu out on his lawn to tell the world he was over the moon that Arteta had been given a promotion after 6 months and that they had both been put on the same level.
Yep, only months after Vinai and Don Raul had been flagged internally for having a not-so-great power-sharing dynamic… Vinai demoted his technical director to power share with Arteta.
Why doesn’t powersharing work? It’s very simple. We’re not programmed to share. Shared leadership is usually built on the absurd notion of ‘we basically agree on everything’ or ‘we’re adults, we’re more than capable of hashing things out.’
No. No. No.
Power-sharing goes one of two ways. There’s an alpha and a beta in all but name or there is a massive fight to the death and nothing gets done. Power-sharing is the worst on many levels. It’s confusing for staff because no one knows who makes the decisions. It slows down decision making and reduces efficiency. It creates toxic cliques because the loudest voices usually win. It’s generally very ugly. When there are two cooks in the leadership kitchen, everyone thinks they are accountable, or no one does. Every good decision everyone wants to own, anything bad can be blamed on the other. Just look at the mess of Willian, has Arteta owned it? No. It’s better to let everyone blame Edu, who could just as easily have pushed it through with his agent.
News seeped out of the club yesterday that Edu’s job is under threat. Tony Banks at the Express say he could be on the chopping block and The Mirror are running hit pieces, a paper which John Cross looks after.
Now, I’ve told you from the start that Edu likely isn’t up to snuff. We’ve seen horrendous wastage under his ‘leadership,’ he was at the table for some of our worst deals under Raul, and his closeness with super-agents went from ‘Pete, you’re going overboard here’ to ‘OMFG he’s on a yacht with Kia and a disgraced exArsenal exec’ this summer. People keep on joking about the BBQ outrage, but the people doing that don’t work in jobs with leaders that care about optics. If your club is on fire, you don’t want your main man posting holiday pictures on his public IG stories all summer. It’s a small detail, but when you are being paid a million+ a year, those things matter.
Back to the leak
It’s going to very difficult to work out where the truth is on this matter because there is clearly a power struggle unfolding at Arsenal. Mikel Arteta’s opening press conference wasn’t aimed at you and I, it was aimed at Vinai and Josh K. Arteta didn’t have what he wanted for the start of the season and that was the fault of Edu. No two ways about it, that was a shot fired.
It is clear as day that Edu and Arteta have fallen out. I mean, let’s be real, who hasn’t Arteta fallen out with? Our manager is transactional, he’s the Donald Trump of football, if you do not serve a purpose for him, he’s not interested.
The challenge for Josh is that both of them are underperforming.
If I were to run the numbers on this sort of scenario, I would conclude that the weaker party is likely Edu.
Josh K is about to sign off a contract termination for Willian that will likely involve paying a hefty fee to the worst signing of all time. Arteta was no doubt there, hounding the club to do it, but so was Edu’s and his smug super agent.
Our right-back situation is shocking. Soares is sitting on 90k a week. He’s awful. Arteta is begging for a proper right back. Who suggested that player? Kia. Arteta put that player on the pitch against Chelsea, was he our best right back? Nope. Did the decision stick it to Edu? Maybe.
Who brought David Luiz to the club on £200k a week when we could have signed a 21 year old?
Pablo Mari, another super-agent recommendation, has been at the heart of our problems this season. Where did he come from? The same super-agent that recommended Unai Emery.
Arteta is costing us points at the moment, but they have seen what he is capable of… and they have experience of a young coach at The Rams who has good people around him. Edu has cost the club money. After watching KSE operate over the years, which do you think is of more concern, lost money or 6 points at the start of a season?
If I were Josh K, and I was seriously considering the future of Edu (not my view, just hypotheticalling on the paper), then I would be thinking this way.
- Arsenal made a shocking error promoting Mikel Arteta, it needs to be rectified
- Edu was not the level of leadership needed to drive us from a Technical perspective, which is why he was demoted
- Any new Technical Director will absolutely need to be positioned above Arteta so we can gain some control a maturity in the backroom
- If we move fast, this new Technical Director will have 3 months to assess what the fuck is going on behind the scenes, so if the worst happens, they can install a new coach that is tailored to the profile of the players we currently have
If, if, if we are going to make a leadership change, we cannot do it based on a name. We have to bring in a Technical Director that suits the squad of players we have just signed.
- We need a Technical Director we expertise in youth development, because we don’t have the money to compete at the highest level right now
- We need someone that has worked in Europe, a huge miss with Edu
- We need someone that can demonstrate a certain style of football that is pleasing to the fans. No point in hiring someone that doesn’t like the play posession based football, it won’t cut it with the fans
- We need someone that can make a little go a long way. No point in hiring someone from Barcelona or Manchester City, because the remit is different. We need someone that buys low and sells high consistently.
- We need someone with experience because there’s very little of that elsewhere in our football setup.
- We need someone that is connected with deal making experience. Marina at Chelsea moves players on. Zorc at Dortmund always sells. Edu is shocking at this part of the job.
- We need to find someone that isn’t drenched in dodgy stories of backroom deals and super agent boat trips
A battle between the Technical Director and a manager should only end one way, that’s with the manager exiting the club. The fact that there’s even a question over which struggling staffer should be exited is a massive red flag.
Arsenal shouldn’t waste the opportunity. Get someone in fast, get someone that can build around Arteta (or sack him), bring some control back to the club, shift out the dross that’s holding us back.
Now, all of the above is a bit of a guess, but I don’t think it’s far from the truth. We knew the Arteta/Edu story would end in tears, and we know the one things you don’t ever do with KSE is embarrass them, or waste there money. I think Edu has done both and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him shown the door.
The problem for Arteta is he might see that as a victory, but for me, he’s let a trojan horse in the back door… because no decent Technical Director will sit at the same level as Arteta, and if KSE have a single clue, they’ll make sure the wings of Arteta are well and truly clipped.
Interesting times ahead.
West Brom later. Must win. No excuses today. Let’s see what we have.