Arsenal head into deadline day evening with quite a lot of things moving in the transfer window.
The biggest story yesterday was the botched PR of Ainsley Maitland-Niles. This is another superb example of what a lack of leadership does at a club.
Long and short. Mikel Arteta and Edu have fallen out, so there’s no clarity in the system. Ainsley complained last summer that no one talked to him, clearly, once again, he didn’t have a clue what was going on with his future… then he exploded the situation by telling the world he wasn’t wanted at Arsenal.
David Ornstein piled on by stating that Ainsley had told the club he was willing to fight for a full back position.
When Mikel Arteta arrived at the club, he came armed with a vision for how he wanted to play, and a remit to change the culture at the club. As it stands, it looks like he’s failing on both fronts.
Building a culture is about establishing a unifying set of standards that everyone can exist in. There are things you can do to reinforce culture. Armies have exacting standards over uniform, Toussaint Louverture, the Haitian general that led a revolution against France, decked out his free slaves in uniform to make them feel worthy and give them visual structure (they successfully drove Napoleon out of Haiti). Facebook created a ‘break stuff fast’ mentality to ensure they were ahead of the curve, and to let employees know that breaking stuff wasn’t a career-ender (that risk-taking approach had to change when they reached a certain scale). Apple has built a machine so focused on elite design, if you work them as an agency, you have to hire a world-class deck designer because the smallest error can throw a meeting.
The title of this headline is exactly what is wrong at Arsenal FC. Nothing sums up the imbalance of power or the lack of leadership and vision quite like the flow of people telling you that this ‘Mini Arsene’ term is bandied around in the unkindest of ways.
Arsene Wenger was a monster of a leader for the first 14 years of his tenure. He controlled the club with an iron fist because he had deep battle scars and a tremendous body of victories under his belt. When David Dein left the club, he took control because he could, and the club wanted him to.
That was a dangerous model to embrace regardless of his talents. The power of ‘one man’ control is only good for as long as the talent is fresh. If the person has a decline in ideas or starts to lose the curiosity that drove them to success, your system fails, and usually… dictators surround themselves with sycophants, so you end up being the emperor with no clothes on, with no one to tell you your saggy backside in the kitchen is unacceptable.
Mikel Arteta and Arsenal fans entered a new phase in the relationship which usually spells the end.
Arsenal put on such a bad performance, it was hard to feel anything for the day.
You could have sympathy for the situation if you didn’t have the wider context of what’s been going on at Arsenal. The team started brightly, the system looked interesting and it had City a little bit on the back foot in a way we’ve not seen before. The players looked comfortable, we were moving the ball well… then BANG.
Arsenal winning games makes life better. It’s as simple as that. In a complicated and stressful world, football is the antidote. Mikel Arteta has not made life easy over the past year, but it’s clear, if things get better over the next two months, fans will get back on side… because it’s hard to be angry when your team is winning games with style.
That won’t happen this weekend.
We’re probably going to get pasted.
BUT, I would like to see a concerted effort to show up and play some pragmatic football.
The Chelsea game was naive, probably on purpose. I don’t want to see that against City. The moron brigade demanding we go up North and put on a show are painfully deluded about where we are with this project. I want to see a shithousing. 3 at the back, everyone dying for the cause… Auba with a 78th-minute chance that could decide the game. This squad can defend, we’ve seen it against good teams, I’d like to see a boring starting 11 with a street-fighting attitude.
That might involve a really boring performance from Mo Elneny in midfield, but if it’s what we need to get the job done, let’s have it. It certainly can’t involved Kola as centre back or any other galaxy brain move.
The WBA outing might have been against meek opposition, but it was with our first team, and it was beyond a conventional win. If you are a striker, you don’t say after a hat-trick, ‘well, that didn’t feel great because it was against kids’, confidence doesn’t work like that. All the players will be feeling like some ideas clicked that they can take into the next game.
Auba has the confidence that he can score with limited chances, but more importantly, he will feel confident that if he makes a run, there are players in the starting 11 that can find them with accurate balls over the top.
Everyone is going to feel a little sexier having Odegaard in the starting 11, because he will make that tough first time pass someone like Granit will shy away from.
Saka looked on fire in the week, that’ll give him confidence he can make something happen.
I don’t need to see an evolution of style in a game we have almost zero chance of winning. I want to see spoiler tactics and ruthless discipline.
The transfer deadline is fast approaching, here’s what we ‘think’ we know:
Torreira will move to Fiorentina for the season and get games
Eddie will move out of the club, probably to Palace for £11m
Kola will have his deal terminated and likely head to Besiktas
Willian has scrubbed his feeds of the Arsenal name, Corinthians looks a real possibility
Reiss will have to find a club, he cannot possibly think it wise to spend another season rotting away
I’m not sure what the deal is on Ainsley, I’d love him to stay, but only if he’s considered a serious squad player
There’s talk Lacazette will be exited, but I’m not sure about this. We are SO late in the window. Lacazette moving only works if there’s a deal coming the other way.
There’s talk of Jovic moving if Mbappe goes to Madrid.
There’s talk of Calvert Lewin, though this feels very fanciful
I’m just not sure what to make of it all.
All I know is this… I really hope Trippier ends up at United. Arsenal shelling out on a 31-year-old really doesn’t sit well with me. Trippier would basically be the Lichtsteiner move this summer. He’s a good player, way better than what we have, he’d also be the only senior defender we’d have… but it’d be expensive and our funds really should be going on a player with more long-term in the tank.
This is Arsenal though… every time we right an expensive wrong, we jump right back in and do it again.
Ok, quick one today, I’ll see you in the comments… watch my damn video or listen to the podcast.
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.’