On the surface, Daily Telegraph reports that the Arsenal board are looking for a sporting director should be greeted as a positive step but it’s Arsenal, and we’ll find a way of ‘Arsenalling’ it up. The most obvious will be letting Arsène wield his over-sized influence on the process. You may think that a harsh judgement but consider his words when Tottenham appointed Francesco Baldini to a similar post:
“I have a good experience of the game. I have played over 900 games here, but I don’t deny that the transfer market is a problem for me.
“It conflicts with the competition when that competition has already started.”
A man identifying his weaknesses but later on refuses the best help.
Furthermore, it was Wenger underlining what he had always said: he hates transfers and finds them distasteful. He emphasised that further when he continued, “People just want more and more (players). It is consumerism at any cost.”
His thinking was disingenuous at best,
“A director of football buys the players. When they don’t work you (the manager) are guilty for them not playing well. If it works, the director of football has bought well. I am not against having people to help me buy and sell. I cannot do it all – I am not Superman”
The only club I can think of which routinely ignores the manager is Real Madrid. A good director of football, such as Monchi at Sevilla, works closely with the manager to identify targets and their prioritisation. The manager’s input ends there. He’s told the club who he wants, the alternatives; it’s up to the director to deliver.
For he that gets hurt, Will be he who has stalled
Wenger’s own view is that, “the final decision has to belong to the manager to decide who comes in and who goes out”. In other words, the manager retains the right to veto the signings, despite drawing up the list of targets. It can’t work that way; it is a recipe for disaster.
Disturbingly in all this, there is no sense of urgency from the Telegraph reports. Arsenal, it seems, are planning to relieve the managers of the future, of some of the burdens which Arsène loaded onto his own shoulders.
Arsène, it’s claimed, has “indicated that he is willing to evolve how he operates”, while Dick Law will be put out to pasture, or work for KSE in some capacity most likely. I make no attempt to hide my cynicism about the timing of all this. Wenger and the club are under massive pressure and suddenly, an idea put forward for many for a number of year is happening? Do me a favour.
Maybe the board is genuinely preparing for the future but the reported lack of urgency suggests this is an idea that the directors feel must be investigated because they have no clue which way Arsène is thinking over his future. Reports since the win over Lincoln claim that Wenger has ‘rediscovered’ his belief that he and the squad can win honours, which misses the point of protests and changing manager by a country mile.
For the wheel’s still in spin
Arsène is looking to “reinvent himself” apparently. A tyre fitter at Kwik Fit, perhaps? There’s an increasing sense that the decision over his future isn’t going to be made in the next three weeks as he originally targeted, but at the end of the season.
It’s going to continue to be an uncomfortable time for him although there’s no doubt that reaching the FA Cup final is more likely facing Manchester City than either Chelsea or Tottenham. Whereas those two clubs will seek to stifle us, City will offer the opportunity to play. Whether we can win or not depends largely on whether the players recover their self-belief.
From memory, there are five games between now and then, with one them against City at the Emirates. I suspect we need to win them all to truly believe that we can get to the final. Of course, the nightmare scenario of losing the final to either Spurs or Chelsea exists but one hurdle at a time, eh?