DoF Your Cap, Flippin’ Hec and more

So, Arsène, any news of your future?
No, it is the same as before
And a Director of Football
We have one: Dick Law, he is going nowhere until I tell him otherwise

Oh, there will be something about Ox and Lozza as well but the hacks will want to know if Sportsheil and Guardian claims about Wenger winning the boardroom battle are correct.

Wenger, it seems, remains in charge of the first team, and have the final say on transfer targets but his new boss takes over everything else. Which apparently means it’s Arsène FC not Ivan FC.

Except, as far as I can tell, the role remains very much a traditional director of football. Only at Real Madrid made the cult of the president take precedence over everyone else to any great effect.

All the duties mentioned are those carried out to great effect by the likes of Monchi, Michael Zorc and closer to home, Michael Emenalo at Chelsea. Signings are a collaborative process, between manager and DoF, with only failing coaches blaming others for bad signings.

The majority shareholder remains the one who calls the shots over the manager’s future. Or in Stan’s case, acquiesces to everything Wenger says. We’ve had radio silence and intense speculation to get to the position we should be in, bar Arsène being held accountable for the continuing failure to pull a squad together which challenges for the title.

Football clubs at the top level can no longer be run by one man. Just as the Secretary – Manager of one hundred years ago disappeared, just as Nottingham Forest’s committee fifty years ago. The successful clubs have a coach who focusses on the first team. As he’s staying, is it too much to ask for some fresh faces on the training ground?

Flippin’ Hec

Which in my mind comes across as more Stavros than Manuel. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’ s  hamstring offers the prospect of Hector Bellerin’s redemption. Everyone’s favourite chirpy Catalan Cockney bore the brunt of criticism at Crystal Palace, visibly shocked as the criticism rained in on him.

He remains ideally suited to the wing back role, but will need to stake a strong claim ahead of next season, in the remaining games of this campaign. Arsène openly stated recently that Ox’s future is in the centre of midfield, with a spell at wing back time well spent learning about the new formation.

Bellerin meanwhile, sits and watches. His pace perfectly suits the role; quick recovery is vital for the swashbuckling wing play the position demands.

However, the question is how badly his confidence was affected. When he featured against Leicester, he was less than convincing but the performance from the team was just that. At Southampton, he did reasonably well for the hour he was on the pitch. Nothing spectacular, just getting on with the job.

And maybe that’s what he needs. A few understated and solid performances should see the confidence return. Every young player reaches a plateau at some point, the good ones realise that and then kick on to the next level. Bellerin strikes me as that player.

As with Ox, there is continual speculation about his future but that’s Arsenal at the moment. Until contracts are signed, there’s going to be a feeling of turbulence. The test will be if the club willingly sells a star or key player. Then the questions become more strident and uncomfortable.

I’d put Bellerin in that category. A blip this season, part of the learning curve. It isn’t the reason Arsenal failed this season; the malaise isn’t down to one player.

It’s Not Unusual But This Is

A record review up at Dad’s Jukebox! Honest, and streaming of Paul Weller’s A Kind Revolution, will be posted in the next hour here.

’til Tomorrow.

52 thoughts on “DoF Your Cap, Flippin’ Hec and more

  1. Hmm, it looks like Gazidis is backing down from his stance and “catalyst for change” comment.

    D o F, dead in the water Wenger doesn’t want one. Change to backroom staff, nope Wenger has drawn a red line around that. Help with scouting and transfers, Wenger has it covered. Change of any description, yer ‘avin a larf.

  2. I really hope the news about the Ox is just an update on his injury and that he’s not leaving…

  3. Morning YW and all others. In my mind the coach should have final say footballing transfers matters, but the DOF should be able to press the coach if say we are in august in need of a number 9 and the coach/manager is still dilli dallying, he should press on sign the best number 9 available from the shortlist they drew up together so that the club start the season with adequate compliment of players to suit the rigures of all competitions the club is involved in.

    Just my take because i think if we continue to go down this road we will continue to remain 1 or 2 players short as we have done for so many years.

    On ox we should do everything in our power to keep him so much has his prominence risen this season.

  4. I dont think we need a dof, having one means nothing in terms of success, we had it without one, its fashion nothing more, we need more better players and it should be the manager that gets them and if he cant do that then usually a new manager is on the cards, people ar fooling themselves if they think having a dof is the answer to our problems,

  5. Mo

    Half the problem is Wenger’s eye is off the first-team matters. Having someone to deal with other matters can only help, surely?

  6. Mo,

    Having a D o F may not be the answer to all our problems, but it will start the process of change which is perceived to be necessary for the future success of the club.

    It is patently obvious that the present stagnation on contract renewals is largely a result of Wenger’s procrastination about his own future.

    That is a situation which must be resolved before any serious planning for summer signings can take place.

  7. Odds on that Wenger stays on for another 2 years. Dick Law will continue to be Wengers man (lapdog) a couple of bad results in and the vultures will be back out in force.

  8. On a positive note it seems Ox has some good news with the hammy scan and may appear in the fa cup final.

  9. YW, I am with you on bellerin. Unless he isn’t fit, it seems a normal dip in form and confidence that young players often experience. A couple decent games and a summer to recharge and I think k he’ll be fine. This is a formation really suited to his attributes and I’m looking forward to seeing him at RWB next season. Preferably with a new manager, but that looks unlikely. We really need PSG to make AW an offer he can’t refuse!

  10. Spurs are ripping off the punters on Sunday. Shamelessly so. £10 for a souvenir programme and on sale in their club shop, a half-and-half scarf.

  11. “It is patently obvious that the present stagnation on contract renewals is largely a result of Wenger’s procrastination about his own future.”

    Orson it appears that this may be a problem for many clubs, all apparently to do with europe not having the same amounts of cash and therefore making it harder to offload players, if needed, who are on longer contracts therefore certain clubs are letting contracts run down more than they might. No surprise we are on that cheapskates list…

    I never believe a word that comes out of Arsenal, all these noises to my mind have been yet another totally shameless pr lie to buy him some time to get the show back on the road. I do find it impossible to see how wenger thinks ‘nobody could do a better job’ or that no one could possibly add to his backroom staff or compliment the work he is already doing. When you think about it, it’s showing major weakness on his part. And that for me would be enough to have him out the door, let alone the rest of his posturing.

  12. I see the Morata stories are resurfacing after he has scored 20 goals and another 6 assists thhis season. I would certainly take him or Lacazette to pair with Ozil and Sanchez.

  13. I watched the video on finance from AST for you, Cbob. I don’t think you would have found it too surprising or revealing. We are not MU but we have plenty to spend. We could do better commercially. Winning would help.

  14. Mo,

    The other thing with the DoF is that they also pull the trigger when the manager will hesitate or baulk at a price. I think thats the biggest advantage, for instance, when Arsene was dill dallying over the Hazard fee, a Dof might have said fuck it he is worth it.

  15. With Bellerin I am with Yogi, I think he will pish on and become one of thr best RB’s in Europe. I don’t think he was fully fit and was rushed back so that could play a part in his poor form.

  16. Great post yogi

    The fact that there might have been a boardroom battle was an unexpected surprise. I did not think anyone in our organization had the cojones to even consider challenging the status quo, however the realist had to know there was only one possible winner. Team Arsene knows exactly what they are doing and I think the procrastination over his contract was a way to draw a line in the sand over what he will and won’t accept. It was also a negotiating tactic perhaps holding out for an extra couple million or an extra year.

  17. Regarding Bellerin, the last 13 years has shown us that whenever we have to start looking excuses to explain a protracted run of bad form it usually means we were over rating the player in the first place. That may not be what we want to hear but it has been the reality. Our experience in the Emirates era has turned me into a bit of a skeptic when it comes to our younger players. The number who have had encouraging starts but never reach the heights we hoped has moved well into the several dozen range. Le Coq was going to be the next great DM. Walcott, Diaby, Wilshere, Song, Bendtner, Denison, Merida, Ox, Ramsey, Wojo, Jenks etc etc etc were all going to be the next great something. I can’t even think of one since Fabregas that I would say actually came very close to living up to the hype. All that said may be Hector will be different. Long term I think we will be happy if he can be RWB who does his job the way Victor Moses has with Chelsea. He covers the right flank and works hard and does not do many eye catching thing but does not make many mistakes.

  18. I am not trying to suggest we jettison Hector or anything crazy like that but we have a lot of rebuilding to do and we need to be avoid the trap of over rating players when we make our term long term squad building plans. We have been down that road many many times before. Fortunately RB or RWB is position that you don’t need a world class player and a Victor Moses type player can serve the team needs very well.

  19. Limestone

    Who was the last young player who started well and then had a prolonged dip in form and confidence but ultimately regained his form and lived up to the potential we thought he might have?

  20. Bill,

    You are right, I think the problem is we love to overhype players too early. The truth is that few players ever live up to their so called potential some when times get tough don’t knuckle down or are distracted by things outside football etc etc. I mean i remember some thinking david bentley would be the next dennis bergkamp but after early promise he is a forgotten memory.
    In truth aside from Ramsey, Wilshere & Diaby who have been desperately unlucky with injury there have been a lost of wasted talent. I still think the likes of Ox & Szczęsny might become the players that live up to their potential but it is an issue the coaching staff should look at, at why these so called talents aren’t living up to their potential and what they can do so a larger percentage start doing so.

  21. Bill,

    I think you forget that his bad form started with his injury and then because Arsene failed to have a proper RB2, and didn’t want to play Gabriel because he doesn’t offer much attacking wise, Bellerin was rushed back and I really don’t think he was fully fit. He didn’t have his burst or recovery speed which speaks to a player being rushed back.

  22. Bill,

    Gibbs, Song, Ox, WS, Ramsey have all been decent players for us and have all had inconsistency before achieving a solid, reasonable level. I’m not sure how prolonged Bellerin’s dip has really been. He had a dip the season before but returned to form. This season he had an injury that might not have healed completely and contributed to a loss of form and confidence–but it hasn’t been that long that he has been out of the side on merit. I have never touted Bellerin as a world class player. He might become one, but I said even last year in his pomp that I though he shouldn’t be overplayed, that we needed experienced backup, and that he showed talent and pace but would naturally be inconsistent as a young player. Similarly, the others I list are not world beaters of course, but I didn’t expect them to be outstanding. The only one I overrated of that bunch is Ramsey, whom I genuinely felt could and should be one of the upper rank of central midfielders in the PL. I’d say he is potentially that when given freedom to burst into the box and range about in attack but that he is just a solid mid-upper table central midfielder when asked to carry defensive responsibilities or play a certain role. So I am expecting Bellerin to be a good RB and quite good RWB, not that he will be Dani Alves. But I have more confidence in his abilities than Ox, for example, ultimately over his career. I think Hector can start for a good, even challenging PL team.

    In general, I think the interesting issue here is AW’s recent record developing young talent. I don’t think it is all that great. If Iwobi doesn’t become a reasonably good player, I think it will be at least partly because of how he was managed. So you do have a point that many hyperventilate about young talents and exaggerate their level. I tend not to be as enthusiastic because they can be very inconsistent and our record recently isn’t great. If they can be decent squad players in a challenging side–which several can–I am happy.

  23. Limestone

    Fair enough. I agree with all of that. In the past the first major drop in form has signaled the end of the “next great thing” label but some players have gone on to become solid players. I guess it depends on your expectations. My real concern is that we accept what history has taught us. I think in the past we have made our squad building decisions based on the “Santori theorem” that all young players get better with time and we have made many many squad building decisions based on overly optimistic expectations. For example, I always been a huge fan of ox but we have been waiting for 6 years for him to become a world class player and instead of buying the goal scoring forward we needed, we have held out hope that this was finally the year Ox would come good and inevitably we are left short of impact players because we want to make sure there are enough minutes to Ox. There is downside to being overly optimistic. I hope that makes sense.

  24. The one major advantage that Bellerin has over a player like Iwobe is that a team does not really need an impact player at RB or R wing back. A player in that position such as Victor Moses only has be solid and stay organized and work hard and defend reasonably well and not hurt the team. On the other hand its much more difficult for an attacking player like Iwobe who has to be able to provide some sort of “end product” (usually goals or assists) on a reasonably consistent basis in order to justify keeping him in the line up as a forward. For all of his talent Ox could never give the team end product on a regular basis from the right forward position and we have seen over the years just how difficult it is even for players who seem to be really technically talented to do that.

    Silver:

    I agree. The promise of the early Emirates era of building our own impact players has not worked out. We are certainly never going to give up trying to build our own superstars but we have to make our squad building decisions based on realistic expectations

    C @ 3:14

    In the past when we have to start searching for rationalizations or excuses to explain a major drop in form that requires the player to be dropped it has usually meant that we over rated the player in the first place.

  25. We have a very deep collection of CB’s especially if we bring Chambers back so the 3 at the back makes a lot sense for the long term. That means that RWB is the only realistic position for Bellerin. I have absolutely no problem with considering him at candidate to play RWB. However, it would be a mistake to pencil him in as the starting RWB next season. We made that mistake with Iwobe at LW this season. At some point we need to learn our lessons.

  26. Bill,

    It makes perfect sense and we both have agreed for years here that the team should be built around more established talent that has to be purchased and into which good young players can flourish without excessive dependence on them. The best way to ruin them is playing them too much and expecting them to carry the team in their positions.

  27. Bill,

    We need an experienced RB/RWB that Bellerin can compete with. Or you could play Mustafi there in a more defensively set up. Ox has done reasonably well thee but it is too much running for him for a season–he’ll break down physically.

    I agree that 3CB’s is a great way to use our strength in that position. Ramsey will benefit from having more defenders behind him.

  28. Limestone.

    I agree that there is still some hope for Ramsey if he is able to thrive in this new role. No way we can use both Ox and Ramsey in central midfield. We also have Cazorla who will be a candidate for some minutes in that position and long term there is no way Iwobe is a forward and he might also be a candidate for the central midfield. We can only use one box to box central midfielder which means the best thing for the team might be to leave Ox at RWB rather then moving him centrally.

  29. I think the best squad building decisions are made when you hope for the best but cover yourself in case the optimistic assumption does not work out. A lot of angry keystrokes have been struck regarding the Perez situation but in reality buying him was a well thought out bit of squad building. Numbers wise we were thin upfront until welbeck came back and in many years past we have gotten in big trouble when we have a couple injuries. One year Arsene was left with Yaya Sanogo and Nik Bendtner as his CF when Giroud missed some time. This time Arsene learned from his mistakes and realized that the worst could happen and he actually had a more reasonable contingency plan if we had a coupe of injuries early in the season.

  30. Obviously I have no real idea what Arsene was thinking when he bought Perez but it was a smart move and I will give him the benefit of the doubt. The problem is that he makes one good decision but he in the same summer he ignored all the lessons he should have learned and made the overly optimistic assumption that Iwobe was going to be the answer as his starting LW

  31. There was an article in the Daily Telegraph that does not appear to have been mentioned today, perhaps because it sounds like bad news to many of you – so maybe you won’t want to read it.

    12th MAY 2017 • 3:01PM

    –“Ivan Gazidis is being lined up to take over as the head of Major League Soccer if he loses his Arsenal power battle with manager Arsene Wenger.

    Chief executive Gazidis wants to implement structural changes at Arsenal whether or not Wenger stays past the end of this season.

    But Wenger has made it clear that he wants to remain in full control if he extends his contract, which has increased suggestions that Gazidis could eventually leave his post if the Frenchman stays on.

    Sources involved in MLS believe one option will be for Gazidis to replace Don Garber as commissioner, when the 59-year-old’s contract expires at the end of next year.

    Gazidis served under Garber as deputy commissioner for seven years before accepting his current job at Arsenal in 2008.

    Garber earns almost £4million-a-year, plus bonuses, as MLS commissioner which is significantly more than the £2.6m Gazidis was paid by Arsenal last year.

    There has been no announcement on whether or not Garber plans to stand down from his post at the end of his current contract, but Gazidis is thought to be in the running to replace him.

    Gazidis had already been identified as a candidate for roles inside the US Soccer Federation and the organising committee for the 2026 World Cup should the US and Mexico joint bid be accepted by Fifa.

    [Gazidis] made it clear he is planning to stay at Arsenal and oversee the changes he wants to make, but Wenger staying and refusing to compromise together with an offer to become the head of MLS could force Gazidis to think carefully [about his future].

    Arsenal have been exploring candidates for a new sporting director-style position, including Borussia Dortmund’s Michael Zorc and former Gunners winger Marc Overmars, which has caused friction between Gazidis and Wenger.

    Gazidis does not see the role as taking power away from Wenger or another manager, but the 67-year-old made it clear that he will not work under a more traditional director of football.

    Arsenal believe there is sufficient trust between the two men to reach some form of common understanding over any changes that are introduced, despite some sources claiming Wenger and Gazidis are barely speaking.

    Gazidis and Wenger were both present at an Arsenal transfer summit last month, when it was agreed the club will try to sign a striker, a central defender, a wide player, a left-back and a goalkeeper in the summer window.”

    And Stan the Silent Man is ???????? No where to be seen it appears. Turn a blind eye and let them get on with it? Pathetic.

    [My buddy, Ras, will not be pleased!!] Sacre bleu.

  32. What an appalling bunch of crap-merchants to cyberattack the NHS computer system.
    Injured and sick people could die because of this. — Bastards!

    [Bill, C et al — this is the British National Health Service]

  33. Limestone

    With regard to your comment on Ox breaking down because of all of the running he has to do playing at RWB, I think that falls under the same category as trying to save our players by giving them extra time off in the summer. It’s sounds good in theory but injury prone players are going to be injured and you can’t change that. If the best thing for the team is Ox at RWB then you don’t hurt the team for a theoretical benefit that he might be less likely to be injured if he plays a different position because that theory is probably not true. His overall minutes are down this season and we did not start using Ox at wingback until about 4 -5 games ago so there is no way he can be in the “red zone” and yet he still pulled a hamstring.

  34. And then I watch Spicer @ the WH contradicting everyone else – except the insufferable Trump – and clearly lying thru his back teeth — it’s always someone else’s fault!

    This goes out worldwide and is downright embarrassing! Sheesh.

    [Sorry about touching on politics – just makes my blood boil.]

  35. Henry

    I agree – if they catch the fuckers, I hope they charge them with murder.

    It’s almost like an episode of Elementary; killing many to disguise the murder of one…

  36. I only wish, Yogi!!!

    My neighbour, who is really ill, has been waiting for a major operation next Monday — it has been cancelled.
    The way it seems to work is that he and others affected go to the back of the line because the pressure on the system is so great — but, his wife is sick with worry, and I would not be surprised if he does not make it.

  37. Evening,

    WBA resolute so far in protecting their goal. Fabregas has been impressive in pulling the strings, but WBA have a packed defence which Chelsea are struggling to get through.

  38. Chelsea have nicked a goal which looks like it’s going to win the league for them tonight.

  39. Jonny,

    Seems to me that Trump has used his considerable fortune to buy himself a new toy and he is determined to play with it as much as possible.

  40. 9th year in a row that our points total will finish closer to 5th place then to 1st. 8th time in the last 9 years that we will finish at least 10 points behind the league champion.

  41. Orson Kaert,

    Not sure I’d want that power. You have to be pretty bored with everything else to decide to play with the most powerful nation in the world. And not that bothered if you break it.

  42. HenryB, that is awful and outrageous news (your neighbour). Hopefully they can sort it out soon. Catching the utter dregs of humanity that do things like this is a lot harder.
    Frightening that the govt underfunds the NHS to such an extent that they are having to run un-patchable XP. I hope this puts pressure on the govt (but won’t: they seem to control the press now).

    Matters Arsenal. L’Equipe are saying Kroenke is giving Wenger a new 1 year deal, signing imminent.
    Aucune idée if true or not.

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