Since the infamous “Catalyst for change” comments, very little has been seen of Ivan Gazidis in public. It’s not that he’s avoiding anyone, simply that the phrase has become another millstone around his neck. He wears so many that he walks with a permanent stoop, keeping him out of sight.
Perhaps he can get the new “director of high performance“, Darren Burgess, to sort his problem out. Where this leaves Shad Forsythe, who is listed as “head of performance”, is the unanswered question.
Is Dazza the new head honcho or does Shad get the players to a certain level and then the “highly-rated” Australian will take the fitness up to eleven? He’s arriving with the same kind of reputation as Forsythe in 2014. If it improves our performance on the pitch, then it’s no bad thing.
What will do that, according to Arsène, is flexing the players brains. It’s no good being robotic, they need to be “mentally flexible in their decision-making”. Which is very true; Wenger points out that the players options are “green lights” and that “these lights become red very quickly, so then I have to choose another green light, and if I don’t do that quickly enough, that will turn red as well.”
It is vital, he says, that the players “are not stubborn”. While there is merit in what he says, there’s also no little irony in his demand that the players don’t possess his biggest trait: stubbornness.
This flexibility applies equally to the manager and the coming season will see if the ‘new boss’ has learned from the way last season’s Premier League campaign collapsed. He found an answer eventually but only after a few months. Change was too slow; Arsène needs to react quicker although I’m not sure he can.
Alexis featured for Chile despite ankle problems and set up Arturo Vidal’s goal in their 2 – 0 win over Cameroon. Emmanuel Petit believes if Arsenal sign players with the same “winning” mentality as Sanchez, he will sign a new contract.
According to the Frenchman, “‘At the moment nothing is decided and I believe Sanchez is waiting to see what players are brought in before he makes up his mind about his future”.
It might be a very long wait; we’re not renowned for our decisiveness in the transfer market; too many green lights turning red on the back of the manager’s procrastination.
To the chagrin of many, Petit pointed out that Sanchez’s “attitude and approach in every game is fantastic”, which flies in the face of what many want him to be: petulant, selfish, and greedy.
If ‘Porno flick’ Petit is right, it could be a long wait, making this a double-edged sword. Once mid-August arrives, replacing Alexis is nigh on impossible and he is walking away on a free next summer, unless Arsenal’s performances convince him otherwise.
The narrative, of course, is being peddled that it’s all Alexis and Mesut Özil’s fault we haven’t signed anyone yet. Their refusal to (publicly) tell anyone their plans mean the club are caught between a rock and a hard place. If only the club had someone responsible for negotiating contracts so that they don’t all expire at once.
There is some merit in that argument but Arsenal have to work on the basis the pair are staying, replacing them only if they actually leave. The surprising stubbornness in many ways, is Özil’s deal. We’re hardly drowning in a deluge of speculation about his future, are we?
The little boost the Transfer Window Action Team got from Jean-Michel Aulas’ claim that Lyon wanted Bertrand Traore, turned out to be a big boost; the sale is now agreed. You may think Lyon has a surplus of strikers, but I couldn’t possibly comment.
Elsewhere, there are claims we’re ‘Bacca’ in for Carlos, fighting Marseille for his signature. If only I could muster the enthusiasm for a ‘Chewie’ pun.