It’s a funny old game, Saint. An Italian website breaks news about an English club and a Dutch director of football; a sign of the strength of the Arsenal brand, you might guess. The club is apparently set to sign Marc Overmars in the summer and it’s fair to say that the fanfare surrounding his arrival is muted compared to when he signed in 1997 as a player.
The observant among you will recall that we were supposed to have talks with Barcelona’s transfer negotiations, Raul Sanllehi. Two directors of football? Maybe the Sanllehi deal didn’t work out; negotiations with the negotiator broke down or maybe we are a bit nervous about dealing with a club which is reportedly letting Lionel Messi walk away on a Bosman.
I doubt any of those ‘transfers’ will happen but losing Messi puts Sanchez walking into the shade. It’s more grossly negligent than appointing Mike Riley head of PGMOL.
Anyway, the Overmars story underlines two things. Firstly, there is a vacancy on the Arsenal board for a football man or two. Let’s be honest, most of us have clamoured for this for some time. It’s an appointment I first began banging on about in 2006; nothing’s changed since then beyond Monsieur Wenger’s grip over the club.
The second aspect is Wenger himself. The club is talking to players whose contracts expire at the same time as the Frenchman’s; are Stan or Josh already sounding out the Frenchman about his own future? If there is to be a director of football appointment, next summer would be a good time were it known that Wenger was leaving when his current deal finishes in 2019.
It gives them a year to get their feet under the table and also provide input on finding Wenger’s replacement.
Big Shake to the Club that’s Falling Down
As if. Which is where both the Overmars and Sanllehi fall down without too much scrutiny. Arsène, the catalyst of change who wasn’t, suddenly and quite deliberately, becoming a catalyst for change? Not if he is staying at the club, that’s for certain.
And I think that’s the question which the club has to begin addressing. Bizarre, isn’t it? A manager who went a season without being prepared to commit to the club or walk away is now in exactly the same position: contract renewal talks. It’s why a two-year deal was the worst possible deal for the club. Had he signed a one-year deal, we could be talking to replacements; now we’re hostages to his mood once again.
Some might argue it’s too soon to begin talking about the manager’s future – most like myself are weary of it – but this time we need to be ready to force the issue. We are with players, Wenger as a key executive should be held to the same standards regarding his contract.
Avoiding the shambles of last season is imperative for the club, whether Wenger likes it or not. It might be inconvenient for him, particularly since PSG will probably replace Unai Emery next summer but despite appearances to the contrary, Arsenal Football Club isn’t here for the convenience of one person.
It’s why I’m sceptical about any of these claims about changes in the boardroom beyond replacing directors with like-for-like appointments. To be honest, there’s more chance of Kroenke and Usmanov reaching an agreement over one of them selling their shares than a director of football being appointed.
More than anything, it’s a sign we’re still in an international break. Off the pitch issues are deemed more newsworthy than the defensive crisis we’re (apparently) facing.
There is a Wait so Long
The Dutch face Sweden tonight in a game they need to win by seven or more goals, I believe. The last time they were in this kind of situation, they beat Malta 12 – 0 and a great big cry of “Shenanigans!” was heard, much like Austria and Germany’s draw in the 1982 World Cup.
It’s going to be worth watch to see how they approach the game. The plan must be for a 3 – 0 or better half-time scoreline because anything less will leave them needing a goal every three or four minutes which is mad.
We had the ‘typically English’ game last night where A-A-Ron Ramsey took ‘absolute pelters’ for Wales defeat to the Irish Republic. It was all his fault they didn’t score and apparently, he should have ‘made things happen’ despite it not being part of his game. Ramsey, as a box-to-box midfielder is fine; a ‘number 10’ he ain’t.
As the first half wore on, it was apparent the Welsh weren’t going to score so it was a question of whether the Irish would nick the win they needed. They did and Ashley Williams has probably held up his hands already for his part in the mistake. It brough the usual cries of ‘Arsenal dodged a bullet’ on not signing him when the clamour was at it’s highest a few years back. Because Ashley Williams of two years ago played last night, didn’t he?
No wonder the printed word is declining if that’s the standard. Why pay for that kind of analysis when you can come here and get it for free?
To close out today, just a note that later on there will be a new post on Dad’s Jukebox with the Pixies the subject of Jukebox Classics.