Managerial Appointments: When 2+2=5…

It is an interesting claim to make: “Arsenal have yet to contact Manchester City over Mikel Arteta”. Bold words from the media which underlines just how much of the recruitment process is taking place away from the media spotlight.

Now, I don’t doubt the club are talking to him. ‘Reports’ claim he’s been in London for a few days and I doubt he’s been catching up some old muckers, to be honest. I guess – blogger code for the next bit is pure speculation – that informally we’ve approached City and asked what the release cost will be. The answer won’t have put us off with talks ongoing with Arteta.

Yet it shows how little is actually known about the situation. We’ve morphed from a situation where an announcement was imminent, just waiting for Arsène to clear his desk. There’s been a suggestion that a ‘decent interval’ will pass, for decency’s sake and extending courtesy to the dearly departed former manager. Which makes it sound a bit like planning to turn up at your late wife’s funeral with a new woman in tow.

Dearly departed? That makes us sound like Everton who, it’s claimed today, have spent £30m paying off managers since Farhad Moshiri took a majority shareholding. All that for a lower league finish this season than they achieved last year. Appoint in haste, repent at the bank manager’s convenience.

Gary Neville’s default mode is ‘lambast Arsenal at every opportunity’ and accordingly he did so on Sunday. Essentially, he said it was amateur hour at the Emirates for not announcing already. Too slow, too long; too whatever.

So, how did the hasty of David Moyes turn out for Manchester United, Gazza? Or maybe Sunday was the moment and take the spotlight off Arsène in much the same way Mourinho did with Van Gaal?

Sudden Impact!

The reality is that there is no right or wrong interval between appointments. Even if there was, getting the right man is more important and history will be the judge of that.

And the benchmark by which he will be judged is going to be interesting. What are people’s expectations of a new era at Arsenal? To be honest, I can’t remember what they were when Arsène took over. We were pretty much in the same boat as now. Outside the top four and grateful to be in the Europa League next season?

The emotions are different because the match which confirmed sixth was Burnley, incomparable to beating Bolton at Highbury all those years ago.

This time, consensus on what constitutes a successful first season will be difficult to reach. The benchmark is sixth and 63 points, which is a low bar in my view. Anything above those numbers? Is only the top four a success? Do cup wins count as success?

Double standards will apply. While this was deemed unsuccessful for Arsène, for Mikel Arteta will that be a good, solid start? Much, I think, will depend on whether our individual expectations are realistic in the first place.

There are some ‘intangibles’ to think about. ‘Moving in the right direction’ will be bandied around; a lot, and contradictorily. We could finish seventh with 60 points and still be ‘moving in the right direction’. Which is the beauty of intangibles, they are shifting sands upon which we change our stance to suit the circumstances.

While the appointment of Raul and Sven make us better prepared for the post-Wenger years, it’s no guarantee of success. The same applies to appointing an experienced manager. If every club received that guarantee, Sam Allardyce would be £6m richer through bonuses not severance pay.

The Bottom Line

What constitutes a successful season won’t be judged in the same terms if an experienced and successful manager such as Allegri arrives. His appointment brings a weight of expectation that titles will be delivered even if they aren’t realistic ambitions. We are so far behind City that I’d suggest we are four transfer windows with hundreds of millions of pounds spent before we are ready to challenge for a title.

Reduce those transfer funds are we’re further from that moment, relying on tactics and man-management to get us to wtihin touching distance.

Some believe the announcement will be as early as next week. Arsenal’s informal deadline is before the World Cup begins. There’s loosely definiton of when that moment is. Before the players join their squads? Or the kick-off of the opening game?

We shall see.

’til Tomorrow

41 thoughts on “Managerial Appointments: When 2+2=5…

  1. So Arteta is having his interview today. Let’s hope he turns up late, forgets to tie his tie properly , spills his portfolio and his coffee and doesn’t look them in the eye!

  2. Since when have we given a sh!t what Gary Neville thinks?

    Progress is Top 4. A bit of defensive organisation, a solid defender, a defensive midfielder plus PEA knocking goals in for fun should deliver that.

    I don’t believe Man City are ‘that’ good. Their defence is wide open, the keeper looks a bit suspect at keeping, and the surprise factor will be gone next season. The league will be a lot tighter next season, but I doubt we’ll be anywhere near the top.

  3. What should be par for the course? Well, since the club love to talk about the financials we’re the third wealthiest club in the country behind the two Manchester clubs, so….

    Okay, throw in the stadium repayments which in the grand scheme of things don’t amount to that much and we are competing with the same resources as Chelsea and with an advantage over Spurs and Liverpool. So top four would be expected, and let’s not forget that every title we’ve won since the ’30’s has been won while competing against better funded clubs.

    So it comes down to the right appointments and being ruthless as the likes of Chelsea have been (two titles in the last four seasons). Progress would be top four, followed by a genuine challenge in year 2.

  4. Progress would be not getting humiliated by the teams above us. Progress would be getting a draw at Anfield, Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, White Hart Lane and the Etihad. Progress would be a cup final. Progress would be to ship less than 51 goals and not lose as many as 13 games in a season. I’ll settle for all these things and I won’t judge the new man, whoever it is until the end of the season. I’ll support the team and the manager. Come on you Gunners

  5. Would love to see Bernd Leno, Ohis Felix Uduokhai and Abdou Diallo come into the squad. Would definitely strengthen the team and could easily become first team regular’s.

    Not convinced by Jean-Michael Seri, showed his frailty this season and I don’t think the more combative, physical style of the premier league would suit him.

    Unless were going to sell one of Ozil, Wilshere, Ramsey or Mkhitaryan I can’t see the need for Max Meyer. Similar to what we’ve already got.

    Sokratis Papastathopoulos hasn’t had a stellar season either. Marshalling a defense which has shipped 1 less than Wolfsburg who finished 16th!

  6. If it is Arteta it will be interesting to see how quickly he changes the philosophy of the team. I would imagine that he gets the right pieces and would probably have coaching contacts thanks to not only because of his playing career but also thanks to Pep.

  7. Afternoon all

    You’re absolutely spot on with what you say YW, there will be somewhat sliding scale of expectation, depending on who comes in. Someone of Allegri’s stature and I’d say anything less than CL qualification would be falling short.

    I also support the notion that we could “stand still” but feel like we’re moving forwards. I actually think for whoever comes in to change our league finishing position in either direction will be relatively tough to do.

    City will be class again. United will be dour again but grind out results. If they get a bit going for them going forwards, they could be title challengers. Spurs at a new home? Will they start the season there? Probably the most likely that we can catch of those above us. Will be a bit unsettled moving grounds and might lose a couple of key players this summer. If they’re slow out of the blocks we need to put pressure on them.

    Liverpool, for me, showed they aren’t ever going to rely on one player when they sold Coutinho. If Salah can’t do it again next season, they’ll still be dangerous. If he can and they can shore up defence a bit (I hope we get Butland and not them!!) I think they’ll be the closest team to City next year.

    I expect Chelsea to improve remarkably just by changing their manager this summer

    Looking backwards you’d think only Burnley, Leicester and Everton are within a chance of catching us. All quite unlikely. If Burnley can do it again and find another Salah to start scoring some goals for them they could be a worry, but it’s a reach for me.

    So, if we saw a defensive base being put in place and not more of the same, but actually stood still, I’d say the new man has improved us. Either way, I’m prepared to keep an open mind and give a new guy a couple of years at least. Trouble being, if the top 5 all start well and we don’t, I can see it turning fairly sour fairly quickly on a leftfield choice being installed. I hope there will be a bit of patience in that instance.

  8. I’ll be disappointed if we sign Arteta.
    We don’t need 100’s of millions to challenge for the title. We need:
    1. A top class defender
    2. A top class central midfielder
    3. A system that gets the most out of the squad
    4. A leader of men

  9. I am tired of the suspense. A new school of thought is, different coaches will be employed with Arteta being the head coach, so defensive coach is Bould or he leaves and is replaced, Lehmann is the goalie coach, and maybe Buvac gets added too as an attacking coach. The head coach then blends team tactics and helps younger players step up.

  10. All this talk of standing still, looking forwards and backwards all ends up a bit doomy and gloomy. Yes, we want progress, of course we want to challenge for titles, and yes there will always be rivals – some better, some richer, some both – and we won’t win everything every year, but progress is not the perceived million miles away.

    We came second on home form in the PL last season W15, D2, L2. We ended up 3 points behind City (47 to 50). Second highest goals scored (54 to City’s 61). Third best goal diff (34, Liverpool 35, City 47). I’d be very happy for that to be a standstill performance next year.

    It was our away form that killed our challenge; W4 D4 L11. We ended up 11th on away points, with just 16 points. City 50, Spurs & Utd 34, Chelsea 33, Liverpool 32 and Burnley 28. That away form needs progress. Converting four defeats to wins, would have put another 12 points on the total. We would have had the same away points as Burnley, and total points of 75, the same as Liverpool in 4th.

    Whether Arteta can retain the home form and improve the away is open to question, but surely the likes of an experienced manager (Allegri etc) would see that as not too much of a challenge.

    Ask Allegri to win the league and he’ll probably shrug his shoulders and ask for £20m pa and/or a £200m transfer kitty. He’ll know it is a tall order.

    Ask him to secure top 4 position and improve the away form, and he’ll probably look at the away results and say Stoke, Watford, Swansea, Bournemouth, Brighton, well they wont be defeats next season. And there were other points thrown away against the likes of West Ham and the Baggies.

    So chin up, let’s be positive…..even if we get given Arteta.

  11. Stu,

    Sorry, but I don’t think my post was negative at all. In fact it called for calm, no matter what happens.

    I’d agree that the away form looks an easy win to make huge leaps forwards. As much as an open goal that appears, I’d argue that just about any candidate is going to look at our home form and wonder if they can maintain close to that? Virtually zero room for improvement means it’s probably as likely to deteriorate as away form is to improve.

    Whether the two offset each other or there’s a net gain, obviously, remains to be seen

  12. Great post Yogi

    I think the realistic objective for next season would be to get back inot the top 4 and collect 75 points. The following years we need to slowly improve until we get to the level of true title challenger. I think anything short of top 4 will always be a disappointment but its acceptable next year if we see real progress especially on the defensive end of the pitch. As Damon points out the teams above us are not likely to stand still so its going to be very tough to overtake 2 of the top 5. City are not going to collect 100 points but they are still heavy favorites to win the league. ManU and Chelsea will improve and I don’t see Liverpool coming back to the pack. Spurs are more of an unknown and it could go south for them but they are still better then we are right now and finishing above any of those teams will be a big challenge and I suspect we will have to be patient.

  13. .C:
    Wailesy,

    Who says Arteta isn’t a leader of men?

    C

    The concern is he was part of the ongoing deteriorating of our culture and the complacency that has developed during this decade along with several of the current squad. That is not to say he was the problem but the players knew him as an equal and hoping he can completely change roles and stamp his authority over this group that has become comfortable with complacency is a big ask.

  14. The reality is that it doesn’t matter what we see as goals for the new guy. The Kroenkes determined with Wenger that two seasons outside of the CL places was unacceptable, therefore I would guess that the new manager would be judged against similar objectives. For them this is business, and the background of the new appointment will not be a factor when setting goals.

  15. Andy

    Top 4 with however comes in, I think is a tall order with the piggy bank we have been told….I read the club’s TV money is £142m plus change, damned if I know why its only £50m (only lol)

  16. Andy

    Very good point. I don’t want to see us changing managers every season but if the new guy can’t get us back into the top 4 after 2 seasons at the helm then I hope they decide to make the change. I don’t expect a title challenge next season or may be even for 2 seasons but a top 4 finish is certainly a realistic goal for a big club such as ours. Its possible we may get the wrong man the first time and perhaps even the second time and we have to be willing to accept that we made a mistake and move on if he is not able to meet realistic goals within a reasonable time period.

  17. For me, the mark of improvement next season would be the eradication of those capitulations and sloppy away performances that have characterised the last 4 or 5 seasons under AW. I’d like us to be able to go to Old Trafford or Stamford Bridge and come away with a 1-0. No more conceding 4 or 5 in big away games. We want teams to fear us as a visiting side. If we can just become more of a solid unit then I think we’d be close to challenging. A defensive overhaul, particularly with Mustafi showing his flaws, is needed alongside a solid tackling midfielder. If the new manager can shore things up and holes in the squad filled, we can expect progress I think.

  18. I agree with Michael. $50M seems like a pretty weak sum to offer for any new manager.

    I said this yesterday but Atletico won the Europa league final 3-0 despite only having 43% of ball possession. They beat us while having less then 40% of ball posssession over the 190 minutes. Atletico has done a very good job of competitng with arguably the 2 biggest, wealthiest and most successful clubs in Europe and their transfer budget was similar or smaller then ours and their wage budget which is also quite a bit smaller. I know it wont happen but Simeone would be the ideal manager for to rebuild our team.

  19. Bill,

    Right but then again things actually were showing those signs before and after. Also, lets not act as though thr best managers in the world came from the most succesful clubs, were always winners, etc. Arteta was here for a time but one could also argue he is a winner and has virtually been a captain were he has gone as well as during his time coming through La Masia alongside Pep(people forget that Arteta was actually thought of as Pep’s equal both physically and mentally at Barca but Pep was preferred so Arteta left the club).

    Honestly mate, I think that argument is whether weak and you tend to put too much on the couple years players are at Arsenal and seem to virtually discount their successes elsewhere. If the general consensus was that Arsene was the culprit than a clean wipeout like whats taking place will in theory then create a different environment. You have to remember that many of our current players actually grew up and played not at Arsenal. Based on current going-ons who knows if Jack and Ramsey will be here much longer.

  20. I think thr 50m thing is something that we simply don’t know. Say they sell Ramsey, Ospina, Cech and Welbeck…that means it would be 50m plus thr cash brought in by those players.

  21. C
    I think you mean to say Xabi Alonso.
    For me, as long as the manager can avoid the annual slump and execute a vision of win the next game, and repeat same next week, then we have turned the corner.
    For me, I would expect a synergy of all forces to return us to being the effective attacking team, we saw between 1996 & 2004.
    If we were to sign Simeone, he would simply sell all our midfielders and start from scratch. But, we have a system from academy to 1st team and really, we should be looking to increase our pace, trickery, and add direct attackers to make us better.
    The defence and DM positions plus GK should be addressed immediately. Adding consistency, good coaching and a game plan, we will make the top 4.

  22. Damon,

    Hi Damon,
    My post wasn’t pointed at you. Apologies if it read that way. It was a general shout out to the internet at large, as much of what I have read these past few days is gloomy. Anyone would think that we have appointed Brendan Rogers!

    I agree that we need some calm and that there will be a whole load of variables to what each of us, and the club, would see as acceptable progress. We all have our own perspectives after all.

    I just can’t get wound up by the unknown, like some do. We will get who we are given, like it or not. He will be given a target, which we may or may not agree with, and he may or may not acheiveit. If it transpires that the new man cannot meet the target or the acceptable norm is still below the fans expectation (the 4th place trophy), we can then get wound up again with another #Out campaign. Until then, we sit back, wait for the appointment, enjoy what the new season offers and see how things develop.

  23. the 50mil aint a bad figure when you consider wenger spent about 300mil in the last few years and the team got worse.
    IG probably doesnt want to throw another 100mil into this summer with a new manager to see it fail – so we have to go with what weve got until we prove we have something thats going forward – not backward.

    mustafi xhaka ozil were a total waste of money and some of it can be recouped by selling these. add bellerin to that and weve got enough to buy what we need.

    start from the back with a GK.

  24. C

    I am not suggesting that Arteta was the reason for the degradation of the clubs culture that occurred during this decade. The biggest problem was Arsene but all of the players were involved. My concern for Arteta is how does he go from being a friend and coconspirator as a player to the boss. It would be difficult for you or me if one of our buddies who was our equal and one of your allies at work suddenly became the boss and his job was to crack the whip and get us to suddenly change habits and work ethic.

  25. .C:
    I think thr 50m thing is something that we simply don’t know. Say they sell Ramsey, Ospina, Cech and Welbeck…that means it would be 50m plus thr cash brought in by those players.

    You are trying to sell players who won’t bring us much money. The only one worth more then a few million is Ramsey and his value is decreased because its the last year of his contract. We need to sell players who are overvalued and Jon Jon’s list of players to sell in his comment at 6:55 makes a lot more sense. Unfortunately Ozil is probably not sellable because of his age and diminishing production coupled with that crazy contract. However, we could get a decent return for Bellerin, Xhaka and Mustafi and use the money to buy better replacement players.

  26. C

    I know you are a fan of ball possession football and multiple #10’s and technical skill but if we try to turn Arsenal into a Pep look alike team then I suspect its not going to end well.

  27. As supporters we are haeding into the world of Fantasy football. Who we buy and who we sell will be sorted by Gazidis and his new gang of three, the new man will be there to coach and get the best from the squad that he is given .
    Progress will be to maintain our home record and show that we are prepared to fight for the points away that we threw this year. League position will not be a yardstick because we are not in control of other results but if we increase our points haul then that must be seen as positive.

  28. Bill,

    First mate, I’m not a fan of multiple #10’s and if you don’t lile technical skill then clearly you don’t watch futbol because all the best players in the world at thr beat technically. Its funny that you always say I’m a fan of #10’s all over the pitch yet I have banged on about starting Lacazette, Aubameyang, Mhkitaryan and Ozil together and having two pivots who simply do thr job in the middle of the park and don’t worry about scoring. Even funnier whenyou consider that I carried the Theo should start opposite Sanchez with Lacazette and Ozil behind them with Xhaka and Elneny as the pivots or Elneny and Maitland-Niles at the pivots with neither of them being 10’s.

    Its like you lool for keywords in my posts and none of the rest actually matter

    You talk about my list of players but selling Welbeck you add another 5-10 based on him being English and you probably could get 20m, and the rest collectively get you about 10-20 largely depending on the sale of Ramsey and you are now back at 80m. Fixing the pivots, GK and a commanding CB is the problems, our attack wasn’t the main problem, letting in 50 plus goals and your GK having the most errors that led to a goal by a GK in the PL was the problem. If reports of Leno are true then we are set at GK, I would gladly take a look at Ndidi from Leicester and a CB.

    I think the 50m thing is utter rubbish.

  29. Bill,

    So let me get this right: you want to sell Bellerin, Mustafi and Xhaka then buy better replacements plus a GK, DM and a commanding CB.

    In what world do you think we will be able to upgrade 6 positions with better players plus wages? That would literally cost north of 200m and do you see Arsenal doing that, hell only Citeh or Manure do that and they are also selling loads of players at the same time.

    O yea and don’t forget its a World Cup year so more than likely you can add 5-10m on all valuations simplu because.

  30. .C,

    Hi C,
    I should of been more specific sorry. We need a leader on the pitch. We all seem to agree we have lacked one since Paddy. Arteta wasn’t much of a leader on the pitch and he’s certainly not an AFC legend with a glorious past who would die for the club. If we’re going to rake a risk on inexperience it’s a no brainer. Viera

  31. Wailesy,

    Yea that makes since. I agree on that but the thing is, I wonder if we will now see more from the likes of Xhaka and recently purchased Aubameyang who are both vocal before they arrived. Mert was like that and remember Arsene quelled that or at least tried to. I still think we need somebody in midfirld and I fancy we could sign one and see what happened.

  32. Interesting report Arsenal are willing to sell Ramsey unless he signs. Sounds like a shift in Arsenal

  33. Wonder how stan the man will pay for this?
    The costs “have exploded as the former estimate of $2.6b has now skyrocketed to $4.25b requiring Los Angeles Rams Owner Stan Kroenke to secure a $2.25b loan from a banking consortium”

    This stadium is being built in a real estate bubble……

    Hmmmm….

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