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
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?
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.