The Arsenal Way: Tying One Hand Behind the New Man’s Back

Managerial change. It’s the only time football gives transfer rumours a run for their money and wins. I haven’t kept count but it might be easier to ask who isn’t in the frame for the Arsenal job. Even dear old Tinkerman was mentioned at the weekend. I don’t know what the Italian equivalent of schadenfreude but whatever it is, he invoked it.

And to think, Signor Ranieri was only at the match because he won a competition for match tickets.

Persistent speculation means we didn’t have a succession plan in place; there was no ‘go to’ guy to take over from Arsène waiting in the wings. Not unless the board is waiting a decent length of time before announcing who will take over. Pep was orchestrating Manchester City transfers while in charge of Bayern in much the same way Wenger did from Japan. Not yet appointed doesn’t mean not yet in charge.

Sky reports Arsenal didn’t approach anyone before Wenger’s announcement “out of respect”, which is code for being caught on the hop and ill-prepared for it. A pyrrhic victory if ever there was one for the Frenchman. But the thrust of the article is that Gazidis wants Arteta, Sanellhi favours Enrique, while Mislintat is hedging his bets and can’t decide between Nagelsmann and Tadesco.

In short, no-one knows who the club is talking to or whether Junior still fancies Thierry Henry to pick up the pieces. Nor is anyone clear how much influence Enos and co will have in the process. Are they going to interfere or give the club free reign?

Whatever the outcome, Ivan Gazidis moved front and centre in this process. The focus of the world is on the CEO and if he botches this, Arsène won’t be the only high-profile departure this summer. No pressure.

It is Such a Pleasure to Deal with Professionals. Refreshing.

Quite what Mikel Arteta has to find favour with Ivan, I don’t know. He’s called “innovative” and it smacks of the club looking to follow the Rams route for the new coach. That hints at KSE ‘offering direction’ or Ivan ingratiating himself with Enos and co. Whatever the reason, is Arteta the answer?

It’s an appointment which would carry more risk than the usual but tells us quite a lot about where the club is going, organisation-wise.

This is a coaching job. No more economics degrees or managers who control the transfer budget and negotiate deals. It’s the kind of structure that a club who caught their manager with his fingers in the till might invoke. You know, like us twenty years ago. Just consider how forward-thinking we would have been back then.

Keeping the Head Coach focused on football is no bad thing. In fact, it’s a very good thing and one which might bring dividends. It’s the reinvigoration of hope which, for us, is probably the most positive outcome at present.

It’s just as well someone else is doing the deals. The Telegraph this morning claims this summer’s transfer budget is only £50m. In the old days, the board might have given candidates an aptitude test by tying one hand behind their back and getting them to make a cup of tea without spilling a drop.

Now, it’s recruitment’s job to find the candidates whereupon Raul takes over and does the deal. Quickly, one hopes and without getting bogged down in £1 increments. While £50m doesn’t sound a lot, it all depends on who we sell. Last summer we ended up something like £20-30m ‘in profit’ on deals, ignoring the financial wizardry which accompanies these numbers in the accounts.

Oh, sure. Nag at me! Nagging’s good!

It can be done, it just depends on which crown jewel is told to do one. It also underlines the mismanagement of contracts; we’re throwing £15-20m away on Jack Wilshere. If the club don’t want him, instead of arguing about a pay as you play deal, give him a contract and sell in the summer. It isn’t ideal and the club takes a bit of a hit, but gets money in return. Now, we’re taking the hit and getting nothing in return.

In a ‘self-sufficient’ business, it’s small things like that, small contributions which mean a lot, particularly when we have some key positions which need filling.

That scenario in the ‘old days’ might have filled me with dread. £50m and a player walking on a free? Well, now we have new ways and a sense of optimism; let’s see what these gentlemen are made of. Gladiators, are you ready?

’til Tomorrow.


42 thoughts on “The Arsenal Way: Tying One Hand Behind the New Man’s Back

  1. CorpFin says:

    If anyone in the board and the administration has any brains they will refrain from hiring untried green “managers”, and go straight for serial winners: Ancelotti, Conte, Allegri.

    Viera, Henry, ARTETA?! Give me a fucking break.
    Nagelsman, Tadesco?! – project youth already failed, why try it on managers.
    Luis enrique – zero before barca (think rijkard and many others). probably 0 afterwards.
    Tuchel – a bad copy of Klopp.

    If there is anything this club needs the most right now it is a winning mentality. These dudes have it in abundance.

    Will any of the 3 get hired? Given their incompetance in football matters (and business matters too), there is snowball’s chance in hell of it happening.

  2. CorpFin says:

    By *their* incompetance I’m of course talking of the lovely Gazidis and CO.

  3. Arsetralian says:

    Good work YW
    As the darkest horse
    How about a disaffected Poch
    Ticks all the boxes
    Kicks arse
    Defensive pedigree
    Just needs $$$
    Sol jumped ship and how well did that go for us?

  4. Arsetralian says:


    Can we even try and think positively?
    I know this is a miserablist home but come on – you are all free now!
    Enjoy the moment
    Kick back

  5. JonJon says:

    if we are indeed looking at former players then he has to be an invincible.

    the players over recent years have all been very brittle – we never had any real leaders – so arteta might be a decent coach but does he have the personality to take that dressing room and command it? does he have the shoulders and the confidence to walk in wengers shoes?

    im unsure.

    we need a personality – someone who can command respect at the get go – i can only think of 2-3 names if we are going down the former player route and artetas not one of them.

  6. Arsetralian says:


    If not Poch
    I would listen to Patrick
    But does he know enough?
    God knows

  7. JonJon says:


    whatever happens, its going to be exciting going into the season without knowing how its going to end ….for the first time in nearly a decade we will have a summer where not a single one of us has a scooby whats going to happen and it sounds like so much fun.

    that refreshing breeze of change could well turn out to be fart in the face and we fall flat on our arses at the first hurdle but i can accept a new manager having a rough patch trying to work out what his best formation, team, and tactics are.
    the guy thats been here 22 years should already know and knowing that frustration wont be there anymore will be like having a bad tooth pulled

  8. Jimmy B says:

    Ancelotti, Conte, Allegri… Give me a fucking break. Do I sound tough too?

  9. Dave says:


    Negative man.
    We have to think ahead not appoint yesterday’s men.
    Remember Wenger was relatively unknown when he turned up outside the famous old marble halls of Highbury(if you had ever heard of Arsenal then is probably negligable) so let’s be positive and move on with forward thinking appointments.
    That’s how industry moves on.
    Dave (season ticket holder for over 30 yrs)

  10. Pete the Thirst says:

    It’s called: Pissing in the wind. Spraying around so many names that eventually one will be on target.

    If Gazidis hasn’t been looking for a replacement then what the hell has he been doing? I don’t buy this ‘respect to Wenger’ thing. He’s just been given the boot, which isn’t very respectful.

    Arteta ticks all the hair boxes at least.

  11. Michael says:

    Morning All

    I agree with Jon Jon that its exciting times ahead. Its pretty certain to be a head coach appointment, but with some of those names suggested, it looks like we are trying to do it on the cheap, not necessarily bad unless it goes pear shaped, and inexperience won’t help. However I really don’t want to hear the words “I know the club” from any prospective candidate as it invariably end in tears.

  12. Michael says:

    On another note I hope Orson is well, having been absent from here for a while.

  13. AG787 says:

    This is why I said Gazidis and co filled me with little confidence during his press conference last Friday. It is quite clear than Ivan, Stan, Josh & co had no succession plan in place at all 22 years in the making, unbelievably, actually it is quite believable given recent histories on transfers (at least before January of this year), communications, relations with fans, club set up, organization, commercialization and sponsorship which has all has been quite woeful to date. Arteta, dear oh dear. I agree if they mess up the next appointment somebody should be help accountable, no hiding behind Arsene’s frayed skirts this time round. Would much prefer a heavyweight like Allegri, Conte, Tuchel, Jardim, but is that likely with those in charge ?

  14. lari03 says:

    Some concerned persons in the Goonerverse are averse to Jardim, because of his recent 7-1 loss to PSG. Well he’s lost some key players or sold about 5 or so from last year so it may take some time for him to bounce back. Monaco sits 2nd on the Ligue Un table, while Lyon and Marseille are close behind with 1 point, in 3rd & 4th. PSG is doing a Man City at the top of the Ligue Un on 90 points from 34 games. Monaco with 70 from 34 games. Not too shabby for former champions, if you consider where Chelsea is in the EPL.

  15. Michael says:

    Lario 🙂
    I don’t go there after they slagged me years ago for pointing out stats are not the definitive answer.

  16. Pete the Thirst says:

    I understand that Orson and Jonny have gone to visit Nicky in Guernsey. They have brought along a book of condolence for Wenger.

    On another note I hope Orson is well, having been absent from here for a while.

  17. James says:

    We need the new generation not an old man stop-gap like Ancellotti, however experienced he might be. If the Arsenal Owners, Board and CEO don’t already have a post-Wenger succession plan long ago agreed, shame on them.

    I suspect they do, and it will be one of the new young breed to take over. Viera, Arteta, Poch maybe, even Rodgers (no thanks!), but it’s either a young top notch new breed (very likely, based on the owners actions in the USA recently) or some serial winner like Allegri. A return to real coaching would be handy.

    No Germans though, as none of them who are not named Klopp are up to the mark.

  18. James says:

    Of course Conte would be perfect, but I suspect the Owners will deem him too expensive bearing in mind they have a likely significant compensation pay out to old man Wenger.

  19. C says:


    I would take Jard but he HAS to bring Fabinho with him to be our DM for the next 5 plus years.

  20. C says:

    Good stuff and personally I don’t want somebody like Ancelotti or that lot. Allegri, Tuchel, Vieira, Nagelsmann, Enrique is my preferred line of thinking. The best thing Ivam has done is put pieces in place that have done brilliantly at the top of the ladder so we don’t have to worry about Sanllehi and Mislintat doing the business or qiestioning their credentials but they will also let the new manager focus solely on coaching and tactics.

    The other thing is that while sure the new manager is massive but so is his #2 and rest of their staff.

    As far as this summer, while the chest seems kind of light, I could see players being sold. Also, getting somebody like Max Meyer would be brilliant and you would get him on a free because he rejected Schalke’s contract offers.

  21. C says:

    Thinking about the Europa league tie against Athletico…..Simeone has said no Costa(for sure first leg and possibly 2nd), Juanfran(both legs), Felipe Luis(done for season) so Athletico are short handed through injuries.

  22. lari03 says:

    So Arteta has completed the Welsh Football Association training course to get his UEFA coaching badges. He and TH14 and a host of guys like Craig Bellamy, Freddie Ljunberg, and Sol Campell passed through this route to get their qualifications.
    Thierry Henry works as assistant manager with the Belgium national team. Arteta is a first team coach under Pep.

    Pep inherited Brian Kidd as assistant coach. He has at Man City, a youth coach, a personal dof, a tactical performance analyst, a fitness coach, goal keeping coach and Arteta was probably the English connoisseur coach from this generation.

    Is it too soon for Arteta to take the reins of first team ? Is he the bold step Gazidis is recommending ? Time will tell.

    The optimist in me feels Sven can find gems on a budget. We need a tactically astute coach to move ahead.

  23. lari03 says:

    I forgot to mention that almost all the first team coaches on Pep’s backroom staff except Brian Kidd all worked with him at Barcelona and Bayern. Arteta was the new addition.

  24. Stu says:

    Change is in the air, so I’m happy. Just as long as we don’t get an uninspired successor like Rodgers, then we move forward. I would prefer not to have the likes of Ancellotti, but there is some sense in having such an experienced person for a couple of seasons to make the break. A better Van Gaal.

    I certainly wouldn’t go down the Arteta, Dyche, Howe route. Although that smacks of KSE’s typical route. It also looks like a Moyes type appointment. I wouldn’t bet against this being the end result. Hints at engaging with youth, setting a low bar on transfer expectations. Welcome to the full blown KSE bargain basement Arsenal era.

    Ideally, we appoint an experienced “40/50 something” who is still eager, still dynamic. The likes of Conte, Allegri, Jardin, Enrique or even the left field idea of poaching Poch. And give him a raw talent as his assistant and possible successor. For me that has to be Viera. Not Henry, not Arteta. In a perfect world, the coaching team will be supported by the likes of Keown and possibly Bergkamp. A coaching team born out of winners. It may look a little like the recent Ajax experiment, which goes back to the KSE way of doing things…..Frank de Boer anyone?

  25. lari03 says:

    We need to take on the 3-5-2 as our default formation going into next season. We would need only a CB, CDM and goal keeper if we chose to use this formation.
    Lacazette & Aubameyang as the front two.
    Kolasinac, Elneny, Ozil, new DM, Bellerin
    Chambers, Holding, Mavropanos
    Macey or Emiliano Martinez as the GK.

    Now a good coach can coax and coach Chambers, Holding and Mav to be good defenders accomplished in the art of defending. Ozil plays centrally, Ramsey plays when Ozil is injured. We convert our midfield 4 with the exception of Ozil into a bank of 4 covering the back 3, when we defend; then we break at pace through our WB’s and centrally only through Ozil with the CDM on the side of the break offering a 3rd option behind the runner, who has 2 strikers ahead, a wingback beside, and a CDM close behind.

    In this situation if the runner loses the ball, the press can be applied immediately and if within 15 seconds the ball is not recovered, we get back in shape. Same personnel as we have already, but drilled to perfection.

  26. C says:

    Fuck me, Citeh are close to signing Jorginho which would mean he is replacing Fernandinho.

  27. C says:

    Couple dark horses:

    Marcelino – Valencia. I think he is a good manager who will create a very solid defense but he also puts into place a style that lends itself to beautiful attacking futbol.

    Cocu of PSV. Another attacking manager who preaches high pressing attacking futbol style that focuses not only on possession, but possession with intent.

  28. Aaron says:

    Try both hands behind their back, blindfolded and on uneven ground.
    All the talk of Arteta or some other rookie makes me spit up my coffee.
    Unless, the plan is to put the new coach in a tiny little square and say here is your freedom, now get to it. A faux choice if there ever was one.

    As I said on another site:

    Does not matter!
    Whomever gets the keys to the proverbial castle will find only cobwebs, bats and rats.
    Inside the new coach will find an empty chest, all the while being greeted at the door by count alucard.
    With stan the man, his son, and the rest of the familial leeches waiting to come by now and then, looking to collect their fair share of whatever is left from hillside scavenging.

    Lather rinse repeat.

  29. Michael says:

    The mention of a £50m transfer figure at this point is curious. I wonder if its telling the prospective new guy there isn’t much point in coming with a long shopping list. Letting potential clubs know we aren’t going to be a soft touch. Also it could mean we are really tight arses, as TV money would be around twice that, and I’m sure the current bank balance isn’t zero.

  30. consolsbob says:

    I see that the scousers have lost any class that they had.

  31. C says:

    Only Ronaldo has more goals and assists combined than Firmino in the CL. I wanted him before he came to the PL when Arsenal were said to be sniffing around when he was a hybrid winger/attacker and boy, another one we lost out on.

  32. C says:

    Haha, come on Roma, come on Roma!

    5-2 is massive, those two away goals are huge.

  33. Buckagh says:


    It was tie over, but chink of light for Roma now, but would back Liverpool to go through they will score in away leg

  34. C says:


    You never know what could happen.

    My money is still on Bayern to win it all.

  35. Phil says:

    I would prefer to invest in a youthful manager ( relatively ) than a recycled manager like Ancelotti.

  36. Phil says:

    £50m, if enhanced by sales should be sufficient to get a head start.
    How much could be raised by selling- Mustafi, Xhaka, Etc?

  37. Bill says:


    If we only have $50M war chest then we need to make a few sales and if Bellerin is really worth $40-50M to Barcelona then selling him is a no brainer. We have certainly taken them for a ride before and made some money when we sold players like Song and Hleb.

  38. Bill says:

    Liverpool are a good example of something we have been talking about for a while. They completely torched a Roma team that held Barcelona to 3 goals in 2 games today. You don’t need brilliant creative players in the midfield and you don’t need the deep lying playmaker who links the defense to the attack and all of the other tactical mumbo jumbo we talk about all the time. If you play solid defense and then attack at pace and get the ball the forward into dangerous areas before the opposition defense can set up then you don’t need the worlds great passers and a world class #10 pulling the strings in order to be successful.

  39. Phil says:

    I see your point,
    And selling Bellerin would raise serious money,
    However I don’t see the point on selling the future and replacing him with someone inferior.
    It should be easier to sell Mustafi( for less money I grant you) and upgrade with his replacement.

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