If nothing else, the shackles of conservatism will hang a little looser around Arsenal Football Club when the appointment of Mikel Arteta is announced. That is as far as the club is concerned a huge risk and we’ll only find out if it was worth it the hard way.
Will it signal a more adventurous Arsenal on and off the pitch, certainly as far as the football side is concerned? There’s a lot of chatter that points to that being the direction in which we’re headed.
Santi Cazorla being appointed to the coaching staff, Thierry Henry as his assistant; even dear old Bobby Pires is volunteering to come back and help. If Steve Bould and Jens Lehmann are persuaded to stay, the coterie of former players so often felt to be missing from Arsenal will be complete.
Yes, there will be coaches who’ve never played for the club but if that basic core is in place then nobody can complain that we’re not staffed by people who have Arsenal in their blood.
Appoint Bob Wilson as chairman instead of Chips and we’ll be there. Or Sir Bob and Lady Megs as it should be, for all their charitable work. If Theresa May can appoint cronies just to get legislation passed through the Lords, then the government can damn well reward people whose efforts warrant recognition.
The question of whether Arteta is the right man for the job is a different aspect of the appointment. Is he the man I’d have chosen? No, he wasn’t even on the radar until his name was floated. I’ve long held the view that the club needed a steady hand to negotiate the choppy waters of Arsène’s departure. The changes at the top were designed to negate that necessity; are they right? We shall see.
Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad
For people used to being cautious in their actions, this a huge leap in the dark. Ivan & co will point to the move to the Emirates from Highbury as equally risky. Well, only Ken Friar was on the board at that time; Harris the carpet fitter wasn’t onboard until six months before the move took place.
And let’s not forget, the reputations of Ivan, Sven, and Raul are on the line. Get this one wrong and their backs are against the wall if they are trusted with finding his replacement.
I’d guess Ivan is the one with most to lose. It strikes me that Junior is being lined up as his replacement with the broad interest he is taking in the business side of things. Maybe not and I’m doing him a disservice. It won’t be the last time.
There’s much to be gained by Arteta doing well, as much as there is by things going pear-shaped. What it won’t be is boring, or at least that’s my feeling. Appointing an unknown quantity brings the new season into sharp focus. How will pre-season shape? What input is he going to have in the recruitment process? Presumably, the ‘final say’ is retained even if the extensive control of Arsène is a thing of the past.
Sven and his team do their part, Raul his; Arteta must surely have input, just as releasing coaches will have. He didn’t take the decision, but the extent and numbers of people departed were sufficient to warrant notice. It’s a huge risk for whoever was the mover and shaker behind it if they didn’t involve a new boss.
Whatever the case, these are exciting times at Arsenal. We’re used to seeing the club develop players, now we’ll see a head coach learn on the job.
Paradise by Floodlight?
That’s an appointment which echoes their US operations. Is it KSE looking for the cheap option? I don’t think so since they stand to lose value on their investment if it goes wrong. Is it cheaper to pay the wrong man off? Of course. When you see Sam Allardyce’s severance package, you understand why.
The Walrus is a good example of why experience isn’t necessarily a good thing. Yesterday saw reports that having called the players in for Sunday training after a defeat, Sammy Lee then informed the players Allardyce was at his home in Spain. The squad were less than amused at the news.
We’ve got as low a bar for improvement as could be expected. There are several issues for the Spaniard to resolve quickly: Wilshere and Ramsey are the notables. The former? The ball is in his court as to whether he signs. Maybe missing out on the World Cup is the trigger for a permanent move away. Maybe Arteta can slot him into the starting line-up and get the best from Jack.
Ramsey is the question with the tough answer. If he isn’t signing a new deal, he has to be sold. He’s one of the few saleable assets we have and letting him walk for nothing would be as criminal as anything which threatened to happen recently.
Tough calls for the new coach to make. Ramsey, I suspect, is one where he will be asked for his opinion, but find others are making the calls.
As I said earlier, these are exciting times at Arsenal and I’m glad we have but a short break between the World Cup and pre-season starting.