Backroom Staff and the Right to Veto: The First Choices of Mikel Arteta

So, this is it; the big day. Move over Hazza and Megs, the real business is about to hit the front pages. Arsenal carry out the last vestiges of the media beauty pageant with Thierry Henry’s interview before announcing Mikel Arteta as the new boss. It’s not an interview as such, more a chat with Ivan over tea and biscuits telling him how Mikel is their man.

And he is. I mentioned the other day that for a ‘conservative’ club this was a big step; it’s as big a step as appointing Bertie Mee, but without the fall-back position of him being caretaker.

The appointment ends the air of uncertainty over the club. Not just in filling a vacant position, but also in getting some idea of how the new management structure will work. The playing side, the actual matches and training, will hang in the air for a while longer. Arteta, presumably, has his own ideas of which players to cut loose and who he definitely wants to keep.

At a guess, half the squad don’t know his thinking one way or the other. I’d be surprised if it’s less than that unless the list of players for sale is long. Arteta will also know which positions he wants to strengthen quickly. If he is to make two signings this season, I contend centre-back and goalkeeper are the key roles. We need a defensive midfielder as well, but not as desperately as we need those two roles filling.

Sokratis is another Dortmund or former Dortmund player we’re looking to sign; it will be cheaper to buy Dortmund as a club at this rate. As a ‘quick’ dip into the market, you’re getting an upgrade on Mustafi; error-prone but with some clue about defending as well.

I’m in Charge. No, I am. Hey, What About Me?

But you’re left wondering if Sven has more tricks up his sleeve. At the moment, he’s proving to be a one-trick pony but having been in situ for six months, he must have other, non-Dortmund, players under scrutiny. Otherwise, he is just a one-man StatDNA and that isn’t particularly complimentary.

Equally, our slovenly behaviour in transfer windows must be a thing of the past. It’s quite right that Mikel Arteta is focussed purely on football matters, yet retaining a veto over signings. He’s the man tasked with coaching the squad; he should at least choose them.

The issue is a resolution to differences of opinion. Can he and Sven sit down to discuss players, finding a solution without one running to Ivan? That provides more proof that the system works for Arsenal than everyone nodding in agreement. I’m sure they will. However, at least one of them has a high-profile instance of combustibility that marks it out as an area to watch.

And when they have, it’s down to Raul to negotiate quickly and well. Not necessarily in that order, but with less to spend than usual after buying Aubameyang in the winter, shrewdly is the key trait. No procrastination; in like Flint, if you like and making sure we land the players.

It sounds so simple, but when you think of the prevarication of the past, of how the hesitancy became the stuff of lore, this changing dynamic must work for the club. Otherwise the question is why bother to make those changes. And, Ivan blows a lot of smoke up a lot of arses, as well.

Hey, Coach!

Arteta’s first job is stocking his coaching staff. There’s a genuine possibility that Steve Bould may go, especially if he harbours ambitions to be a head coach himself. Stoke City, his hometown club, has a vacancy and the suggestion is taht Bould is interested. Whether that’s 1 + 1 = 1 or otherwise, time will tell.

Similarly, does Jens want to be a goalkeeping coach? Or has he got eyes on a bigger role? Everyone claims to know what is going on – the weekend saw reports that Xabi Alonso, Arteta’s friend from their youth, will be involved – but until the appointment is made, we know diddly squat.

Alonso would be an ideal coach in many ways for Xhaka. The latter is not dissimilar to the Spaniard; not blessed with pace, can’t tackle but both struck the ball sweetly. Can he bring the best out of the Switzerland international?

That’s if Xhaka stays at the club. We need a defensive midfielder and frankly, that’s Xhaka’s role if Ramsey and Özil are both in the side. Is the former Monchengladbach man the saleable asset rather than the Welshman or Bellerin? He would command a substantial fee, even if it isn’t going to be as much as we paid for him.

There is a world of possibilities ahead. It may turn out to be the wrong choice but equally, it might be a stroke of genius in appointing Arteta. Time will tell.

And now you watch them appoint someone else…

’til Tomorrow.

65 thoughts on “Backroom Staff and the Right to Veto: The First Choices of Mikel Arteta

  1. consolsbob says:

    Well., I am getting quite excited.

  2. YW says:

    Steady on, Mr Chairman; a man of your advanced years shouldn’t be getting too excited.

  3. lari03 says:

    I didn’t think of selling Xhaka, but it could work. As it stands, we have Elneny as a backup DM, and Maitland Niles could easily be our new box to box CM. Lots of possibilities.

  4. Dgob says:

    And if we’re being misled by the media and Arteta is NOT even being considered seriously…?

  5. Pete the Thirst says:

    Yes sell Xhaka, his performances make Denilson look a world beater!

  6. andy1886 says:

    To pick up on a point: “but with less to spend than usual after buying Aubameyang in the winter” why is this generally accepted as fact?

    The truth is that AFC had near as makes no difference a net ZERO spend last season. Purchases of £107m and sales of £110m according to That on an income of £487.6m (sixth highest in world football above both PSG and Chelsea according to Deloitte).

    On that basis to only have £50m as a transfer budget suggests if true colossal financial mismanagement of the highest order. Wages is one area we still struggle to deal with efficiently. Giving MO a quite frankly bonkers salary suggests we are still not learning. It may have been something of a PR coup to retain him but the impact on the field will almost certainly be a negative one. Either it will inflate wage demands amongst other top players, or more likely it will result in better players deciding to leave when they are not also granted significant rises.

    Consequently I expect Ramsey to leave, and in all honesty if we could get anywhere near what we paid for Xhaka he should go too. Mesut is a financial albatross that we’re unlikely to be able to move on sadly, but Cech, Ospina and Welbeck should free up around £10m from the wage bill. With Santi departing and possibly Jack too we need another midfield option unless we think that Iwobi and Elneny are going to feature regularly. Another CB means the end of Kos, we already have many alternative options in his position.

    Given the short TW this summer Sven needs to pull his finger out.

  7. YW says:

    The transfer budget includes agents fees – all part of the cost of buying a player – but those on contract negotiations as well. So on £100m of sales, I’d guess at £20m of fees. A similar amount on purchases, so that’s spend of £40m.

    Out of the pot also comes bonuses to all the players we sold. Unless they asked to leave, they all get the remaining elements of their signing-on bonuses. Plus agents fees on contract renewals as well as signing-on bonuses of new players.

    Easily £70-100m spend, I’d say.

  8. andy1886 says:


    Good point YW, although the same applies to every other club who don’t seem to have the lack of funds that we do. TV revenues have tripled since we paid £42m for Ozil in 2013. Using the club’s own figures revenues have increased from £242.8m with a wage bill of £154.5m in 2013 to £423.9m and a wage bill of £199.4m at the end of the 16/17 season.

    So that’s a net increase in income of £181.1m and a net increase of salaries of £44.9m which begs the question of where has the rest of the money gone? Of course other costs will have increased but by nowhere near the sum remaining. As far as I am aware all of the costs we face now regards player contracts, bonuses (no CL bonus for 2 years btw) agents fees etc were also applicable back then. Yet broadly speaking we have the same funds available in 2018 that we had to buy Ozil back in 2013. It does look rather odd.

  9. The Arsesores (AITG) says:

    Appointing Arteta is a stroke of ……frugality.

    And worrying whether that pays off is very last 10 yearsish, those who win the league don’t ask this question any more, they throw money at it.

    But I am excited, we get to see some change and that is new. Even if Arseteta has the players of last year, I want to know if they can be better motivated by him.

    To be back thinking about the title we have to be showing promise on the pitch and in the board and the choice of boss may prove to be inspired, but does offer hope that we are taking that seriously.

    It is not the only measure, so the pitch will be important. Can we have a defense please?

  10. Pete the Thirst says:


    Agree Andy.

    The biggest mystery for me has always been the cash balance held by the Club. Despite the outgoings the cash will be somewhere in the region of £150m – £200m at the start of next season. What the hell is this for? Has been built up for years. If we were going to splurge it a good time would be now.

    The long term debt on the stadium is under control, so there is no need to have such a large cash balance. It makes no sense for a football club to hold on to money…..unless it is being used for something else….like a leverage tool for the owner??

  11. andy1886 says:

    Pete the Thirst,

    Yup, I suspect that there is something that we don’t know about going on behind the scenes. I’m not sure though how Stan could leverage it for business purposes (like collateral on his loans for the LA Rams’ stadium) when he is not the sole owner though, the funds belong to the club, not Stan. Ultimately though a football club’s resources should be utilised to put the best team possible on the pitch, and for a club that claims to be financially responsible we’ve done a really poor job of that.

  12. C says:

    Xabi coaching up Xhaka would be absolutely brilliant. The other thing that they share is an ability to be quite thr hot head and through in some rash revengeful challenges.

  13. C says:

    Have to say, if we can get both those CB’s then will prove good business. Also, have to say, feel like we got the better of the Sanchez / Mkhitaryan swap deal.

  14. Simon Cummins says:

    I wonder what will happen with Lucas Perez?

  15. Jonnygunner says:


    I read an article today that implied just that C

  16. andy1886 says:


    I’m not sure why we need two CB’s when we have one experienced pro and three young players who we should be trying to bring through, plus two others that can fill in (our two LB’s can play there) and another experienced pro who will eventually make a return. That’s far too many CB’s. If we buy two then realistically it’s the end for Chambers and Holding even if ‘the Greek lad’ hangs around. One I could understand, two, no way.

    And I’d agree that on performances we got the better of the Sanchez deal based on performances but add that neither has really pulled up any trees so far. It’s more a case of who got the worst deal because although Sanchez has been poor for United Mhiki has been nowhere near as good for us as Sanchez was at his Arsenal best.

  17. C says:


    Just think, people talk about Ozil and his wages, Sanchez is almost on double Ozil’s contract.

  18. C says:


    I agree with that but I do wonder if the new boys don’t think much of Holding and/or Chambers. I could see one leaving this summer honestly and then Sokratis being the experienced head coming in for Kos and Mert and then the other lad coming in and being the partner of Mustafi going forward. The deal for Sokratis is reported as two years so maybe there is something to that.

    True but Mkhitaryan has actually showed something about him and that he was being wasted at Manure. I think he will continue to show more but Sanchez is a lost cause and especially when you consider he is on 500k/wk.

  19. Bill says:

    Thanks for the post Yogi. I would hope for a clean break from Arsene and we should let most of our coaches leave. Arsene would not have kept anyone around who were not firmly in the camp that believed AKB. It seems like continuity in terms of coaches is highly overrated.

    With regard to Xhaka, he is a good passer but the deepest midfielder in any formation has have a defense first mindset and he has to be good at defending. If we are going to be playing Mkhitaryan wide left then Ozil has to move back to central midfield or be dropped and Mesut is not going to help with the midfield defense. That means it becomes critical for our deepest midfielder to anchor the defense and after watching him for 2 years it seems unlikely that any amount of coaching is going to make Xhaka suited for that role on a PL team.

  20. Bill says:


    We have no realistic idea how good either Holding or the Greek lad are and how they would adapt to being regular first team CB’s. We have almost no chance to regain to top 4 if we build a team that relies on players who are probably more likely to struggle with inconsistency for at least a couple years and ultimately probably more likely to be the next Phil Senderos rather then the next Sol Campbell. I expect there is no position on the pitch where experience is more important then CB. We should send Mavropano’s and Holding on loan for at least a couple of years and let them work thru the inconsistency of youth on someone else’s club. The other benefit is after 2 years we would have a much better idea of how good they really are. That seems like a pretty straightforward decision to me.

  21. Bill says:

    Arteta has to get us back into the top 4 sooner rather then later. To tell him he has to win now and then handcuff him by telling him he has to develop a group of early 20’s year old CB’s who have almost no experience are almost mutually exclusive objectives.

  22. andy1886 says:


    If we buy just the one CB then we still have Mustafi to partner them. Given that we then have three youngsters as back up it’s unlikely that any of them would play a significant proportion of games next season, but at least they would get games. That said if we buy two CB’s why would the two older ones (Holding and Chambers) hang around and waste away their careers at Arsenal?

  23. Dukey says:

    Anybody fancy Emery?

    I prefer blondes!

  24. Bill says:

    Arsene could do almost anything he wanted because for all of those years he had complete job security. Hopefully that is changed and Arteta can’t be expected to win in the next couple of seasons but at the same time develop a group of unproven CB’s and Maitland-Niles as a defensive minded midfielder and try to figure out how to get Xhaka to play Defense. That is whole central defensive spine of his team.

  25. C says:

    Looks like Arsene cleaned out his desk and has left London Colney.

  26. andy1886 says:


    So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye! Thanks for the good times, shame that you couldn’t go out at the top.

  27. MikeSA says:

    I’ve now marked the website 101 goals to be excluded from my news now lists.

    It’s a been a month and that bunch of cunts are still fucking including Wenger’s resignation speech in the middle of every fucking article they produce.

    Its become more than just a little annoying.

    How to drive viewership away 101.

  28. Ras says:

    David Ornstein has just tweeted that Unai Emery is to be the next Arsenal Msnager

  29. JD Gooner says:

    Yes Ras, read that as well. Knowing how informed Ornstein is this is probably right!

  30. C says:

    BBC reporting that Emery is set to be appointed Arsenal manager.

  31. Dukey says:

    Its taken me all week to get used to arteta being manager. Are they taking the piss.

  32. Colts says:

    Mikel is way more exciting that emery, can’t wait to hear how he aced the interview.

  33. JonJon says:

    fuck sake haha

    good fun this managerial merry go round.

    i was just getting used to the idea of arteta as well.

  34. Harry says:

    Dick Emery it is then (or is it?). That caught ’em all on the hop.

    I don’t know enough about him to form an opinion. Which is probably a good thing. Look forward to the next post, YW.

  35. C says:


    To be honest, given where we are Emery isn’t a bad option given what he did at Sevilla and I discount PSG because to my mind they will never win the CL.

    To me it also speaks of a system being put into place where the manager manages and Mislintat, Sanllehi and Huss do their thing. Emery also knows working within financial restraints and has quite a ruthless streak with players.

  36. C says:


    Brave new Arsenal: push the old man out, tell a couple ex-players to interview and we will chose one then say fuck it and go with the Europa winner

  37. C says:

    The funniest part of all of this is the same people who said Arteta was the wrong choice are now hoping he actually comes. My mate is sending me screenshots from social media and its fucking hilarious.

  38. andy1886 says:

    Emery would be a decent appointment, so fair play if these reports are correct. Just wish I’d had a few quid on him at 66-1 a few weeks back (crazy odds when you think about it).

  39. Birdkamp says:


    We talked about him at Sevilla. Now of course this wasn’t all down to him, but it was amazing how they’d sell off half a squad and still be competitive in Europe the next season. At Arsenal he’ll probably have to sell one every couple of years rather than four or five each summer, so we’ll see what he’s like when he can build a team.

    Nobody knows how this will work out, but anybody worried about MA’s lack of experience should be pretty optimistic about Emery.

    He’s arguably a little more pragmatic, style-wise than I was expecting.

  40. C says:


    We have talked about him and his ability to get the best out of his squad and win in Europe while selling players but also having a ruthless streak about axing players.

    It also makes sense because we are in Europa next season and I imagine with a full squad we have a great shot at the crown. The intetesting thing is that he plays with 2 pivots that sit and dictate.

    Agree about those that didn’t fancy an inexperienced manager.

  41. Birdkamp says:


    Yes, I don’t think it’s going to be fireworks on the pitch with two holding mfs. And he played a right back on the wing vs Liverpool in 2016.

    Again, people who thought AW’s teams were too open will take to him.

  42. andy1886 says:

    I’d be glad we went for an outsider, the players need someone completely different to Wenger to shake them up a bit. We have a potentially excellent forward line we just need a solid base for them to perform on and Emery seems like the sort of manager that would give them that. In the same way that Wenger added flair to Graham’s structure Emery could bring the structure that we’re missing to what is a technically good set of players.

  43. C says:


    Yup he plays with two sitting midfielders which bodes well for us. Other thing is, he doesn’t mind attacking with 4, defending with 6 but I can’t see Cech lasting especially with his shit distribution.

    The other thing is, he helps players improve. Look at PSG and thr likes of Lo Celso, Aerola and Kimbempe all players who he improved but he also got thr beat out of Cavani, Marquinhos and Verratti. Wouldn’t mind him bringing Raboit with him.

  44. C says:


    Spot on! Imagine him saying Ozil, Aubameyang, Mhkitaryan Lacazette go score goals and press, the 6 behind you will defend and provide a solid base.

  45. Birdkamp says:


    Yeah, I think that’s what excites me the most. Players get better under him. If you look back at the last two years here – I mean, ignore the league performance and just see how few of our players were called up to the WC – it’s been a bit disappointing on that front.

  46. Skywalker says:

    @Andy I agree with you. Given us in the Europa, not much money to spend, and many players had good time under Wenger not performing, Emery is the right guy. Arteta would have struggled to control them, Good to go for an outsider.

  47. C says:


    Yup, thats the part that has me quite excited. What will be interesting though is who is sold and who will lose out. I bet Bellerin is over the moon because Emery will get him back to being one of the best in the PL.

  48. lari03 says:

    Typical Arsenal appointment. Deflect all views Arteta’s way and then appoint Unai Emery. Good vibes!

  49. Ras says:


    Hello C long time , hope your well. I think your right. Umrai is a decent coach. His spell at Sevilla was very impressive.

    At PSG He had the EGO of Neymar to deal with. Not easy and was never going to win.

    He’s a good FootballingvCoach. We will see what he can do with this lot.

  50. C says:


    Has been a long time mate, I’m well. How about yourself.

    Emery is a good coach to not only see us through the Europa League but to the next level. I don’t understand people criticizing for what happened in the impossible PSG job.

    He makes player better and is good defendsively, as andy said its sort of the reverse when Arsene took over and I’m excited.

  51. Arsetralian says:


    He was always the best choice available and I am sure the misdirection will have helped negotiation of salary plus proper interview process

    Well played

    It was strange the way he fell by the media wayside even though he was still available

    One comment which seemed to stick was re his poor English and that was that…

    Maybe there is a still a twist but looks done

    Ticks all the boxes from defence, detail and success. And lots of pre-season time with our non World Cup players who are many!


  52. Arsetralian says:

    One comment I heard which resonates about Arteta and playing the Pep way was that a half arsed version gets you shredded by the Leicester manure Chelski type teams

    I suspect with our personnel and budget we could have seen more painful defeats trying to ‘play football’

    Emery will hopefully be more realistic than fanciful

  53. FREDDO says:

    In the time I’ve watched La Liga, no coach gave Barcelona more trouble than Emery. He always seemed to have a plan (that often worked). This may be a great signing.

  54. Bill says:

    I don’t know much about Emery but I like what I have heard. Our board and the decision makers who made this happen deserve credit if this news is true.

  55. lari03 says:

    I have run out of links to read. Thanks Birdkamp for the link.

  56. lari03 says:

    The Defensive Midfielder’s are essential within the structure of the team as they are responsible for dictating the shape, as until one of them drop into the Centre Back position, the Full Back’s cannot play further forward and allow the Wide Strikers more freedom in the pitch. Furthermore when defending they must be able to cover for the Full Back’s who may be caught high up the field while screening passes in the opposition strikers.

    Courtesy of Cameron Campbell. Analyzing Emery’s tactical approach, sounds like Bellerin will learn to sit and play as a full back.

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