With a new boss on board, the transfer rumours are going into overdrive. So far, we’re talking to Dortmund about Sokratis, Sampdoria about Praet, Sevilla about Rico, and Freiburg about Soyuncu. And that’s just this morning.
We’re doing a lot of talking about talking about. Too much talk and not enough action? Or simply a load of old…
The new coaching and recruitment set-up lends itself to this chatter. Someone can talk out of school and it’s hard to know who. There’s a distinct advantage in leaks from within the club; it makes us look dynamic as if everything is being done to give Unai Emery the best chance of success.
I’m not suggesting that we’ve worked against the previous manager. I think he was more than capable of shooting himself in the foot with an over-developed sense of loyalty to his players and a belief they would get it right. Eventually.
While it’s good to talk, actions speak louder than words. And a lot of words have been spoken about Jack Wilshere’s situation. An improved offer put forward by the club hasn’t been rejected formally, but neither has it been signed. The enthusiasm of both sides to brief the press has waned. Is there nothing more to be said or nothing happening? Or something happening which necessitates a period of calm reflection?
Talks are the order of the summer with a number of players and the club could do worse than announcing a new signing or a new deal in the next week or so. It keeps momentum building and the essence of a ‘feelgood factor’ around the place. The World Cup is upon us in a fortnight or so, to take the headlines. That’s the time to slip ‘bad’ news out. The good news comes now and on rest days.
All Four-One and One Four-All
Certainly, some of the talk around midfielders ties in with the uncertainty over Wilshere and Ramsey. Substance comes later, so, for now, it’s speculation.
There’s a groundswell of opinion that Ramsey should be captain which smacks of the same kind of sop when Cesc and Van Persie received the armband; anything to keep a star player happy. That didn’t end well before, did it?
If he is captain, he might prove me wrong but appears to be a case of the ‘best of a bad lot’. We don’t have a ‘natural’ leader or if we do, they’ve kept that quality well-hidden.
The Wenger years diminished the captain’s role. He made no secret of not valuing the armband in the leadership sense, which is peculiar since Adams and Vieira were such strong characters. It went to pot with Henry, to be honest. He cast a long shadow over some players, Reyes in particular, who felt overawed and intimidated by his presence.
If you look at the successful sides in Europe, their captains are the ‘old style’. Lieutenants on the pitch, they galvanise, cajole and organise; the qualities we cried out for but lacked away from home last season. It doesn’t guarantee success but a phrase which comes up more frequently nowadays is that footballers like to be ‘organised’.
They want to be coached – some need it – and they want a clear plan. Some need a rigid plan, to know where to be in defensive situations. That is a contrast emerging between Emery and Wenger; the latter’s laissez-faire attitude is being replaced by a more structured approach. The pressing game requires that. How will the players react to the new regime? We’ll find out pretty quickly as most of them are missing the World Cup.