Unai Emery held his the pre-match press conference of his reign yesterday. It might only be Borehamwood but even the boss’ vocal chords must undergo pre-season training.
If the themes didn’t change, that the delivery did. Emery was pleased with the progress being made, that “they are working very hard.”
Which is a shock to some systems, I’m sure.
I jest. Training always looked like a time when the squad’s true natures emerged; the pressure was off, results didn’t matter and there was no-one critiquing their performance. Now, they are on a mission to impress the new boss, suspecting that while they know the probable XI to start games if everyone is fit.
However, Emery isn’t letting on how much of his mind he has made up in that respect.
“They are working with the ambition that I want. I think the quality is high here, and I think together we will work with this quality and the details in the tactics. They will go with my ideas and work with my ideas every day, and this will help them to do these things on the pitch.”
The players, he claimed, are “50%” of the way there, Manchester City is where the focus lies. “For me, the position is for the team to get better day by day, and we plan for the first match against Manchester City,” he said when asked about the title.
Hopes of that seem ludicrous although the last time I remember us being 25/1 before the start of the season, we won the double. That was 1997/98 and probably the last time I looked, to be honest. The target for next season is to be the best we can and while that is the best, I’ll be happy with improving on recent years.
The club’s business is done as far as new signings are concerned. Even though Emery hasn’t spoken to Arsène, the answer over potential signings came straight from the Frenchman’s notebook. “We will only sign a player in the next month if he’s a big opportunity,” he said.
Our reality is that the moths ate the remaining notes in the transfer wallet without sales first. A key player leaving might trigger more activity but if Emery’s wishes are heeded, that won’t be Aaron Ramsey.
“I’m very happy with him. For me, every day, every training session, he has the ambition I want. He’s working with a quality, the type of ability that I want. I want to work with him.”
He made it clear, however, his view is an opinion, one which carries considerable weight. Negotiations, he made clear, are being conducted by others.
“This is one question for the player and for the club. In my opinion, I’ve said to Ivan, Raul and Sven that I think he’s an important player for me.”
In the past, these comments were ascribed to politics; now, it’s the reality of our situation, of our new management structure. If it comes down to it – and ‘it’ is money – then it won’t be pinned on this coach; decisions of that nature are made by others.
That plays a part in Ramsey’s thinking and the shadow of Mesut Özil’s negotiations colours these talks. Arsenal were over a barrel and the trundling noise Huss Fahmy – Huss Against? – can hear is ominous.
For the decision-makers, it’s a case of deciding where a tipping point is. It’s no good saying we’ll make a ‘take it or leave it’ offer because we won’t. We did that with Jack Wilshere and promptly went back with revised terms.
The First Cut-Off Is The Deepest
My guess is our ‘cut-off’ point is January next year. There is less than a month of the transfer window open for buying, each day adding pressure not just in terms of finding a replacement but also integrating a player in the squad.
It might be Steven N’Zonzi but judging by Emery’s words, that’s the only way the Sevilla midfielder joins us.
Anyway, that’s it for today. Tomorrow sees the new season edge closer. Football has come home, but is fumbling drunkenly with the keys at the front door. Four more weeks before it sobers up.