Sade won in the end. In truth, it wasn’t much of a battle for the musical headline connotation. The Three Degrees made the early running, Showaddywaddy put up a decent fight, Prefab Sprout title contenders and the Circle Jerks “When the s*** hits the fan” was easily the best fit if you add an ‘s’ to ‘fan’. Probably not appropriate for family reading, however.
Mind you, maybe Sven will be following George Formby’s advice and end up cleaning windows. The German achieved legendary status at Dortmund. Well, when he joined Arsenal. A fresh start, some new impetus as a sign as the ‘old guard’ found its’ race was run.
But Ivan jumped ship quicker than anyone expected, creating a power vacuum which, on the footballing side, Raul finished. Unai Emery became empowered by the move as well; the coterie would dominate transfer discussions: Unai highlighted weaknesses, Sven identified the players and Raul made the deals.
Sadly, the simple rarely is and Ivan, the creator, became the architect of its’ downfall. Honigstein suggests it is a culture clash and a bruised ego at play; entirely plausible given the reasons for his departure from Dortmund. Arguing with the coach and banned from the training ground; artistic temperament or a ‘big personality’?
The numbers man met his nemesis in the contacts book tucked neatly into Raul Sanllehi’s pocket. Cold logic, substantiated by the data, came face-to-face with the coach’s footballing instinct. Two battles too many to win.
It’s not a hard story to believe.
Talk Is Cheap
The transfer talk of this window is not about promising youngsters, it’s primary players are those whom Emery knows and trusts. Ever Banega is shaping to become the next Yann M’Vila while Dennis Suarez has Salamon Kalou written all over him, hopefully not using indelible ink as that’s a bit of a bugger to remove.
Is it the cause or effect? The club’s target is to return to the Champions League and there are two ways of going about it: instant returns on investment or a long game, waiting for youth to realise its’ promise.
Or, football’s pragmatism vs the wilderness years.
With our current squad, bringing in the untried and untested at this level would certainly signal a number of years outside the top four, something our business model isn’t robust enough to sustain.
Pragmatism wins. The antithesis of Sven’s thinking, if you like, and I’m sure, a waste of his talents. None of the names touted needed extensive scouting, I’m sure. It’s easier, in our situation, to make a decision on the likes of Carrasco or James Rodriguez than a youngster from Ligue 2.
And I think we need to take
Stories about appointing Edu as technical director circulated recently. However, do they spring from Sven’s desire to leave or are they the cause of that departure? The manifestation of a power vacuum or just the club moving to close the gap caused by an imminent departure?
Sven Will I See You Again?
Amy Lawrence’s eulogy in this morning’s Guardian paint Sven as a guardian of the club’s soul. There’s little public evidence to support that view and Arsenal are as far from a rock ‘n’ roll club as you can imagine.
Mislintat, I’d venture, is probably the right man at the wrong time in the club’s history. Essentially, he was charged with setting up a new department. We had analysts and scouts but not in the style of a modern elite club. His role was to bring that into the 21st century and deliver a robust pipeline of players.
Citing examples of Lewandowski, Kagawa, Aubameyang and Dembele as his wins is easy but past record is no guarantee of future success. Think Mochi at Roma.
The magician at Sevilla isn’t such good copy in Rome and not as successful although £50m for Cengiz Under is a headline-grabbing win if it happens. Plenty of questions were asked of him in the first year in the Eternal City and periodically, arise depending on the team’s fortunes.
Sven has yet to enjoy that success at Arsenal which is where I’m struggling with the ‘God-like’ status being afforded him. There isn’t a coherent strategy in evidence which isn’t just down to Mislintat. Requests that we hear one from Raul in light of this news are the ones we should be making now.
There are two ways of looking at this moment. Treat it like a feeling doom, let your bowels turn to water if you must. Or, get someone else in, plan for the summer and do the loan deals we’re trying to now.
Ozil Has To Leave The Building
We have more pressing issues to resolve with the squad. Funds are released in the summer when Welbeck, Ramsey and Petr Cech leave as well as many others. Most of all, we need to resolve Mesut Ozil’s future.
As Maurizio Sarri told the Chelsea board about Eden Hazard, get the situation sorted. And quickly. It won’t help us now but in six months time, it could be a massive win for the club and player.
While I appreciate the role Mislintat plays at the club, we aren’t falling apart at the seams. Ivan’s reputation, however, is taking one hell of a battering.