Three Cheers for Our Side: Edu Arrives in Our Adidas World

“His arrival is the final and very important part of the jigsaw in our development of a new football infrastructure to take us forward.”

Raul’s lofty claim can be viewed as setting Eduardo César Daude Gaspar up for an almighty fall such is the cynicism around Arsenal at the moment. I know with every fibre of my being that such thinking is wrong but I can’t help myself.

I dare say I will feel sorry for the poor old soul when Raul decides to rip it up and start again with someone new in the technical director role. In the meantime, I wish Edu – for ’tis he – all the very best in his task for his success will reflect in the Arsenal trophy cabinet. Or at least, some good football along the way to a consolation prize.

With funds in relatively short supply until we restructure the wage bill, youth must be given time to develop. In the Premier League era, that requires patience, a virtue which is in short supply among supporters. At times, this cussedness makes me bury my head in my hands.

Edu finds himself arriving at a club he must believe is barely recognisable to the one he left more than a decade ago. I take issue with his assessment that “we have a strong squad”. However, reading too much into the Brazilian’s platitudes makes little sense is senseless; I guess I’m just a little too sensitive as one of our leaner periods continues, seemingly unabated.

A Million Pleading Faces

His first job is to meet with the staff and define boundaries. Raul defined the technical director as “working closely with Unai Emery and the first-team coaches, and will play a relevant role leading our football vision and ensuring we have – and follow – a solid philosophy through all our football activities.”

A solid squad player, Gaspar needs to bring a burning desire to succeed to the job. Amy Lawrence in this morning’s Guardian believes he “doesn’t suffer fools gladly”, the kind of driven attitude that has been absent from Arsenal for some time, on the surface at least. Expect a few cries of “move yourself” when he wants things done if that really is the case.

As with the appointment of Freddie Ljungberg, reputations forged on this nation’s green fields buy ‘suits’ some time. A honeymoon period, if you like. Arriving with little more than a month of the transfer window remaining is a tough gig. In spite of it all, Edu’s record suggests he has the skills to succeed. Corinthians owed a lot of their success in recent years to his work when they were first promoted back to Brazil’s top flight.

Of course, his part in Brazil’s 2014 humiliation is glossed over – he was Carlos Queiroz’s assistant; I bring it up now because I’m nothing more than an old eccentric. Plus the fact we need something to temper some of the unbridled optimism that his appointment brings. While we’re not quite out for the count this summer, the lack of time makes me wonder if we won’t be singing a sad lament for the inadequate strengthening which took place.

Here’s Mud In Your Eye

I am determined, however, not to be a scaremonger just yet. The artisans may yet weave their magic; at the moment, Edu’s philosophy must almost be ‘upwards and onwards’. Be quite phlegmatic about the situation but determined.

The craziest feeling surrounding the whole situation is the hero-worship of ‘suits’ once again. You’d think we’d learn our lessons from Sven’s tank tops and Raul’s patter. The latter left the former punch drunk yet still I read about what a revelation his scouting was. Not being funny but it was hardly adventurous; raiding your former employers for proven players or returning to the same league is not finding a gem.

And certainly, it’s not enough for the German to win a place in my heart. Maybe Sven was right to get while the getting’s good!

At this point, it’s a an appropriate time to turn away if you’re expecting some exciting transfer news. Fenerbahce are keen on Mesut Ozil but only if Arsenal pay a sizeable percentage of his wages. A move which, no doubt, would have Team Mesut falling and laughing, trolling the club something chronic. Little wonder the Turkish club are yet to make contact with us over a potential transfer.

It begs the question of whether continuing to pay Ozil’s wages is such a bad thing. A variation on that theme is Chelsea notionally they paid Conte’s wages following his departure although a recent court action means Abramovich must now stump up the readies, taking their total to £90m while David Moyes despite being sacked several years ago has only just left Manchester United’s payroll.

Are managerial payoffs any different to the same for players? Is a percentage of the £30m+ he’s due to receive over the remainder of his contract a bad deal for the club’s future?

Simply Thrilled, Honey

If you leave today’s post thinking Edu’s appointment doesn’t necessarily enthuse me, you’re half-right. He has a tough job and not much time to deliver the core part of it. When David Dein was in situ, to put it in a nutshell, all that ever mattered was squad strength. That was before his misguided desire to find a billionaire to invest in the club; he found two who wouldn’t, something he’ll regret to his dying day, I’m sure.

Can Edu find the results in the transfer market to bring about a change in fortunes? I hope so, but I’m not counting my chickens just yet.

’til Tomorrow.

20 thoughts on “Three Cheers for Our Side: Edu Arrives in Our Adidas World

  1. C says:

    Good stuff and Edu has done quite well in that role not only for Corinthians but also for Brazil. Surely he was talking and working with Raul prior to yesterday’s annoucement given Edu’s name was thrown out last month. The best part about all of this is that Edu is a futbol man through and through, no suit who is playing a futbol man.

  2. Bill says:

    Great post yogi

    I was certainly excited about our prospects when we brought in Sven and Raul and although that did not work as well as we had hoped any change brings a honeymoon period of optimism. We were in a terrible state of stagnation and in some case frank regression both financially and footballistically during the last 5-6 years of Wenger/Gazidis. Unfortunately we do not have an owner who is willing to spend the huge amounts of money to buy a get out of jail free card so its going to take some time and probably to rebuild the culture from the top down. There are bound to be a few missteps along the way but hopefully Edu will turn out to be a step in the right direction. Good luck to him.

  3. Bill says:

    C

    From yesterday. Emery’s first season in charge was clearly a disappointment in a lot of ways. I am willing to give him a pass for our lack of defined style and our relatively underwhelming brand of attacking football. When he looked at the squad on paper, he thought he had a few players who improve and be invigorated with a change of manager. I suspect he truly counted on players like Ozil and Mkhitaryan to be revitalized but they got worse instead of better and he was forced to improvise and change things on the fly. I

    However, no matter how you slice it the failure to decrease the total number of goals conceded is unacceptable.. I doubt that any of us would have predicted that we could concede 51 goals in our league games especially after adding 4-5 new defensive players.

    I agree that Emery deserves another season but if the defense does not get significantly better next season then its probably time to change managers.

  4. C says:

    I really do hope that Bielik is a part of the plans. Rate him more than Chambers while also being younger.

  5. C says:

    Bill,

    So Emery basically takes the same squad that Arsene had the previous year and went from 63 points(12 off of 4th) and a loss in the EL semis to 70 points(1 off 4th) and a spot in the EL Final and that’s a disappointment? Not only that but he did that learning a new league and trying to change the WHOLE culture of a club with no significant funds to back him on transfers.

    You keep saying 4-5 new defensive players but come on, stop counting Lichtsteiner. Torriera Sokaritis and Leno played and they all grew as the season went on. Look at some of the comments by you and others when the season started, the potential was there because Mustafi (and I like him) and Kos ALWAYS have a mistake in them and Sokaritis showed his over aggressiveness can both hurt and help. We also had Holding and Bellerin growing and were huge parts of our early success and their i juries played a part.

    Think about this, if Emery was such a disappointment, we finished 5th and only through bone-headed PLAYER lapses defensively at the end of the season, we were in position to finish 3rd. Emery can only do so much to put players in position but it is UNIVERSALLY accepted that our CB’s aren’t good enough so thats not on Emery, thats on the players.

  6. Bill says:

    C

    3 new defensive players including a whole new “spine” is a significant number of new purely defensive players.

    For the last few years you have been telling us the players are quite good and the only problem was Arsene and the players just needed to be “coached up” and a new manager would make all of the players improve. However disappointingly last season we looked every bit as defensively disorganized and inept and poorly coached as any of our seasons under Arsene.

    So which is it? Are the players good enough and just need better coaching in which case Emery did a very poor job or are theses players just so bad that no amount of coaching can help them and there was nothing Emery could do?

  7. C says:

    Bill,

    Mate, are you missing part of my sentences? Leno showed better and better and should be better in year 2, Sokaritis was helpful but Kos and Mustafi ALWAYS have a mistake in them and Torriera shown well AND Emery put them into position to be successful but mental lapses caused our demise at the end of the season. Emery can coach up a player but for instance, we all know Kos and/or Mustafi have a miatake in them and we witnessed it. Holding, Bellerin, hell even Xhaka looked improved but we lost 2 of the 3 to injuries.

    Are the players good enough, maybe but at the same time Kos is old and has lost the pace and quicknes that allowed him to cover his mistakes, Mustafi has to continue to be coached up(remember Arsene didn’t do defense so Emery is also coaching that out of him) and Sokaritis showed absolute signs of inprovement because most at Dortmund thought he was finished.

    Can it be both, ABSOLUTELY a player can need to be coached up but to meet their talent and we will find out what happened.

    We do have talented players because if we didn’t then Ramsey wouldn’t be off to Juve, Aubameyang wouldn’t be banging in goals and missing others for fun, Lacazette wouldn’t be being chased by every big club, Kos wouldn’t have been an intergral part of the France national team and so on and so on. Our problem lied in not being coached up for basically a 10 year period(obviously at different times) and then Emery trying to change all of that in 1 season with basically the same players.

    Ask Manure how its going trying to replace a manager who had been there for 20 years and he was successful! Emery is doing that same exact thing except our club was in a massive decline and in his 1st season he got us 1 point off of 4th and a EL final and that was with a bunch of mistake prone defenders.

    Do we need an upgrade at CB, YES YES YES I have literally stated that over and over again so I’m not understanding what your missing🤬

  8. Bill says:

    I expected the teams defense to improve last season just because we had a manager who actually would spent more time on the training pitch working on defense. The thing that was disappointing was the same lack of organization and defensive intelligence that we saw with Wenger did not change even with a new GK CB and DM. I didn’t see any evidence to suggest the players had been drilled or spent any more time on the training pitch working on defense then they had under arsene.

  9. Sheffy says:

    I’m with C on this. The changes Emery made did appear to be improving our defensive frailties. The expected outcome of the improvement defensively post wenger in one season should be marginal – whether it’s new tactics, coaching or personnel.
    I would believe any manager coming in last season would have been given the directive of making minor squad changes before bigger upheaval. E.g seeing how a new managers tactics and coaching might develop and change current players. The approach was never going to be a huge budget on new personnel no matter who the manager was.
    I enjoyed our defence much more than I have in years when it consisted of Bellerin, Sok, Holding, Nacho/Kol. We had a good balance developing an understanding -I think this has been understated.
    I obviously would have wished to see the players and squad responding to a new manager with a vast improvement in defending but I’m aware that was also a difficult to reach target.
    I remain optimistic that with a strong addition r 2 defensively we have a much stronger base to make the required improvements this season.

  10. Blue Yonder says:

    I’m less sanguine than a year ago but hope springs eternal. I don’t know what impact Edu and Freddie may have but, if it’s another step further from the past, it offers promise.
    The same squad issues exist and must be tackled but, with the honeymoon period over, I
    believe Emery’s job will at least be more clear-cut since he now knows all the capabilities (and lack of.) Knowing and fixing are two different things but I am cautiously optimistic.

  11. C says:

    Bill,

    Here’s a question, how many goals or goals you remember were down to mental lapses as opposed to being well drilled?

  12. Bill says:

    C:

    A well drilled team should minimize the number of mental lapses. If Emery actually drilled these players on the training ground and they still made mistake after mistake then the only reasonable explanation is they are untrainable. Mental lapses were exactly the thing we complained about with Wenger teams. That’s the whole concern I had with Emery’s first season is the fact that nothing really changed in terms of our teams defense and whatever he tried to do was not effective

  13. C says:

    Bill,

    How was everything he tried to do nit effective yet we finished with 7 more points, 1 off 4th and got to a EL Final? To me that sounds like something was working unless I’m crazy. On top of that, some players, no matter how well drilled can’t escape a mistake, not every match but has it in them. Again, goals conceded I get, 50 is alot, but to say no progress makes no sense when ALL LAST SUMMER and ALL SEASON long we heard how much better Chelsea and Spuds were than us yet it took Mustafi have a couple of mistakes in matches at the end of the season or else we get 3rd. Again, people including loads of Gooners gave us no chance in hell of even challenging for top 4 with most saying we would be lucky to get 6th yet….

    Again, not saying we don’t need a CB but to say you saw no improvement is utter madness.

  14. C says:

    Congratulations to Iwobi for another quality performance and Nigeria for making the semi’s.

  15. andy1886 says:

    I see that Kos has refused to go on our US tour (official club statement). Get rid I say, he was never world class and has deteriorated significantly in recent seasons anyway. Shoddy for a player who owes the club a lot.

  16. C says:

    andy1886,

    Completely agree and add to that he was club Captain. As his quickness and pace went as did his ability to defend. Sell him back to France for whatever we can get for an old CB who has a really bad back and Achilles.

  17. andy1886 says:

    C,

    Apparently he want to go on a free, all of his offers are dependent on that as the potential new clubs don’t want to pay a fee. So he wants AFC to forgo their fee so that he can have a longer contract and higher salary than he would otherwise get. Terrible greedy behaviour for someone who has been generously rewarded over many years and looked after through several serious injuries.

  18. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Really disappointed with Kos.

    Surely that’s finished off any chance of a testimonial.

    Then again , players hold all the cards these days & nothing surprises me any more.

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