The Arsenal league season ends with questions of who will be in charge next season
On Sunday the Premier League season ended for Arsenal, with many a cloud hanging over it, many questions are now being asked at the club and by fans and journalists alike. With the contract running out after the FA cup final of Arsene Wenger,also with the playing contracts of star players Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Alex Chamberlain, with only a year left on them, there is lot of uncertainty at the club. There are also the new questions of ownership at the club with Uzbekistan shareholder Alisher Usmanov launching a new bid to take over Arsenal with reported bids of 1 and 2 billion pounds. Arsenal major shareholder Stan Kroenke has rejected the first bid but today there are fresh reports certain factions on the Arsenal board and in his empire are strongly considering the second bid and trying to persuade Kroenke to accept it. All these events have seemed to overshadow the fact Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions league for the first time in 20 years on Sunday.
Who will be the manager next season?
This seems to be the million-dollar question, which has been asked in some shape or form at every Arsenal press conference for the past 6 months. Arsene Wenger is still the bookies favourite; in fact, many fans are resigned to thinking it is more about when than if it is announced that he has re-signed for the club. Even after a distinct failure to compete for the league title in a number of years, as well as serial humiliations to Bayern Munich among other teams this year. The fact that Wenger’s contract has been allowed to run out is astounding unless the board do not intend to renew it.
For me there are cheaper more logical options than going with the status quo of Wenger, for instance Thomas Tuchel looks to be leaving Borussia Dortmund this summer. He seems to have fallen out with the Dortmund board over claims his players were not asked if they were in the right state of mind to play against Monaco the next day after their team coach was bombed. Both sides claim the other is lying which has led to people being linked with Tuchel’s job and he, looking very likely to leave. For me he would be perfect for Arsenal, many consider him Jürgen Klopp MK 2, he has passion, he is a tactical genius and has worked wonders with a young team.
It is remarkable to me that people still think Max Allegri would join Arsenal, when he is at a team so dominant, in his image and when he’s the name on every big clubs lips. Mega clubs like Barcelona are all sniffing around the talented Italian, who could now write his own cheque, so to speak. Therefore, Arsenal stand no chance of luring Allegri I will sadly admit. Other options for Arsenal are the youthful Julian Nagelsmann of Hoffenheim, Everton manager Ronald Koeman who has his eyes on Barcelona and Leonardo Jardim whose Monaco team impressed in in the Champions League.
Could Alexis Sanchez be Arsenal’s Messi and be calling the shots?
Now let’s speak about the contract situation of the star players running out, firstly once again the fact that it has been allowed to come to this late stage for Arsenal’s top players Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez to only be a year from contract end is near incompetence.
Secondly I do not think Arsenal have had as good an all-round player since Thierry Henry than Alexis Sanchez. Yes Mesut Oil is the best playmaker of his generation but Sanchez is essential to Arsenal, be that scoring or creating goals. His goal versus Stoke also meant he finishes the season having scored 15 away league goals. Only Kevin Philips – who hit 16 with Sunderland in 1999/2000 – has more in a single Premier League campaign.
Alexis Sanchez is now a superstar at Arsenal, you only need to see this graph to see the amount of goals and output he has improved since joining from Barcelona. The figures are astounding he is averaging nearly a goal a game, which is getting up there with your Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo type figures but obviously not quite, because well, they are aliens.
With the Leo Messi comparison comes another possible situation that the title of this article alluded to, Alexis Sanchez is set for contract negotiations this summer and he holds all the cards. Sanchez has shown a distinct frustration at the lack of quality in the squad and ambition in the whole of the football club. It’s well publicised the amount of power Lionel Messi has at Barcelona, at the start of the year director Pere Gratacos was fired for saying ‘Messi is not as good without his team-mates’. A clear sign of the importance Lionel Messi now has at Barcelona. There are many other reports of people almost scared to praise Cristiano Ronaldo in fear his rival may subject them to similar fate of being booted out of the club.
Could Alexis Sanchez use his undoubted talents and the current situation at Arsenal as a power grab? Could he be the new person calling the shots, second only to the manager? Arsenal football club could well be in a state where the best player dictates who comes and goes or he himself will leave!
Who will own Arsenal and does it matter?
Now this is all new info coming out, but the facts as they stand right now are that Alisher Usmanov first bid was a month ago yet conveniently it came out just before the last game of the season. We know the fans don’t like Kroenke for his perceived lack of involvement in the club. Honestly when was the last time you saw Stan Kroenke at an Arsenal match? When was the last time you saw him being interviewed about his goals for the team etc?
In contrast Usmanov has been very vocal despite only holding 30% shares in Arsenal, he says he is a big fan of the club and demands more from the team,allegedly he wanted to give £100 million to Wenger to spend on players but Kroenke refused it. Yes it is clear who would be the more active out of the two in this fight against the mega rich Oil baron’s and Arabs owned clubs out there, but is there another question to be ask?
The question is how will Alisher Usmanov act with regards the traditions and things implemented at Arsenal, remember the mantra, “ we don’t buy superstars, we make them”, will that all be gone if Usmanov takes over? Will the identity of Arsenal be lost, buried by the millions spent on players and wages, decimated by a success hungry owner that has no respect for “the Arsenal way”. Could Arsenal be just another team owned by the mega rich,a club used as a play thing, like a Chelsea or Man City? It is funny ironically because Stan Kroenke barely does anything at the club, he leaves it’s traditions alone mostly.
There is also the question of morals at work, sure Stan Kroenke isn’t the best of owners but he’s hardly in cahoots with Vladimir Putin and I doubt he got his Billions quite the same way Alisher Usmanov is accused to have. Nor does Kroenke have links to the KGB or has he served time in prison. Although some Arsenal fans might claim Stan Kroenke should go to prison for impersonating a football owner, it’s clear there are a lot of questions left to be answered in the coming weeks and months.
I got into football as a kid watching Italian football in the afternoons and ever since I’ve been hooked on tactics and the continental side of the game. I’ve written about Italian football in the past among other things but now it’s time to write about, the embodiment of how I see the beautiful game, Arsenal. Hopefully writing things and opinions about the game you haven’t seen before, I like a bit of a joke too.