If you were in charge at Arsenal Football Club! (PART 1)
So, we are all frustrated with Arsenal. Different levels, but frustrated. Even folks that think Wenger is doing fantastic work right now can’t love 6th place.
I’m sure it’s not just me that thinks about what they would do if they could make the decisions……
I’ve swayed between a shortlist of five and after we lost to West Brom in the Spring I’d have taken my Auntie Marion I was so upset!
Then when I found out that after his stint at Bayern, that Pep Guardiola wanted to be our manager and he had an agreement with Thierry Henry to be his assistant. At that point I think my 7 yr old learnt a new word!
Here is my shortlist..
Jardim at Monaco, Sarri at Napoli, Allegri at Juventus, Arteta at City and Zidane at Real.
Eighteen months ago I thought that the AFC job was one of the most enticing in world football. Most popular league, capital city, large and loyal fan base, loyal board, cash rich, good team, play good football (just not right now) and the big one…. you could be the coach that restored Arsenal to Premier League Winners and the 1st coach to ever win the Champions League! This would arguably make you the most beloved coach in the club’s history!
Enticing, no doubt.
Since then we have lost some of our pull for sure, but the allure is still there.
Jardim has done so much with so little. To be fair, he lost so much again this summer and is still competitive in Ligue 1.
Sarri is clearly the coach in world football with the most aesthetically pleasing side beside City.
Only concerns are does he speak English and the chain smoking thing?
Allegri, they say, is even more tactically astute than Conte and boy do AFC need this!
Always competes. In both of the big ones too.
Arteta is the interesting one. We can only go on opinion as he’s not had the chance to be a head coach yet. Of all that I could say here I feel that the fact that Pep chose him to be his number 2 and lets him run practice is all I need to know…
Zidane sounds more fantasy than this post, right?
Well, after Real play PSG either Emery or Zidane is getting sacked. Zidane may lose his job either way, based on league performance.
I’m a big fan of having one of the most revered footballers ever be our manager as I think it quite simply gives you a 50% better chance of getting the best players when you pick up the phone and Zinedine Zidane says ‘bonjour!’
Much like the ‘Wenger Effect’ pre-2008.
I think Zidane will be the new France coach after World Cup.
For me, I would choose Mikel Arteta.
It’s a risk, I know.
Ultimately I would choose Arteta because of the heartbreak factor.
Arsenal fans are a different breed. We’ve had one coach for longer than Auntie Marion has not understood inflation and been religiously giving me £5 for my birthday every year (and I’m 43!)
True story right there. I digress…
I do fear that in 2-4 years our new shiny coach will want to leave to go to a bigger club. They all do. We are just not used to what the rest of the world’s sports fans have to deal with.
I think Arteta would be more likely to be loyal.
Beyond the future, his work with Pep would be seen instantly I feel. Would energize the fan base.
Bottom line…. Arsenal need tactics. Organization. A plan. A second plan. Modern tactical understanding.
The back end of this article checked so many of the boxes too …
Secondly, (as you will know from said article) his first thought was about accountability.
Do Arsenal need a tactical mind and accountability?
Top two on the list for me.
The Current Problem
Well, in reality Arsenal are in a bigger mess than I first thought. Over half of the first team regulars could leave for one reason or another.
In fact, nearly all of them.
I know this sounds way too dramatic. Look at this list. Courtesy of @coys100
It’s hard to say that any of this is too big of a stretch…
Ozil- possibly leaving too
Bellerin- wanted to leave summer ’17
Kolasinac- dropped for a right footed CM
Mustafi- homesick wife
Ospina- surely leaving this summer
Lacazette- how long before he’s sick of being a pre-planned sub?
Xhaka- about to be upgraded
Elneny and Coq- not trusted
Iwobi- needs a loan
Cazorla- likely retire
Cech- 36- ?
Koscielny- 33 – how many more injections ?
Monreal- 32 1 yr left
Ramsey- 1 yr /hasn’t committed
Walcott- 1 yr and probably leaving
Giroud- 32 1 yr/wants more football
Welbeck- 1 yr /probably wants more football
Nelson- hasn’t committed. Scary.
I thought Wenger’s idea was to leave the next manager with ‘the team in great shape?’
I’d say that Ramsey will get you 50 million tops and Bellerin 40. In this climate where Spurs will probably get north of 150 million for Kane this summer, you see our problem?
Methinks that this is why Sven Mislintat has been brought in. Find the best potential for cheap.
So…. what do you do?
Firstly, you pick yourself up off the floor, get a wet rag and you do the above. Get a new manager. That will take care of some of this.
Sales and Signings
Sell Bellerin (£40m)… sign Meunier (£25m)
I get the feeling that Bellerin is gonna have a ‘Theo career.’ Doesn’t seem to improve as he is limited. Gets in great positions, passes the buck. I fully acknowledge that a better coach could help him. This was a tight call.
Meunier is a top player who is only sitting the bench because he is arguably playing behind the best right back in the world, still.
Far more tools in his box than Hector.
Sell Ramsey (£45m)… sign Fabinho (£45m)
Ramsey, the opinion splitter.
If Wenger would have bought Kante and if Ramsey guaranteed 15-20 goals per season then maybe I’d be ok with him standing at CF waving his arms.
With Xhaka as an immobile partner, nah. Absolute big fat tactical no-no.
Fabinho is a complete midfielder who would add much needed power too.
Sell Xhaka (£30m)…. sign Jorginho (£50m)
If we played a 4-3-3, I could see Xhaka possibly playing on left of midfield three but bottom line, there’s better.
Jorginho.. I toyed with Leandro Parades, Frenkie DeJong and Oriel Busquets but I believe that Jorginho is superior (for now, watch the latter two closely).
One of the best DLP’s in world football.
Sell ElNeny (£10m)..Loan move for Ceballos
Again if we played 4-3-3 I might keep ElNeny as a back up. I like a player who plays simplistically and is so willing but the almost bizarre lack of heading ability is frankly embarrassing for a professional footballer. And to think Wenger wants him as a Centre Back. I weep.
Dani Ceballos could one day be the best midfielder in the world.
Exudes confidence, skates around the field effortlessly. A natural born midfielder. Not sure why he thought that going to RM and trying to get minutes in front of Kroos and Modric was a good idea but heh-ho. Probably that ‘Zidane phone call!’
Don’t think RM would sell but until Modric drops off then maybe they would loan him to improve under fellow CM, Mr. Arteta?
Sell Sanchez (£25m)… sign Fekir (£75m)
Why didn’t we build around Alexis?
Why didn’t we build around RVP?
Why didn’t we build around Cesc?
Why didn’t we build around Henry?
Too late, he’s leaving.
Nabil Fekir is another gem of a footballer. Similar balance and skill to Alexis and now much better end product. I hear he dates dogs like Alexis! Not really.
Sell Welbeck (£25m)… sign Zaha (£45m)
Not sure about Welbeck. He might be one that flies under a new coach. If you were to ‘create a CF’ on a video game they would look like DW. 6″2, powerful, good all around player. Can a new coach make him great though? Or just a better final product?
I settled on selling him as I simply think that we need natural wingers.
I think Zaha is ready. If he fulfills his potential he has everything we need.
Natural winger. Natural dribbler. Will get fans wanting to show up again. Starting to improve his final product. If you can do this for Palace with 60% less opportunities on the ball, I’d say he can do it for us.
Oh, and he’s a Gooner. That helps.
Sell Walcott (£25m)… sign Mahrez (£50m)
Theo Walcott embodies the latter part of the Wenger era:
• A player that hasn’t improved.
• A player given too much time.
• Big goals in big games (and a lack from our midfield) kept him here.
If Theo was born in the 70’s and played in the 80’s and 90’s in a 4-4-2 with a big man then I think his career is different. Not a good player against a low block.
I remember when Mahrez tore up the Emirates as a sub on his first visit to N5. Ever since then I’ve wished for him to sign.
In a word, highly dangerous. That’s two words.
Replace Per with Koulibaly (£80m)
Is Kalidou Koulibaly the best defender in the world? A monster defender with composure too!
Wow, what a player!
This wish is truly fantasy as I’m sure that he will go bigger.
Bold guess… Umtiti to City, KK to Barcelona.
Actually, no….. I’m still dreaming I’m in charge. He signs for Arteta on July 1st 2018. I will happily donate my 5 quid x 43 years of life to fund this purchase!
Thank you, Auntie Marion.
That is a net spend of £80 + my fantasy purchase of Koulibaly!
We could certainly do the first £80 and I think we not only get a better team but we get a) fresh, exciting players and b) players with resale value.
In Part 2 of this blog, I’ll keep dreaming and discuss a new formation, tactics, fan involvement and much more….
In the meantime…. what would you do if you were in charge of Arsenal Football Club?
Former Highbury regular. Moved to TN, USA in ’99. Married with 3 kids. Coached in UK and US for 27 years.
Mike McDonald Soccer Academy in Morristown TN, Olympic Development coach, Regional Premier League Champion.