The 3 year plan
As ever, there has been a small bucketful of Arsenal news and rumours every day this summer.
By far the most interesting and insightful piece of Arsenal news has been washed over.
I think it’s the core of Mikel Arteta’s plan.
Five days ago a journalist asked Willian what persuaded him to sign. As all new players he said the expected but he also said this,
“When I talked with the manager he told me why he needed me for three years.
It was that he first wanted to qualify for the Champions League and win it by the time I left. That was what I wanted to hear.”
Interestingly, I haven’t heard anybody state that they think that this is ridiculous. Frankly, nobody is commenting on this at all.
Ordinarily, this is the sort of thing you’d expect David Moyes to say and therefore become an eternal meme.
If most any other coach who had just finished 8th would’ve been about to tell a prospective signing this, we would hope that someone would tell him not to. Beg him not to. Why? Because it sounds patently ridiculous and hugely unrealistic.
So, why did Willian go for it?
Not only that but he believes in it to the point where he told us what was said.
Why are we linked to Houssem Aouar? Thomas Partey? Thiago Alcantara? Phillipe Coutinho?
All established Champions League players who could go to far bigger clubs.
Why did Gabriel choose Arsenal when Utd reportedly offered twice the wages AND CL football?
Why is Aubameyang re-signing?
If we get two of Aouar, Ceballos, Partey and Alcantara we would have one of the best midfields in Europe.
We already have one of the best strikers in the World.
We’ve just bought a Centre Back partnership that has the potential to become the best in Europe for a generation.
Does anyone in Europe have 2 goalkeepers better than Leno and Martinez?
Would you be surprised if Tierney got to this level too?
What about Pepe? Is it reasonable to think that a decent first season could turn into a more consistent second season where like many overseas imports, he makes huge strides. Everyone sees the talent. Is it to much to expect for him to fulfill it?
Tell me a team in Europe that has not just a talented group of young players, but a group that are actually being trusted in a big European team?
I tell you what I see.
I see a fanbase that are being shy in their expectations. A fanbase that are still Wengerized by the thought that you can’t have success if you try to integrate more than 2-3 players at a time.
How about this….
You could sell/loan let’s say 8 first team squad players plus 5 more non-squad/loan/Academy players.
You buy/loan 9 players and almost complete the rebuild in one season.
You may not fulfill the groups potential that next season as there is natural adaptation but equally you don’t have to ask 2-4 first team players to adapt in 21/22 and 22/23 either.
You expect this coming season to be better knowing that the following season they should power out of the blocks as you’ve had to make minimal change and none of it to the first eleven.
Here is an example based on current talk…
Ait Nouri £15M
Net spend : We make 1M profit 😊
You may think this is hugely hopeful. I may agree.
I also have a strong sense that this kind of squad detonation is exactly what the club is attempting to pull off.
- Keep both keepers to keep competition high.
- Upgrade at right back first choice.
- Upgrade squad option at left back.
- Sign two CB’s that could be a staple for a generation, surrounded by experience to guide and support. That’s done already.
- Completely modernize and upgrade midfield.
- Add creativity both coming from midfield and in front.
- Retained our 20+ goals a season man supported by second season versions of Pepe, Nelson, Saka, Martinelli and Nketiah.
I haven’t even added Coutinho who I think is possible or the two that I would’ve gone for in Cavani (free) OR Griezzmann (loan).
So, back to the beginning….
Why is that Willian quote so interesting?
I think that Arsenal aren’t doing this rebuild in stages. I think they have gone for a three year plan…
20/21… compete and get Top 4.
21/22… challenge for PL and establish in CL
22/23…. expectation to be good enough to win one of the PL or CL
If you still think I’m nuts, ask yourself this….
Is it too much to ask for Arteta’s Arsenal to be able to be at the level that this years semi finalists, Lyon and Leipzig, got to this year in the Champions League, in three years?
Arsenal fans are so accustomed to being let down we protect ourselves from these dreams.
I’m not expecting the above to happen and threatening levels of upset if we don’t, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all.
Our 8th placed finish included beating Manchester Utd, Man City, Chelsea, Wolves and Liverpool.
That’s considered the harder part, right?
I think we can do this again and I certainly think we can greatly improve against teams lesser than these five.
The club is changing extremely rapidly off the field. Add it all up.
The detonation is happening.
The improvement might be more rapid than we first thought.
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.