It is depressing writing and talking about the current state of things at Arsenal, a manifestation of years of neglect and lack of leadership, if you like, direction on and off the pitch. It has not a palatable admittance that Arsenal’s recent performances has been part of different factors that throws a spanner into the works as far as my weekends leisure times go. I wouldn’t tell you the other one.
Until some few days ago, I was one of the proponents within the Gooner family who believed that Arteta should be excused from his role as Arsenal manager, but a careful and sustained perspective of everything left me with a lingering question all the time – “sack the manager, and then what?”
I agree that there is very little evidence of managers at top clubs in similar situations where the coach is given a longer time and ends up turning things around. It is true that most managers or coaches at top clubs like Arsenal would have been shown the door by now. In fact we just had the news that Thomas Tuchel has been sacked by PSG, someone who could we argue to be doing a better job than Arteta relatively. But then again, we cannot exactly say that Arteta has been afforded the needed recruitment on the playing front, to help him succeed.
Except for two or three additions, these crop of players who Arteta is working with and who are involved in the poor showing in the league this season, have been the constant in the club’s struggles for the past few seasons. Something that has resulted in three (3) managerial casualties. The recruitment of these players and the subsequent handling of their contracts has been so bad that almost every one of the people who were in charge have been sacked including Raul Sanelhi, Dick Law, Hus Fahny etc. and dare I say it, Edu should also be hooked for that same reason. Sacking Arteta with everything still the same as they are right now will only amount to the problem. You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.
I have been consistent in echoing the belief that the Kroenkes have been the central issue as far as the club’s problems are concerned, but let’s face it, they are not leaving or planning to do so anytime soon. So how then do we tackle the issues at hand both on and off-field and turn the fortunes of the club around, with the Kroenkes still in charge?
I believe strongly that to get things back on track, a conscious and gentle revolution is needed both on and off the pitch. Going forward, I do not think Edu Gaspar should continue as Director of Football. He might be a club legend with a charming personality, but it takes more than that to deliver successfully in his job. It is obvious that he hasn’t got the required experience, vision and the strategic and technical nuance needed to get Arsenal out of this dire situation. In fact, going by the work he has done so far, it would suggest that things are only going to get worse if he continues. From the signing of Willian on a 3-year deal, to giving Cedric Soares, a back-up right back who is on the decline, a 4year contract, to sacking every one of our scouts, not to mention the inability to shift out unwanted players in the squad. His failure has shown big time, with the unbalanced squad, a complete squad mismanagement that has culminated into lots of holes in the team and a gross inefficiency of the team.
There is so much evidence that the kind of rebuild required to get us out of this mess, cannot be masterminded by Edu. We need an experienced and a successful Football Director like Ocampos, Monchi, Rangnick etc., who understand and know their way round the modern game and have built successful squads before. The ideal person would be Rangnick but we all know Arsenal doesn’t do ideal. We also need a working management structure consisting of a Chief Executive ( not Vinai) who knows the game, a good contract negotiator together with the Football Director and serious backing by the board and owners for the manager, be that Arteta or whoever it is.
Look, I agree that Arteta is blamable and at fault for some the problems on the pitch but majority of the issues resides with the Director of Football, the leadership and owners alike. This is the time we need leadership and ownership of responsibility. The squad needs trimming and the bad blood in the team needs draining. Majority of the players (about 70%) needs to be cut off, even if it means paying off some of them. It is clear that those underperforming players are having toxic and knock-on effect on the rest of the squad.
The situation is so dire to the extent that I believe strongly that any manager, under the same atmosphere, whether Arteta or a different person, will fail miserably. We cannot continue to plaster paper over the cracks and hope not be found out, because the cracks will eventually show and it won’t look pretty.
Arsenal enthusiast and writer from Ghana. Love all things Arsenal and football. Sharing is caring. This is an opportunity to share my opinion about the game with the rest of the world. Please would you spare some time and read what I have written and also feel free to comment what you think about it. Thanks!