So we’ve got about a week and a bit to go before the infernal January transfer window shuts and despite a few concerns and questions over whether we’d be active this month, it looks as though we’re playing the usual Arsenal hardball and leaving everything to the last minute, even when it comes to loan deals, which means we won’t see anything until after United and then Cardiff I reckon.
To be fair it’s probably not two games you’d expect a new signing to come in and make that much of an impact on. United at home in the cup would probably be something that Unai would want to hold a new player back on and stick with players he has for whatever system he chooses. Then Cardiff at home is a game you’d expect Arsenal to be able to win. So I guess the pressure of a new signing right now is off a little.
I don’t know whether or not it’s an age thing, or after Unai said that we could only compete for loan deals, but I’ve been a bit ‘meh’ about transfers. I was a little more excited in the summer but even that was nothing compared to the unwavering desire to see new blood come in say, about five years ago, for example.
Perhaps I’ve just been wearied by Arsenal’s policy of being ‘just a couple short’ to compete at the top table, where as now it feels like half a team.
And the guy that was supposed to be coming in and replicating the Dortmund success – our man Sven Mislintat – is no longer our man from February 8th. The Ivan Gazidis succession plan for the club was as hollow as his own words were for ten years as CEO, it appears.
I don’t think it is Sven so much that people – me included – are so concerned with. Yes he’s unearthed what looks like some good players and yes, it’s going to be tough for a new person to come in and have a comparison with an apparent ‘super scout’, but for me I think it’s more what Sven represented and how that now seems to have disappeared in a puff of smoke since Gazidis left last October.
My biggest worry is what his departure means. If he wanted the Technical Director role I.e. someone who had a bigger influence in style of play, in how we executed our football philosophies, not really wanting to be the ‘head scout’ any more, then I guess that is a question we could debate. He has only ever been a scout and stepping up into that role could have been the making of him or it could have been a disaster.
But equally, if his departure was because he was making suggestions on signings based on his our statistical models and the StatDNA access we have, yet that was being rebuffed because Emery wanted a different type of player, or Sanllehi wanted to use his ‘network’, then it spells worrying time for the club in my opinion.
The problem with the end of the Wenger/Gazidis era was that they were the central power brokers at Arsenal. Everything revolves around them. It was a dated model and it left too much control in the hands of one man (Wenger) with a sidekick (Gazidis) to act as the business face of the club. Now it looks like Sanllehi has assumed the role as the ‘face’ of the club and that’s my only worry with regards to the way we move forward. Are we now going to operate where Sanllehi has the levels of power that Wenger had – albeit to a lesser extent because he shouldn’t be picking the team – and if that is the case is it the right thing for the football club?
I thought the whole aim of the change in structure was to spread power a little more evenly. But from the outside looking in it does seem like Sanllehi is channeling power back towards himself.
Again, this is all speculation and again, because of the indifferent last month and a half on the pitch it does lead to a little more nervous introspection than would normally occur. Results on the pitch always dictate a football fans view and a win on Friday helps to temper the fear that we might be regressing back to the old school ways of working. But I do think we’re right to ask questions about why a structure appears to have unraveled – even if only a little bit – so soon after it was assembled.
If you read my regular ramblings you know where I really feel like the problem lies. It lies at Stan Kroenke’s feet and I worry that he is squeezing Arsenal so he can funnel a bit of cash towards his real love which is the LA Rams. I saw a tweet yesterday saying Kroenke has funnelled $1.6billion of his own cash towards the Rams in two years. He’s done $0 in 10 years at Arsenal and isn’t minded to change now but if anything it wouldn’t surprise us at all if he takes some out of the club.
The other culprit is Gazidis who, in ten years in charge at Arsenal gave us sound bites and PR spin and little else. We are well shot of him but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t left any kind of legacy that the new regime have to clean up a bit. We’re already seeing that with the Özil situation and the repercussions of which meant Sven walking because a) he didn’t get the promotion he wanted, and/or b) he couldn’t do his job of finding people for us to buy anyway.
It’s all a bit of a shambles really. A shambles that we just have to hope the club can sort out relatively soon. There’s some rumours of interest in Monchi – the man who worked so well with Emery at Sevilla – and that would be welcome. He has a positive track record and we should be happy that there’s a link, but until the club starts communicating with us what its intentions are, we’re all fumbling around in the speculative dark a bit, which isn’t the most fun in the world.
Catch you all tomorrow.