I wonder if Ivan, Raoul and Sven have been playing Football Manager over the summer, because that’s the only fathomable explanation why they’ve decided to issue a ‘not-quite-official’ declaration that Unai Emery’s job is safe.
There were a few reputable places online reporting it yesterday and when I read it whilst on my way to work, the days of the ol’ ChampMan “The Board have announced that <usually your own name or a variation of>’s job as manager is safe” announcement came ringing back into mine ears.
It’s normally the prelude to a sacking a few weeks later, but in Arsenal’s case it feels like Unai will get time.
Quite why the club felt they needed to do that though is a bit of a mystery. I know they’ve become PR crazy since the departure of Arsène and in the main it’s been welcome. But perhaps this was one briefing that didn’t need to happen.
Mainly because from what I’ve seen the fan response has been very understanding. We are all frustrated – especially after such a good home record last season – but most normal people have thought that we’re a work in progress, Sunday was always going to end that way, so we move on.
And we can move on quickly because it’s already Wednesday and we’re just a few more days away from there being another game. It’s a great feeling to know you can quickly look ahead. No more pouring over any words said, we can just focus on real, actual, football. Lovely stuff. Delicious stuff. More and more please. Especially when we get to two games a week. Yum. Anyway, let’s just hope Unai is prepping his team, tweaking for Chelski, looking at how he can get only our second win there in something like ten years. I like the idea that we’re actually looking at a way to counter an opponent. It’s refreshing to imagine that he’s analysing Chelski’s first game, that he’s looking how they press us, that he’s wondering just how we avoid their high press putting us under pressure, whilst in response breaking that and hitting them on the counter. And who are the best men for the job? Who will do the business for Unai?
Will he be doing it without Mohammed Elneny though? That’s the latest rumour circulating after he’s been linked with Marseille and whilst there are plenty of Arsenal fans who would be happy to see the back of him, I’m not so vociferous in my opposition, because I think there’s a bit of a narrative that has struck up around Elneny.
We know what type of player he is. He covers ground, he doesn’t have a great passing range, he’s not the most amazing tackler in the world, but he does offer a squad player with energy that will get games in the League Cup and early stages of the Europa League. Perhaps there’s an argument to be had about his place in the team taking up space for a future prospect, but I take the view that if players are good enough then they will supersede players like Elneny.
Players like Maitland-Niles, Willock, perhaps even Guendouzi because he is unlikely to play every game and I suspect Torreira might start to get the nod ahead. All of these players might see Elneny as an obstacle but for me as long as Emery treats players on merit and not their age profile and seniority in the team like Arsène did, then they’ll be ok, whether Elneny is at the club or not.
What he brings us is depth but if we’re going to sell him I hope Arsenal don’t take their usual “sh*t, we’ve got to sell him and get him off the wage bill – any takers?” Approach. Even teams like Liverpool with Ings can offload players nowhere near the first team for decent money, so I hope Arsenal are playing the “chaps, he’s on a long contract, we can’t replace due to the transfer window, so you’re going to have to cough up I’m afraid” card. We need to up our game in a sales sense because whilst all clubs make money through TV and sponsorship these days, transfer fees recouped also help to supplement the reinvestment in players in the first team.
We’ve got to get back to The Arsenal who make profit on signings. We can’t afford too many Lucas Perez’s because there’s only so many of them you can swallow before you start to see even more of a decline than we’ve already had.
So let’s wait and see what happens with Elneny, but I’m hoping that the three amigos start to play hardball now.
The other news is that Joel Campbell may go, but that’s not really a surprise given Emery said that might happen, as well as the fact that he’s nowhere near the first time. It was a strange transfer, he almost looked like he might make it, but he’s barely spent any time in this country and if we’re all honest, it’s probably time to cut our losses with that one.
That’s yer lot from me today. We’re at that middle point in the week when last weekend’s action is dying down, this upcoming weekend is just a little out of touching distance, and the club are understandably quiet. I’m quite ok with that to be fair.