Today’s blog starts off with a nod to a career that should have been, after Abou Diaby officially retired from football at just 32 years of age. In nine years at Arsenal he showed us mere fleeting glances of what could have been a fantastic career that was cut short by a malicious ‘leave one in on him’ tackle from Dan Smith of Sunderland, a player who would find himself out of professional football within a few years, effectively curtailing a talent for an entire career.
Abou Diaby never lived up to the hype as a result and came to symbolise the latter part of Arsène’s reign; a player given a contract or two more than he should have been as Arsène refused to be ruthless and instead continued to keep Diaby at Arsenal. One can hardly blame Diaby and there isn’t a person on the planet who would have done differently, but Arsenal probably should have cut their losses a few years earlier than they did.
You have to feel for him but sadly Arsenal fans won’t be talking about him with any kind of iconic status once this current outpouring of goodwill following the announcement has gone.
Instead the talk appears to be towards the future signings we might make with Monchi potentially at the helm and on last nights Gunners Town radio show on LoveSport we talked about his potential impact. It’s interesting because we had an Italian football journalist talking about what he might bring to Arsenal and he wasn’t as excited sounding as most of our fan base seem to be. What I found most interesting is that he talked about how Monchi was the perfect man for a team operating in the next level down from the elite competitions, citing his requirement to constantly replenish teams with new players following sales at Sevilla and Roma, whilst bringing in talent that can be reinvested.
The angst that was caused by the Sven Mislintat departure was so because he was our ‘ace in the hole’ when it came to the transfer market. Here was a man who had unearthed gems at Dortmund for next to nothing and turned them in to perpetual challengers alongside Klopp et al. Yet losing him took away any kind of competitive advantage we thought we might have and so that’s why I think people got a little uppety.
But Monchi gives Arsenal fans – the only fan base in the world to be as concerned with backroom appointments as those on the field it seems – the belief that we’re getting another guy who can unearth those gems. I guess the interest in this appointment stems from the fact we have such a terrible ownership but what the Italian football journalist was saying was that if we wanted him to have us operating with the aim of just getting to the top four and not every competing then he would be perfect.
I’m not sure I fully agree with that though. For the one thing Arsenal are a bigger club than Sevilla and Roma. You only have to look at the revenues generated at the club to see that. So if Monchi does come in and does find some gems we’re not going to be forced in to mass departures like he experienced at Sevilla and Roma.
I’m not naive enough to think that every player who signs for Arsenal might not go a few years down the line. Heck, we’ve seen enough of that in recent years with Cesc, Nasri, etc. But the kind of large scale exoduses that Sevilla and Roma have had to do to balance the books wouldn’t be the same case at The Arsenal. Take the Guendouzi rumour for example. I don’t think it will transpire and I doubt we’ll sell to PSG, but if it did happen for £60million then it’s doubtful that Arsenal would need to offload.
Mo Salah at Roma is another one. Imagine he had been brought by Arsenal. Would Liverpool come in for him? Even if they did we’d be strong enough to reject I think. So I don’t think it would be the same for Monchi at Arsenal. And I think his attraction would probably be that he knows this. If he knows he can be part of building a strong Arsenal team that can compete he can position himself as a guy who can take that next step up. Right now he’s seen as a miracle worker at the level down from the elite clubs. He could see this as his ticket to the big time.
But here I am talking about what could be and we don’t even have confirmation that he’s joining us yet.
If he does join though, I wonder what it says about how much influence Emery is having at Arsenal, having come in less than a year ago just to coach the first team, are we suddenly seeing him increase his own power base by bringing in such a publicly acknowledged backer of his?
It might seem a clever move now but if it happens and we don’t have the kind of season next season that sees us ‘kick on’ further, do Raoul and Monchi have the cajones to pull the trigger on Emery at the end of next season?
Hey, this is all speculation and hearsay, but it does show that the upheaval in the back room isn’t all over. Not just yet by quite a long shot.
Righto, that’s me for another one, so back tomorrow for some pre match thoughts ahead of Bournemouth tomorrow evening.