Another day, another exit, and once again sadly it’s not from the playing staff (I say ‘sadly’ because we all know we need to trim that squad rather sharpish) but from the back room. Freddie ‘we love you’ Ljungberg leaves the club to pursue his management career.
I think I speak for every Arsenal fan when I say ‘thank you and good luck’ in whatever he does next, but whilst Raul’s departure came as a bit of a sudden shock to us all, this one had probably been coming in the post for some time. Freddie has had offers – as Edu also confirmed on the official club statement yesterday – from clubs for management positions and we will have known that he wants to take a job as a top dog for some time.
He has led the youth teams, he’s a very respected club and so many of the young players absolutely love him, but since the arrival of Arteta it has kind of felt like he was a bit of a peripheral figure if I’m honest. He did great to come in and manage the team on a temporary basis last season with essentially no staff of his own to do it, but that period in which he was in charge will have only heightened his desire to give it a go being the boss at another club.
I hope he does well. I hope he finds the right project and his management career kicks on from here. I think we all probably knew he was going to want to move on eventually and now Mikel will need to look for another guy to bring in for his first team coaching support.
Speaking of ‘projects’, various journos are now reporting the importance of Arteta in convincing Gabriel Magalhaes of the ‘project’ at Arsenal and that’s why we are supposedly going to end this saga of his signing early next week. We’ve all been talking about it long enough so hopefully it can finally get over the line. Then we can talk about what he’ll bring to the club. A definite samba flavour running through the Arsenal squad, that’s for sure, which is no bad thing.
It does fill you with confidence to hear about Arteta and his approach to communication with players though, doesn’t it? We used to get this in the early days with Wenger. Remember when we heard about the personal touch Wenger had with a 17-year-old Ramsey? The guy had the choice of Arsenal or United and as much as we all dearly love our club, there’s no doubt that United and their history, as well as trophies, is on paper a more attractive option. But Wenger ensured that we nabbed Ramsey and whilst this situation isn’t the same with Gabriel because we were already hot on him before United tried a late grab, if it is true that we get him and that Arteta played such a big part in talking to him about his plans, then it’s just another example of what a gem of a manager we have.
Imagine having the choice of Arsenal and Arteta versus Ole and United. It’s clear who is the better tactical coach. Ole has had his bacon saved this season by Bruno Fernandes and a laughable number of penalties awarded, but they are playing Champions League football, so that’s a draw. But in Arteta we have a guy that looks like he’s going places. Whether that’s with Arsenal long term will depend entirely on us giving him the resources he needs to compete, but we look like we’re doing our fair share already, to be fair.
We may only be a week away from the season opener and we may not be able to get ourselves to the stadiums to support The Arsenal, but I’m really starting to get excited about ya for next season. We’re not perfect, we won’t compete for the league, but as I said earlier in the week we are at the beginning of a rebuilding process and I think our chances for having a proper go at the top four remain high.
It’s funny though because even without any of the potential incomings, I have a belief in Arteta with the existing squad, so that is also helping me to get excited. He managed to improve almost all of the players who were so maligned when he arrived. Just imagine what he could do with a full season of them? It’s a tantalising prospect and I hope that what we’re expecting from him turns out to be true next season. Because it’s big ‘tings’.
On that note I’m going to stop for now. Time to grab myself a bit of brekkie. Catch you tomorrow.