Sports reporter, David Ornstein’s recent question and answer session suggested that the Arsenal coach, Unai Emery, is struggling to win over the majority of fans.
Ornstein speculated on the future of Unai Emery when he said:
“You do wonder once a long-serving manager leaves whether a period will follow that sees a club go through several successors before finding the right one.”
“Clearly the jury is out on Emery among sections of the fanbase and that means, atmosphere-wise, he’s walking a tightrope in every game.”
So Ornstein feels that Unai Emery could be the first name in a managerial merry go round, but that maybe very premature when you consider that the Spanish coach has had to dismantle to rebuild. He has had just over one season to clear the decks, whilst everything in the structure behind the scenes has changed.
All this and only had two major transfer windows to undo the last 12 years of abject failure.
Yes, Arsenal as a competitive side are far from the finished article, but fans and media alike will probably have to put their knives back in the drawer for at least another two seasons.
After that, it’s possibly hunting season if Champions League qualification isn’t consistent and progress in the Premier League looks to be limited.
Ornstein’s analogy, which is clearly based on Manchester United’s early folly after Ferguson’s departure, does carry with it a serious flaw.
As an example it’s valid but Arsenal aren’t in the habit of changing much, not even the biscuits in the canteen. It’s therefore unlikely that they will react in the same way when there are so few candidates to be trusted with the job.
The truth is that Arsenal will invest in the squad over the next few seasons but not to the extent that someone like Jose Mourinho or Luis Enrique would like.
There was some speculation that Enrique was interested in the position and that Arsenal’s representatives made contact but it became apparent that the Spaniard wanted a king’s ransom for his salary and also to spend on players.
The wage was said to be between £15/£25m per year and sources quoted that he required £200m to spend straight away to overhaul the failing North London squad. Without Champions League football, the figures just didn’t stack up and the contact between the parties quickly ceased.
Unai Emery is having to start again as Wenger once did, but the difference is that a significant amount of clubs in the Premier League have caught up and narrowed the gap that Ferguson’s United and Wenger’s Arsenal once enjoyed.
It’s acceptable to be disappointed that Arsenal aren’t playing the type of absorbing football that they did in the 90’s but it’s unacceptable to think that two seasons will bring it back.
Arsenal’s board should be interested in Ornstein’s comments whilst remembering the position the Red Devil’s are now in through chopping and changing at the top.
With the compensation they’ve paid out, they could have acquired some decent players but a succession of bad choices have seen a marked deterioration in the club that won’t be fixed without blood, sweat and tears, plus cash. A lot of cash.
David Moyes came and went and there followed a few more round pegs in square holes such as Mourinho and I said at the time that the special one had entered into a disastrous marriage with United that was destined for divorce.
Arsenal will be only too aware that change to meet expectations can lead to massive disappointment and failure, so this whole situation has to be thought through before acting.
Arsenal missed out on a top four by one point, hardly a disaster and although they were battered in the Europa League final, Unai Emery still managed to get them there with what was available. Something Ornstein recognised when he said:
“Although this in no way tells the whole story, the broader picture of reaching a European final and missing out on top four by one point and then finding themselves third the following season suggests his job is not under threat,”
Arsenal are currently just one point behind Manchester City and look a reasonable bet to claim a qualification slot with a number of other teams suffering the same growing pains.
All is not lost, the identity is confused and consistency is absent but with more time, those dissenting voices may see things differently.
I’ll be honest, Emery’s choices of team selection sometimes irritate but there have been times when Arsenal haven’t looked too far off. The implosion at the end of last season was slightly baffling and there were times, especially after the North London derby that fans thought the Spaniard was bringing the good times home.
The problems within the fan base should be instantly cured by the realisation that their free flowing Arsenal is still some way into the future, if at all.
Wenger’s brand of football may well have died with the move to the Emirates, only to be replaced by a series of more functional and tactical performances, but you only have to look at the Europa league to acknowledge that the future, through Arsenal’s younger players looks good.
Sit tight is my advice, Rome wasn’t built in a day.