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Why Luis Enrique is not the right man to Replace the Greatest ever

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Arsenal have started the unimaginable process of sounding out replacements for the irreplaceable Arsene Wenger and according to a report in Daily Mail, their preferred candidate due to obvious reasons if the former Barcelona and AS Roma manager Luis Enrique.

Ever since the news of Arsene Wenger’s decision to step down at the end of the season has broken out, the next obvious thing to cover for the tabloids, after tributes and former player testimonials has been the possible candidate for the presently most coveted job in International football.

Among the most common names being sounded out by them is that of the former treble winning Barcelona manager Luis Enrique. With Wenger’s future now out in the open the backroom trio of Ivan Gazidis, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi all have a formidable ableit much desired task of picking out a replacement for the outgoing Legendary manager of Arsenal.

Why Arsene Wenger out and Luis Enrique In ? Well its quite obvious isn’t it, Gazidis close friends with Raul Sanllehi formerly of Barcelona, had a longstanding intention of taking over the reins of the club which he could not do and had to stay undermined and basically as a CEO who does nothing of note as long as a certain 22 year old man stayed at the club which is his lives work and biggest achievement.

Bring Sanllehi in and gradually try and push the man out the door, work cut out for him as half the fan base already at arms against the greatest manager of the club. Smooth sailing thanks to the fans clamoring for the managers head every other day and final nail in the coffin when the fans stopped showing up at the stadium. Sanllehi pleased to bring his close friend and previous professional colleague to the club and all three live a happy life here after. Well five more games to go possibly six but thats it.

Well in a layman no bull language thats basically what has happened. In my opinion its fairly obvious that Luis Enrique is the one who will be taking the seat in the dugout from the next season in place of the Frenchman but here is why he really really is not the right person to take the club in a new path forward according to our respected Chief executive officer of Arsenal FC Ivan Gazidis.

Lets start by taking a look at the Spaniard’s managerial record. Manager at Barcelona B for three years was all there was to his CV when he was appointed as the next head coach of AS Roma. After having waited for three years as the academy coach, Enrique had gotten frustrated with waiting to take over from Guardiola and ultimately decided that as Guardiola stayed on for his final season in charge, a fourth season at the academy would mean stagnation hence his motive behind the move.

So why did AS Roma move for a man whose CV only boasted of managing the Barcelona B team ? During 2010 when he had been appointed the head coach of AS Roma, Spain and Barcelona were pretty much ruling over the entire footballing landscape both nationally and Internationally. Barca under Guardiola had won another Champions League while Spain was still busy receiving accolades for their World Cup victory. In terms of what AS Roma intended from this managerial appointment, the managerial appointment made sense according to what Walter Sabatini, Roma’s director of football said during Luis Enrique appointment :

‘The reason we chose Luis Enrique is symbolic,’  ‘Luis Enrique represents an idea of football that we would like to follow, which imposes itself today through Spain and Barcelona.’

Basically they wanted some of the tiki taka that the World was raving over back then when Guardiola was at his peak.

By the end of the season AS Roma were seventh in the league, their lowest position in a decade, semifinal defeat in the Italian Cup, Knocked out of the Europa League and an abject failure to qualify for the European Competitions largely due to 14 league defeats in a single season.

Probably what happens when you bring your guardiolaesque titka taka packed suitcase and dump it over in a foreign league team without really championing the finer elements that the philosophy entails.

Luis Enrique said in a statement posted on the Roma website :

“I’m leaving because I feel very tired and drained,”
“I’ve given everything this season.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to recover my energy over the summer — not the energy needed to motivate a group. I definitely won’t be coaching next season, though I don’t know if I’d even have had any offers.”

For me that reeks of a loser, an escapist, for someone who needed to prove to his original bosses about his credentials for taking over from Guardiola you can imagine how abjectly meek and cowardly that sounds. Rather than facing up to his problems, trying to rectify em and proving his philosophy and values to those it mattered this guy choose to take a year lazying around at home after exactly four years of serious management. Quite a mile away from 22 isn’t it.
Image result for as roma luis enrique win record
His work at Celta Vigo which landed Luis Enrique the much coveted job at Camp Nou was with getting a 17 placed team to 8th in the league. Well with players like Rafinha, Nolito, Fontas, you can imagine how significantly better a team becomes when compared to the other relegation battlers in the League.
 Even then his appointment to Camp Nou came at a time when the Catalans were still abjectly in tatters with their futile and failed attempts at replacing Gerardo Martino and Tito Vilanova and with the club struggling to replicate the Guardiola philosophy.
Having a former academy manager developing Spanish top flight experience and doing pretty well in the league with a large hearted and similar compilation of the Catalan template sounds like a pretty good emergency case scenario.
Did the attempt to replicate the philosophy work : completely no but yet Luis Enrique managed to replicate the feat only once achieved by the Barcelona of Pep Guardiola, the ultimate treble.
In the words of Lionel Messi : ‘Everything changed,’ 
His way of football was not even remotely close to the kind of footballing paradise Guardiola has spoilt the Camp Nou faithfuls with. The Luis Enrique Barcelona team no longer relied on the midfield control of Iniesta and Xavi, instead for his idea of hurting the opposition for by unleashing the much famed and vaunted front three of Messi Suarez and Neymar on the pitch and in tandem and letting them do all the talking.
From completely footballing control on the pitch the Barcelona team had shifted to pace, counter attacks and individual brilliance ruling the field.
Nine trophies in three years might make Luis Enrique the most successful manager in Barcelona history, yet it does not make Luis Enrique the greatest coach. It simply makes him a moderately skilled coach in charge of the greatest footballing team in the world. Only reason why a club like Barcelona would consider a managerial change for a man providing them with a treble and 9 major trophies in just three years is if he does not align or stay true to the clubs values and philosophies.
That was certainly the case here, by the end of his three year stay at the club most of the people making the decisions at Barcelona had felt that the clubs values, visions and identity were not being respected and valued, it was something which they simply could not tolerate. Even with the best players dominating the footballing landscape Luis Enrique and his half hearted Catalan template had run his course.
Image result for luis enrique messi fight
Image Obtained via
Most reports even pointed out to a huge falling out between the players and the manager as another key reason behind a contract extension not being afforded to Luis Enrique, something which was the case even back at AS Roma with Luis Enrique clashing frequently with Totti and the other players in the dressing room
The delicacy of the situation that the club now faces with their first manager change in more than two decades cannot be described in mere words or a single post. Whats at stake is basically everything that one man has achieved with his life’s work, bringing the club to where it is and what it stands for and well that’ all that a certain Spaniard can come in completely blemish and reduce to ashes with a failed philosophy, escapist attitude, over hyped portfolio and over sensitive ego.
Personal agenda, favorable appointments and personal appeasements is not what the Greatest ever manager of Arsenal deserves to witness after dedicating his life to being the ultimate servant of this great club. To those instigating the catalyst for change be warned now that the enormous protective and all absorbing shadow of Arsene Wenger has lifted from the club, the level and magnitude of scrutiny faced by those at the back will be unprecedented and nothing like what they have ever witnessed in their lives. Get it right and you will be cherish but the stakes have never been higher ever at least not in the last 22 years.

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Soham De
Writer who specializes in overcoming the yearly heartbreak of being an Arsenal supporter. Tries to make life better by venting out thoughts, writings about anything and everythings thats exciting about Arsenal FC. Always up for debates and discussions but only about Arsenal

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