Thursday, 24 May 2018

Arsenal Get Their Man As Arsene Wenger’s Successor Is Announced

With the season finished less than two weeks ago and the cushion on Arsene Wenger’s office chair still warm Arsenal moved quickly to appoint his successor. Social media was buzzing with the supposed imminent arrival of Mikael Arteta, but the club seemed to surprise almost everybody when Unai Emery got the job. On the face of it he has to be the more sensible and the better appointment.

Arteta is of course a former club captain at Arsenal and he’s very well thought of, but there is no comparison between the managerial experience of both men. Arteta is one of the coaches under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and he seems to be doing a very good job, but he has never managed one single game of football. It would have been a huge risk to appoint him, but his inexperience probably would have bought him more time with the fans at least.

On the other hand Emery has a fine track record and is a proven winner in club management. No other manager has won more trophies in the top five leagues in Europe in the last five seasons than him and he will be expected to deliver silverware at Arsenal too. He has won eight trophies in that time with five of them coming over the last two seasons at PSG as well as three consecutive Europa League titles with Sevilla in the previous three seasons.

Interestingly Wenger won three trophies in that time too and five if you count the Community Shield (which I don’t). They were all FA Cup victories though and we need a manager who can challenge for Premier League and European titles. He won a league which he was expected to win with PSG after failing to win it in his first season there and his achievement with Sevilla was fairly spectacular no matter how poorly you might rate the Europa League.

He didn’t challenge for league titles with Sevilla though, but the Barcelona and Real Madrid stranglehold is very difficult to break in Spain. He’ll have a bigger budget and better players at Arsenal and he will be expected to get us back to title challengers over the next few seasons. His first task has to be to get us back into the top four and Champions League qualification.

We’re facing into our second season in a row in the Europa League and that has to have hurt our finances. There just isn’t as much TV money in the Europa League and that can be seen in the reported transfer kitty of £50 million for this summer. Emery can add to that kitty by selling some of the players he has and you would imagine he will look to offload a few players.

He was announced as the “Head Coach” though and that would suggest all of the transfer dealings won’t be entirely down to him. Wenger was most definitely the manager and he was in charge of almost every aspect of the club, but there are others at the club to take over many of the responsibilities Arsene either didn’t want to let go of or for which there was no one in place. That should leave Emery with more time to concentrate on coaching and tactics which will hopefully be of some advantage to the team.

By all accounts he’s quite meticulous in his coaching and preparation and that seemed to be something we were lacking in recent seasons. Maybe that’s just a perception and we’ve got it all wrong, but if he is that thorough you would expect to see an improvement in both of those departments. He has plenty of very good players to work with and even a few of the very best players in the Premier League.

Trying to challenge City won’t be easy when you see what they achieved last season and consider the amount of money they have spent and will continue to spend. There isn’t too much between the rest of the top six though and we can certainly hope to overtake at least two of them next season if he can get things right. It’s something I hope he can do and his appointment has certainly filled me with hope for the future.

It’s going to be an interesting summer for us Arsenal fans as we wait to see what players come and go and how our team will come together for next season. I hope he has the affect we all hope for and we can get back to being genuine challengers again. I’m genuinely looking forward to the return of the Premier League in August and getting to see us prosper in the post Wenger years.

That’s not taking anything from Wenger though and he will always be remembered as our greatest manager ever. As happy as I am to look forward to Emery sitting in the dugout (or patrolling the sideline) I’ll still miss Wenger. It’s going to be very strange watching Arsenal play under anyone other than him for the first time in almost 22 years.

That’s it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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