There is a really good exclusive interview over on The Sports Review with Guillem Balague.
Balague spoke about what he made of Unai Emery’s start at Arsenal, explaining that he had spent his time trying to change the culture of the club, while trying to win as many games as possible.
It is his belief that in recent years if felt like the club had fallen asleep.
What he says on the Mesut Ozil situation was interested.
He speaks about Arsene Wenger admitting that Mesut Ozil may have gone into his comfort zone because of his new contract.
Balague expands on this by saying that under Wenger there was not enough inner competition and fighting for places and that these kinds of things were abandoned.
Having been under Arsene Wenger for many years, Emery has had to change the clubs culture. He has attempted to introduce more of that competitive tension that you need in a team, in the offices, and throughout the club.
It is interesting that Balague specifically mentions about players being in their comfort zone and the Emery is trying to bring in some competitive tension into the club.
Emery was criticised at PSG for being too abrasive, but it is also clear that Arsenal needed a mindset change after Wenger.
People have spoken previously about Pep Guardiola being intense in everything that he does on the training ground. That you either fall in line with what Guardiola wants, and have the same intense, competitive winner mindset as himself or he gets rid of you.
Emery seems to be trying to implement the same at Arsenal. You either buy into his competitive intensity or you show yourself as not being part of his future.
It feels that perhaps Ozil has not bought into this competitive tension. That he is happy coasting, in his comfort zone, with his big contract.
An intense, competitive character will always be abrasive with a laid back ,relaxed character. This is probably why the relationship between Ozil and Emery is strained.
What the club need to decide is to whether back Emery’s attempts of changing the entire clubs mindset, or to back Ozil and embrace a relaxed atmosphere where we coast in our comfort zones.
Balague also poured cold water on the links with Ever Banega labelling it very old news and that Arsenal are not looking for that kind of player.
The last thing he spoke about was about Arsenal’s search for a new director of football.
This fits in with Emery trying to change the culture at the club, and highlights that this push comes from above him with Raul Sanllehi. He talks about Arsenal moving away from an all-conquering and possessive manager (a dig at Wenger) layers to the club.
The final thing he says those now running the club have a clear idea of what they want to be and they are looking for the right people to fit in.
All in all an interesting read.