Over the summer Edu got a lot of abuse from many Arsenal fans.
They criticised him for liking a BBQ and having one too many holidays. They claimed he was out of his depth, that he did not really know what he was doing.
We had massively overpaid for Ben White, despite having William Saliba at the club – who his detractors would point out was the superior player.
We let Matteo Guendouzi go on loan to Marseille whilst spending big on Albert Sambi Lokonga.
And the worst deal of the summer was bringing in Aaron Ramsdale – he had been relegated 3 times in the last 3 seasons.
Only Arsenal, under Edu, would sell Emiliano Martinez for £17million and buy Ramsdale for £30million.
Of course, they under estimated the Martinez fee (it was £20million) and over estimated Ramsdale’s (£24million rising to £30million). but these sort of people never let the facts get in the way of their narrative.
What Edu did was bring in players of a certain profile.
All under 24 years old. All with plenty of experience despite their age. And all with the right attitude.
In the last few years, looking out to in the Arsenal squad has always looked disfunctional.
Too many cliques. Too many players with poor attitudes who down tools at the first sign of the manager putting the pressure on.
When Arteta took the job, he spoke about his ‘non-negotiables‘ at Arsenal. These were respect, commitment and passion. But he came into a squad with too many players who did not have that respect, commitment or passion.
There has been a huge overhaul of players since Arteta came in. Players sold, new contracts handed out, new signings made.
This is now his squad, built alongside Edu. And it is starting to become clear and the players that have joined Arsenal – and those who have been kept – have fallen into line with what Arteta demands.
No one typifies the “new Arsenal” more than Ramsdale.
I have never known a player to get so much abuse before he had even joined the club.
Fans were throwing their toys out of the pram left, right and centre. Some even going as far as saying they would “abandon the club” if Ramsdale joined. There people are not fans. They are hangers on.
Ramsdale has been colossus since he joined.
In the battle between Martinez and Bernd Leno for Arsenal number one, Ramsdale came up on the rails to take it by 8 lengths.
He is not only clearly the best keeper at Arsenal but also one of the best keepers in the Premier League.
His save against Leciester City was one of the best seen in a while (although he did get a tad lucky with the rebound coming off his knee). He is clearly a fantastic shop stopper.
Ramsdale also dominates in the air.
At corners he commands his area, comes out and claims the ball. Catching, not punching.
Knowing you have a keeper that can dominate at set pieces makes defending so much easier.
Ramsdale’s distribution is amongst the best in the league. Maybe not yet on the level of Ederson but he is getting there.
The passes along the ground into midfield have transformed the way we play out the back. If teams press high, he by-passes the opponents and gets the ball into midfield.
He never stops talking. Barking out demands. A voice at the back.
And he is also a character.
When Leicester City fans were giving him a bit of jib, he gave it straight back joining in their chants.
It reminded me of Kevin Pietersen in Sydney when he joined in with the Barmy Army songs about Mitchell Johnson. You have to have some self confidence to do it.
When we signed him, we spoke to Sheffield United fan Arty Bianco and he kept telling us that he is a great lad, a great character.
And great lads, great characters seems to have been the order of the summer.
You get the feeling Ben White, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Martin Odergard are also great lads, great characters.
As are Gabriel, Kieran Tierney, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe.
The attitude of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has also seemed to have changed this season as well. And with that his form.
He seems to be more energetic. Less sulky. And I think that comes from the positive influence of those around him.
Edu was highly criticsed over the summer. I hope this Halloween he is serving up a huge portion of humble pie to those that criticsed.
Feel free to leave your apologies in the comments below.