Tag Archives: Pep Guardiola

What has happened to the heirs of Wenger’s throne? Part III

We have already seen where 10 potential Arsenal manager’s are now, what they are up to, and whether Arsenal have missed out (or dodged a bullet) by sticking with Arsene Wenger. From Jurgen Klopp to Owen Coyle and Jose Mourinho to Roberto Martinez have already been discussed. Today we look at the final 5…


Pep Guardiola

Like Jurgen Klopp, another long term Arsenal favourite, and he has every right to be.

We missed out on him when he left Barcelona, and as his journey at Bayern Munich started to end, the stars seemed to be aligned.

There was talk that out of all the English club, Arsenal were the one’s he wanted. Chelsea, Man City and Man U would all be in for him, but Arsenal were his dream. They were the ones who could match up to his principles.

But there was a spanner in the works. Man City had been on a boardroom recruitment drive over the last 4 years, and it became clear that drive was with the eventual goal of getting Guardiola in.

First came in Txiki Begiristain. He was Barcelona’s Director of Football during Guardiola’s period at the club. He also played with Guardiola for 5 years at Barcelona. Man City’s CEO is Ferran Soriano, former vice-president of Barcelona.

It was easy surroundings for Guardiola to come in and become manager. He bought into the project that the Man City owners are undertaking.

Man City were recently on a bit of a poor run. 6 games without a win before their 4-0 demolishing of WBA. But Guardiola is changing the club. Changing the team. It might take him a year or so to get right, and he will have to adapt himself and his tactics to the Premier League, but one thing is clear, he is a class manager and Arsenal missed out on him.

Unai Emery

For me, Unai Emery is one of the best young managers in European football. He is just 45 but already seems to have been around for a lifetime – having taken his 1st managerial job at 32.

He did a brilliant job at Valencia, and followed this up 3 UEFA Cup triumphs in a row with Sevilla.

He joined PSG this summer, which might mean replacing Arsene Wenger next summer might be too soon. But he is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Joachim Löw

I am still sceptical about Joachim Löw’s club management ability. At international management, his credentials are unquestionable.

In his 4 international tournaments, Germany have made the semi final each time, winning a World Cup and runners up in the 2008 Euro Championships.

This might be all to do with having the best squad in Europe, the most talented Group of Germany players in decades, but his leadership of those players is important.

He recently extended his contract with Germany until 2020, by which time he would have been out of club management since 2004, 16 years. It would be a big risk to take

Marco van Basten

Like Frank de Boer linked earlier, one reason people wanted him in was due to his relationship with Dennis Bergkamp.

In 2012, I said “Struggled with egos at Holland (who hasn’t), spent a lot at Ajax, only to finish 3rd, before walking away, In his first season at Heerenveen where he has only won 3 from 15 games. Probably not a good manager.”

In the time since, then, I have been proved right.

Brendan Rodgers

David Moyes Mark II.

Got his chance at a top English club with Liverpool. Messed it up. Now a Sunday league manager at Celtic. No thanks.


The latest list of favourites to take over from Wenger includes the likes of Eddie Howe, Thomas Tuchel, Martin Schmidt, Laurent Blanc, Carlo Ancelotti & Ronald Koeman. It will be interesting to see how they get on.

We have all heard of the Curse of Aaron Ramsey, maybe there is also the Curse of Wenger’s Repalcement?

If I were to come up with a new list of who I want to replace, it would probably contain:

Diego Simeone
Jurgen Klopp
Unai Emery
Thomas Tuchel
Martin Schmidt
Carlo Ancelotti
Ronald Koeman
Laurent Blanc
Dennis Bergkamp
Eddie Howe

I wonder if in 4 years, if Arsene Wenger is still at the helm (I hope not) I will be revisiting my list of 8 to see how they are getting on.


League Cup Draw, Arsenal in for Left Back?, Pep Guardiola & West Ham Fighting


League Cup Draw

So we got Southampton at home. A bit of a tame draw. Bit of a dull draw. But still a game we should win. And it is another chance for cheap tickets. For dads to take their sons.

I would expect us to play a few more 1st team players. Maybe have the likes of Alexis Sanchez on the bench ready to come on if needed. With the teams that are left in the competition, the League Cup is a trophy we could win this season.

A trip to Wembley in February? Yes please.


Arsenal in for Left Back?

Arsenal have reportedly been keeping tabs on Hull City left back Josh Tymon. I have no idea who he is. But after a summer of reportedly chasing a new left sided defender, it does not surprise me that he could potentially be joining in January.

In recent months, we have been linked with Swiss international Ricardo Rodríguez and Leicester City youngster Ben Chilwell.

With the form and age of both Nacho Monreal & Kieran Gibbs, I thought over the summer we might move one on, and sign a teenage left back to slowly blood him in over the next couple of years, like what happened with Hector Bellerin.

A move did not materialise for Chilwell (or the more senior Rodriguez), but it would not surprise me if we snapped up Tymon in January and left him at Hull City for the remainder of the season to get game time.

5 Things We Learned

Post Reading, many a blog was written (at the last count Arsenal had 3574364 blogs, and nearly as many podcasts). One of the best was Arsenal Vs Reading: 5 Things We Learned by PainInTheArsenal. A top read and good summary of the game and what we can take out of it.

Whilst I am at it, have a read of my thoughts on Tuesday’s win – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of Arsenal’s win over Reading.

Pep Guardiola

Whilst Arsenal went 12 games without defeat after their League Cup victory over Reading, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are now 6 games without a win.

This is the first time in Guardiola’s career he is managed in a league where there are more than just a handful of decent teams; and it is perhaps starting to show.

At Barcelona and Bayern Munich, most weekends opponents rolled over and played dead. 5-0 & 6-0 victories were fairly common. Barcelona would only have 4 tough(ish) games a season, against the 2 Madrid sides. At Munich their biggest opponent was the complacency that came in having won the league in March.

Guardiola is struggling with his team, but he is a top manager and I am sure will come through it. What it shows is that the Premier League is the toughest league in the world, with battles every weekend. New foreign managers coming into this league often do not realise that.

West Ham Fighting

I will be honest, when the League Cup draw was happening, the tie I wanted was West Ham v Arsenal. The best game in recent years that I have been to recently – for result & atmosphere – was Spurs away in the League Cup last year. It was a riot. West Ham would be similar.

With all seater stadiums, no alcohol in front of the pitch, no smoking and no swearing, football has become sanitised. The fighting between West Ham and Chelsea, and other sides this season, has been no more than handbags. I am seeing people saying they are scared to take their sons, and it is 2016 not 1986. Well the scenes we are seeing are tame. A minority. Get over yourselves.

The biggest problem is not those throwing a few chairs, but those recording those throwing a few chairs. They do this for RT’s on Twitter, for YouTube hits. They are grasses. The police use this evidence found online to pick out people and prosecute fans. So put the phones away, stop grassing each other up.

I am buzzing for December 3rd. It might not be the old Upton Park Ground (where the atmosphere was often electric and the walk into and out of the stadium tense) but it will be a top day out!


A Tale of Two Transfer Philosophies

132“It’s very difficult to buy because, if you ask a player of the medium level, they might ask for £55 million, It’s very difficult to enter the market with these prices and in this condition.”

“No. I’m not comfortable. I don’t like to pay a lot of money. If a player deserves it, then it’s right. But for a medium player, it’s right to pay the right price, not £20 or £30 million over. That’s not right. We must be patient and wait. We need to sign some players.”

Not the words of Arsene Wenger, but the words of new Chelsea manager Antonio Conte in this mornings Telegraph.

“I’ve tried my best, but I don’t think in the short term…You can’t just go ‘We have money’, and throw it away and take any players you want. It is always about the decision, you can sign a lot of rubbish with money or you can make really good decisions.”

“I cannot say, ‘It is only money going somewhere else’. We have money, but we are not in Disneyland and can say, ‘Come on, take what you want’. We have a budget, we work with it. This is for the long-term development of the club.”

Not the words or Arsene Wenger, but the words of Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp back in January.

“I personally believe that no matter what you do, it’s never enough. In the Premier League, every club is hugely ambitious. With the cheques that everybody signs, it’s quite scary. But I believe we know what we have to do.”

That one was Arsene Wenger back in July.


This summer there seems to have been a clear line in the sand when it comes to the transfer policies of top clubs.

On one side, you have the likes of Manchester City and Manchester United. Between them they have spent over £300m on players. They are paying what selling clubs are asking for. Turning up with their suitcase full of cash and walking away with the player they need. Even if they are paying over the odds. Between them they have spent more than a third of the Premier League’s total outlay on player.

You then have the other side of the fence, where the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool & Spurs sit. Between those 4 clubs, they have not yet breached a combined spend of £200m. They are refusing to be held to ransom by European clubs who want a share of the Premier League TV money.

So why do England’s top 6 clubs have two very differing transfer policies? The answer is management.

At Manchester City and Manchester United, we have 2 short term managers. Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola rarely spend more than a few years at a club.

Manchester United is Mourinho;s 4th job since leaving Chelsea in 2007. Guardiola has been well quoted in the past that he never really wants to stay more then 3 years at clubs.

Both come into clubs with short term plans.

Spend big, win big, move on.

It has proved successful, but it has also proved expensive.

For both, they have been lucky that they have joined clubs where nothing needs to be built around them. The likes of Manchester City, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid & Chelsea are designed for short term managers, come in, win, leave.

It is what has given them both the philosophy of spending big, spending quick. I would be surprised if any manager in world football has outspend Guardiola or Morunhio in the last 6 years.

It is the way they both work.

Than you have the likes of Wenger & Klopp. Both have built a legacy at the clubs they have spent the majority of their time at. Arsenal & Borussia Dortmund. They spent sensibly, and built the clubs up ensuring that they were not only successful during their era, but giving them the best chance of being successful in the future.

Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino seem to of be of a similar ilk. Even though both have already been through a few clubs, they now seem to want to build a legacy at both Chelsea and Tottenham respectively. They are in it for the long term.

And that is the line in the sand. If you are a short term manager like Guardiola & Mourinho, you are spending big, on short term solutions, with a short term goal of winning the Premier League and Champions League quickly, before leaving.

If you are in it for the long term, you always have one eye on the future.

What Conte has said about transfers is completely correct.

Napoli are demanding £55m for Kalidou Koulibaly. A player whom a year ago no one had heard of. John Stones went to Manchester City for £47.5m. A crazy amount for a player dropped by his club side last season, and did not play a minute at the recent European Championships.

You feel had Mourinho still had have been at Chelsea, Stones would be at the club, and probably Koulibaly too. Mourinho pays the money, no matter the price.The transfer window is a crazy place at the moment. European sides are basically naming their price, in the hope a club pays. It all depends how desperate, how short termist, the club is. Manchester City and Manchester United have thus far paid the price. Other clubs have basically turned round and said “don’t take the piss”.

Of course, this does not justify Arsenal’s lack of spending. Conte talks about the medium player who he values at under £30m. There have been plenty of said players move this summer who would have improved us. Shkodran Mustafi is one.

Just because we do not, and correctly should not, pay £55m on someone like Koulibaly, it does not mean we should not be paying for players who are worth what the asking price is (or a little bit more). And if someone like Antoine Griezmann is gettable at £90m, we should go and get him.

In the last year, Arsenal fans have said that we should have gone and the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Antonio Conte. Their philosophy fits in with Arsene Wenger’s. They would have been perfect for a club like ours. They are in it for the long haul.