Tag Archives: Unai Emery

What is delaying Arsenal replacing Unai Emery?

It is now nearly a week since Unai Emery was sacked and a replacement has not been bought in.

Within 24 hours of sacking Mauricio Pochettino, Tottenham announced that Jose Mourinho was to be their new manager. It was quick, it was clinical.

So what is holding up Arsenal?

Remaining Classy

The old school fan in me that still calls us The Arsenal and remembers the days when we were a classy club makes me look at Spurs and think “stabbed in the back” with just how quickly they moved Pochettino out and Mourinho in.

The seat on the private toilet in the managers office had not even cooled down.

It does lack class agreeing a deal with a replacement manager before the current manager has been sacked. The “open secret” that the manager has been sacked and replacement already recruited. But it is hard to “stay classy” in business.

Regardless of the industry, if you are planning to sack a manager, CEO or director, you need to be talking to potential replacements before you give the incumbent the chop.

The firm I work for planned to replace the CEO a few years back. They employed his replacement as a Regional Director for 8 months before chopping the CEO. He was then installed as interim CEO before getting the job permanently 4 months later.

It might have “lacked class” but in business it is what needs to be done. Especially if that business is struggling.

You need to do what is in the best interests long term of the business, or football club, and not have to worry about “looking classy” in the short term.

I imagine the lack of replacement has nothing to do with the club deciding not to talk to a replacement for Emery before they gave him his P45.

Board Incompetence

The situation could further highlight a long term problem at Arsenal. That those running the club are simply incompetent.

We know the board is not fit for purpose and there have been talks to introduce fresh faces. We know Stan Kroenke is a hands off owner, leaving the experts he employs to do the job they are supposed experts in. That then leaves it to Raul Sanllehi.

Sanllehi was supposed to be a superstar. Recruited from Barcelona, he replaced Ivan Gazidis overseeing the football side of the club. Replacing the manager is his job.

Has he been infected by the incompetence that runs through others within the club? Is he not the big dog that we hoped we were recruiting? Or does he have a plan and it simply is not one that can be completed within 24 hours?

I hope it is the later.

New Manager is Currently Employed

Prior to Emery being sacked, we could have been having discussions with his replacement and/or his representatives. A contract could even have been agreed and he is ready to take over. But he can not take over if he is currently in a job.

What allowed Tottenham to replace Pochettino so quickly is that Mourinho was out of work. All they had to do is get a signed contract back from him and he was ready to go.

The situation takes longer if you are targeting a manager currently in a job.

If Arsenal want Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo, Brendan Rodger of Leicester or even poach Carlo Ancelotti from Napoli, they will have to enter negotiations with their respective club to buy them out of their current contract. This could only be done once Emery was confirmed as leaving.

A deal could have been agreed in principle with a currently employed manager, but it then takes time to do the deal with his current club.

And what if when going to do that deal, his current club refuses to enter discussion? Or asks for a huge fee? It can delay things further.

It is more complicated recruiting someone in a job than it is recruiting someone out of work.


My hope is that these delays are because we are talking to someone in work; and it is just taking a little longer. My fear is it is competence and we failed to speak to anyone before letting Emery leave.

Hopefully the situation is resolved over the weekend.

Keenos

Sacking managers is something Arsenal fans will have to get used to

It is time Arsenal fans are realistic with their expectations.

We have had a long period of stability and success. From the day George Graham took over the club in 1986 to Arsene Wenger’s departure in 2018. 32 years, 3 managers (with Bruce Ricoh splitting the 2 with a year in charge) and consistent success.

During that 32 years we won:
5 league titles
8 FA Cups
2 League Cups
1 ECWC

Add in the memories of 1989 and the 2004 unbeaten season, it was a glory period where we averaged a major trophy every other season.

16 of Arsenal’s 30 major honours came during that 32 years.

Arsenal fans, like myself, born in the late 70s / early 80s have been spoilt by only ever knowing success, and never really seeing a turnover of managers.

What is the worst season under Graham or Wenger? 1995 when we made a European final? Finishing 6th under Arsene Wenger? These are not huge failures. Many teams would take these as a sign of a successful season.

We had a period of success and consistency, and not we are on a downward curve and those fans who grew up only knowing success will have to re-adjust their mind set.

When you speak to older fans, they talk about the 70s and 80s when Arsenal barely had a sniff- a single FA cup win in 1979 from the 1971 double to when Graham took over. 15 long seasons.

During that 15 years there was not a huge turnover in managers.

Terry Neill and Don Howe the only two appointments between Bertie Mee’s departure and George Graham’s appointment.

Football has changed dramatically since those days, and with the increased money and accountability, it is now a “fast food” game where fans demand instant success or changes.

In a recent interview, Jose Mourinho was asked whether long-term managers like Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson are now a thing of the past, Mourinho said: “Twenty years in a club? I don’t think it is possible.

“Modern life, new technology, social media – I think everything has an influence.

“Even people’s mentality, faster relations, getting tired more easily, so many things that are changing. Not just football, but changing the world and the perception of things.

“I think Wenger was the last one.”

Mourinho is absolutely spot on.

In the Premier League, just 2 managers have bene in their job for longer than 5 years – Eddie Howe at Bournemouth and Sean Dyche at Burnley. Jurgen Klopp has now been at Liverpool for over 4 years. Just two more have spent more than 3 years at their respective clubs: Pep Guardiola and Chris Wilder at Sheffield United.

At the other end of the scale, 9 Premier League sides have had their current manager for less than a year (including Watford who currently have a vacancy for their 3rd manager this season.

The average life span of current Premier League managers is just 2 years, 14 days.

Manchester United are now onto their 4th manager since Sit Alex Ferguson retired.
Liverpool have had 9 managers since King Kenny left – including Dalglish returning for a 2nd stint.
Tottenham have had 21 since Bill Nicholson
Chelsea are on to their 2nd new manager since their last league title – just 2 seasons ago.

Chelsea sum up how the world of football has changed.

Since Jose Mourinho left for the 1st time back in 2007, they have changed manager 13 times. They have won 11 trophies in that time.

Tottenham and Liverpool aside, no other “big 6” side has kept a manager for 2 consecutive trophyless seasons since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

Jurgen Klopp has shown the benefit of keeping with a manager who you think is the right man even when not winning trophies. It was 3 and a half seasons until he finally lifted a trophy – and he is on to win the Premier League in his 4th full season. But Klopp was Liverpool’s 5th different manager this decade!

The fact is that a new manager at Arsenal will not guarantee an instant change of fortunes on the pitch. And chances are unless we lift a trophy come 2021, Emery’s full-time replacement will be sacked.

Football has changed a lot since George Graham was appointed in 1986. Arsenal fans are going to have to get used to a new man coming in, it not working out and change.

With the state of our team at the moment, it could take 2 or 3 more manager changes and a huge playing turnover in playing personnel until we have a competitive team once more.

We as fans need to realise that football is now a volatile place where instant success is demanded but not realistic.

Keenos

Its been 5 long weeks since the last international break

How quickly things can change in football.

A month ago I, prior to the last international break, I was filled with optimism.

Arsenal were not playing brilliant but were still 3rd in the league. It felt like the international break had come at the right time and Arsenal would kick on after it.

The 2 weeks off would give more time for Hector Bellerin, Kieran Tiernay and Rob Holding to return to match fitness. It would also provide another 2 weeks for Nicolas Pepe to adapt to life in England. With other sides faltering, it felt like 3rd place was our realistic minimum target.

Arsenal did return a different team after the international break. And in the space of 5 weeks we have been multiple different teams.

7 games played, 1 victory.

In those 7 games, we have only played the same starting formation in back to back games once. The last 6 games has seen us play 6 different formations.

Defeats at Sheffield United and Leicester, lost leads against Wolves, Crystal Palace, Liverpool & Vitoria. It has been a horrible 5 weeks.

Unai Emery has to shoulder the blame for Arsenal’s performances. He  is a man who is lost.

He is clearly overthinking things. Over complicating things. Constantly chopping and changing what he is trying to do. Players like confused. Unsure what to do.

The fact that he is putting a positive spin on poor results is baffling.

I am all for “positive mental attitude” but Emery seems to have his head in the sand when it comes to Arsenal’s poor results.

“We did our game plan” was his response to the 2-0 defeat against Leicester.

The fact that he sees thinks not losing when leading is a “positive” shows that he is a man without ideas.

Emery continually talks about the team not playing to the idea in his head, but he seems unable to recognise that it is the idea in his head that is wrong.

He seems to have a different idea for every game, on how to combat the opposition. But that is leading to different formations and an over complication for players.

The players are not playing with freedom. They do not look comfortable. It is like they have so much going on in their heads that they become mentally exhausted.

Proof is in the pudding. Arsenal have yet to win a game not playing 4231.

He has baffling dropped Nicolas Pepe. This follows him not playing Mesut Ozil for much of the season. Hector Bellerin took an age to return to the side. His selections have been confusing.

Prior to the last international break I was optimistic. It came at the right time giving us time to get players back to fitness.

This international break the mentality is different. I am actually looking forward to a weekend without football. I might visit a garden centre. Is it too early to put up my Christmas decorations?

I have backed Emery from day one. He seemed a good fit to take over from Arsene Wenger. But time is now running out for him. The Arsenal senior leadership team have some thinking to do over the next 2 weeks.

Enjoy the break.

Keenos