Friday, October 7, 2022

Unai Emery is just a cog in the new Arsenal management machine

Morning to you. I’m very glad I brought the scheduled podcast for today forward to yesterday (although it was tomorrow and today back then) because I am as sick as a dog this morning.

Not the dog that is currently chewing a log at my feet, she seems completely fine and delighted to be alive, but another pooch whose head and bones ache and is concurrently boiling hot and freezing cold at the same time. It took me around 7 minutes to think of the word ‘concurrently’. All I could think of was ‘consequential’.

I have foregone coffee this morning for Lemsip, and if you want to listen to the Arsecast with David Ornstein of the BBC and Colin Millar of Football Espana, you can find all the links you need here.

The new manager, sorry head coach, had his first day at the training ground yesterday, being shown around by Raul Sanllehi and Ivan Gazidis and some other people. He got an in-depth tutorial about every single thing.

“This is our tunnel area.”

“This our door handle.”

“This is our window pane.”

“This is our pool.”

“This is our basket for stinky bibs.”

“This is our weights machine to bulk up the pecs like the lads in the gym who do their upper body but never their legs and they walk around with skinny pins and their big arms out by their sides like they’re carrying an invisible sheep under each one.”

And so on. Gazidis says they’re ready to get down to business:

The hard work starts right now. We are right into the transfer window of course, but we’re also into many other things such as how we’re going to integrate his team, how we think about pre-season planning, how the teams are going to work together.

There’s a lot of work to be done now to integrate this new team into our existing team. I know that we can do that successfully but it’s going to take hard work through the summer.

There’s been obviously a lot of question marks as we’ve gone through this period of transition over recent weeks but now it’s really time to look forward as a football club.

The interesting thing about the Unai Emery appointment is that he is not going to be solely accountable for what happens. Don’t be under any illusions that he’d be first out the door if things didn’t go well, but it goes beyond him or any head coach. It’s been made very clear that this is a new system, a new structure and a new way of doing things.

Going from an era where one man was accountable for everything to one where many are is definitely going to provide us with a different outlook on things. Gazidis has put himself front and centre of it all, and whether you think he’s enjoying the limelight or embracing the responsibility is a matter of personal opinion [I’m somewhere in the middle], but there’s no denying he’s made changes to the very traditional model of management, and I sincerely hope they work well for the club.

We have a Director of Football in Sanllehi whose job is not that of ‘somebody who stands on the road and directs players right and left’. We know what he’s supposed to do. Get deals done – there’s clearly more to it, but as we’re heading into the transfer window, that’ll be his immediate priority with all the other executive expectations somewhat secondary in the short term.

Then there’s Sven Mislintat, our head of recruitment. Scout the players, target the players, identify the players, then work with Raul and Gazidis to bring them into the club to work with Unai Emery. The Spaniard must have some input into the players we bring in, removing him completely from that process makes absolutely no sense, but which deals get done and when they get done is nothing to do with him.

On paper it’s clear where the lines are and who is responsible for what. It won’t be that simple in real life when things start to happen, human nature ensures that, but at least there’s relative clarity right now. How they all work together is something we don’t know, time will tell, but as a team I hope they’re far more the Invincibles than anything else.

Right, I’ve struggled through this far and I can’t go any further. I’m seeing double (that’s partly because I’ve lost my glasses), my brain feels like it’s about the pulsate out through the top of my head, and I need more medicine.

For some extra reading, here’s Tim Stillman on Aaron Ramsey, and Tim from 7amkickoff on Unai Emery’s management stats.

Have a great day, and will I be back tomorrow?


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