Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Extending Arteta’s contract makes perfect sense in this managerial market

Morning all.

It’s pretty quiet as you’d expect. The dust has well and truly settled on the season, and it’s now all eyes on the summer. One thing to mention about the transfer business we all want the club to do is that it could be quite a complicated window. Ideally, you get your deals done early, but with the European Championships on this summer, and the Copa America on the other side of the Atlantic, that might not be easy.

Deals involving players who are involved in competitions like that tend to happen afterwards, unless they get done well in advance – and as yet, there’s no suggestion that Arsenal are that far down the road with any of their targets. Not that we know for sure who those targets are, but it’s something to bear in mind as people get a bit antsy about new arrivals. What we can be relatively assured of is that Mikel Arteta and Edu know exactly who they want, it’s just about getting those deals done.

Speaking of Arteta, it’s being reported that formal talks regarding a new deal for the manager are set to commence – and to be honest, I’d be very surprised if they weren’t a long way down to the road to a new contract already. At our live event last week, we had a question about how long Arteta might stay at Arsenal, and my sense is that he will feel like his work will not be done until he wins the silverware we all crave. The Premier League, first and foremost, but probably the Champions League too.

It might sound fanciful, but it’s obvious that ambition is tied directly to his high standards and non-negotiables. He has spoken more than once about how he wants Arsenal to be the best, and to become that, you have to aspire to win the biggest trophies. You can’t just say ‘Ah we’ve finished second and that was good’. As he said himself on the final day of last season:

Don’t be satisfied because we want much more than that, and we’re going to get it.

That was a plea to the fans, to urge them to continue their support for a team which came so close, but ultimately it’s him saying out loud how he feels. He can feel rightly proud of what his side did, winning more games than the Invincibles in their title winning season for example, but for Arteta that will only be a marker of progress, not a measure of satisfaction. He wants more, the club wants more, so it makes perfect sense to continue to project, if you want to call it that at this stage.

Some will say that the only true yardstick of managerial success is trophies, but it’s a fairly reductive argument. Yes, Arteta needs to deliver silverware as the next part of his evolution, but to try and downplay what we have done in the last few years because we don’t have a cup along the way makes no sense to me. Of course, I want him to build a squad that can compete on all four fronts, and enjoy cup finals along the way as we also compete for the league, and I’m sure he does too. However, this is a manager, a team, and a club clearly going in the right direction with smart people in charge of decision making on and off the pitch, and I’m confident we’ll get there.

The other thing to say about extending Arteta’s contract, is that the managerial marketplace at the moment is really quite volatile. Just look at how Bayern Munich struggled to find a replacement for Thomas Tuchel. This is one of the biggest clubs in Europe looking for someone to take on one of the biggest, most prestigious jobs in the game, and they had so many knock-backs they even tried to mend fences with Tuchel before appointing a manager who presided over his team’s relegation from the Premier League.

Maybe Vincent Kompany will do a good job there, who knows? But it tells you a lot about the options available that that’s where Bayern ended up. So, even if there some people out there who might advocate for a new manager at Arsenal, who do they suggest we bring in? What Arsenal have done since Arteta took over has become something of a blueprint for other clubs. They all want a young manager, with modern tactical ideas, who can make them competitive. We already have it, along with a kind of stability that it will take some others a fair amount of time to replicate. Baby, bathwater, etc etc.

I think we’ll see something about Arteta’s new deal fairly soon. That stability at the top might well be part of how we conduct our summer business. The ability to say to players, ‘The best players have extended, the manager has extended, come be part of this’, so I guess we just keep an eye on official channels, and just wait and see.

Right, that’s it for this morning. Have a great Thursday, back tomorrow with more and an Arsecast. Until then.

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