Where the **** is Gazidis? by Gooner100
Here we go again! A classic song, but not a feeling many of us Gooners want to keep repeating.
A pre season that started so well with Lacazette nailed and Kolasinac brought in under the radar. It looked like we were going in the right direction! Roll forward a few weeks, two games in, all is not looking so great. A week from the end of the transfer season and we’ve stalled, big time. Lemar and Mahrez, relative no-brainers for most, have become the usual press talk with really little likelihood of either happening. Mbappe was a fantasy. Others we perhaps ought to covet like Van Dijk look to be heading elsewhere.
The crisis with Sanchez is yet to play out. Will he go and leave us with fewer quality options, will he stay, who knows. Ox’s future is still to be resolved. Rumours abound about Mustafi.
Assuming you subscribe to the view that we expected more this season. Assuming you take a perspective that says Wenger got a hiding last season so why on earth wouldn’t he be going for it this season, rather than risk a repeat. Assuming you recognise the steps Man United and City have taken to rebuild their squads. Then the question is surely, simply, what the hell is Wenger playing at?
Well, my perspective is that the real culprits for this are the board. Again it’s Kroenke. Again it’s Gazidis. Kroenke is an investor that’s clear. Accept it. However Gazidis is not. He is there to steer the club. To escalate issues and ensure resolution. To intervene when it’s clearly needed. Not to accept another Groundhog Day. In two years Wenger will be gone, this is the year to rebuild to remove the risk of the next manager going backwards. To put us back amongst the elite and then build on it.
Wenger loves Arsenal. That’s clear. Debate it all you want but it’s not about the money, he’s got more than he’ll ever need. Equally Wenger wants to succeed. He’s done it all, but never the Champions League. He’s been overtaken by younger newer PL managers and his nemesis (Mourinho) is about to do it all over again. Never has there been a better time to spend big, take a chance, forget the economics and push on. Can Wenger still do it as our manager? I believe with the right squad there is no doubt.
However as I say we’ve stalled. The squad’s too big. The players that are there for the taking, are not being nailed. The negotiations are stalling. The action needed is not being taken. A crazy situation that I’m sure even the average guy in the street could have predicted.
Why? Well one explanation is it’s all Wenger’s fault. Too simple in my view. Whilst not completely wrong, it’s his big flaw, making decisions, throwing away potential, recognising the investment is never going to deliver a return. Wenger is a loyal man. He loves to see kids realise their potential. He thrives on making a Thierry. Making all those stars like Fabregas, Clichy, Van Persie, Sagna… too many to mention. He values hope over pragmatism. Loyalty over financial return. He sees the spec of gold in the rock face and hopes to uncover a rich vein and he continues to dig.
He simply cannot reconcile this dream of what could be, with the need to be ruthless and cut his luck. It’s the reason we have an overblown squad. Potential that’s never quite delivered on the dream Arsene had or the possibilities he saw. Not bad qualities, but ultimately not outright ruthless winning characteristics.
So that’s why I hold the board and in particular the smooth-talking but otherwise apathetic Gazidis to account. The club and the board should have steered this season’s activities. They should have made the tough decisions. Gazidis should have forced the transfers, in or out. The board should have been the bad guys that made it happen for us and Arsene. Gazidis should have ensured the funds were there through challenging discussions with Kroenke. Gazidis has failed to help Wenger by removing the personal and deeply held conflict he faces.
The board should have done what any responsible owner or advisor ought to do where they have a great leader but someone who has a flaw. They have failed to recognise the person, the character, the decisions that were needed to be made. The influence they should have exerted, irrespective of the difficult conversations that may have occurred at the Emirates, have seemingly been sadly lacking.
It’s not all over. I’m always an optimist where AFC are concerned. We’ve a week to go. The worst case is we’re two quality players better off. The team is not firing on all cylinders so ought to improve. But wherever this season goes, and hey it might be stellar (I’m no PL manager!) my view is the Board at AFC should give a lot of thought to their own performance so far this season and how they could have ensured the outlook was that much more certain.
If there was a league for the PL boards I think AFC would be mid table, at best. Oh for the days of an AFC board with character and decisive, fully invested personalities…like David Dein.
AFC board, you’ve got a week to get your act together and sort this mess….please take it!
by Rob (Gooner100)