Is Arsenal’s cultural change under Arteta a truth or a Myth – By Ibrahim
What is culture change? According to Kellie Wong, a senior Content Marketing Manager at Achievers, Organizational culture is the collection of values, expectations, and practices that guide and inform the actions of all team members. Think of it as the collection of traits that make your company what it is. A great culture exemplifies positive traits that lead to improved performance, while a dysfunctional company culture brings out qualities that can hinder even the most successful organizations.
Don’t confuse culture with organizational goals or a mission statement, although both can help define it. Culture is created through consistent and authentic behaviors, not press releases or policy documents. You can watch company culture in action when you see how a CEO responds to a crisis, how a team adapts to new customer demands, or how a manager corrects an employee who makes a mistake.
I have seen on multiple JA’s articles and comments mentioning the culture change at Arsenal since Mikel Arteta took over, and it got me thinking if there is some truth to it or just a myth.
First, I would like to say that for most part culture change is very difficult to measure as in most of the organization the changes are internal and are only known by people with access to the inner workings of the organization. Since I have no inner working at Arsenal my opinion is solely based on the information already in the public domain
The most area mentioned in respect to the cultural change is our transfers, player relations, and our performance, and I want to focus my opinion on these areas.
Transfers – We have been told that our transfer method and handling have improved since Gazidis and Wenger’s era. I am still trying to figure out in what ways that our transfers have improved. We are still dithering and going after the players that have explicitly expressed no interest in coming to Arsenal. Yes, MA and Edu have changed their targets mostly by bringing in more Kids with potential and trying to unearth the unknowns, but how is that different from Wenger’s approach from 2005-2014? So now old is new? Recycling the same tested and unsuccessful tricks again. Are they going to allow the same thing that happened to Wenger’s too? You know where they will raise the boys into men until that time comes when the player’s “little boy” inside them wants to bolt out for a title winning team.
On the money side, we are now overpaying in incoming transfers while giving away our players for free or pocket change. At least, we used to sell for profit during Wenger’s time. The likes of Fabregas, Nasri, Adebayor and RVP were sold for a hefty fee (more than we paid for them) even when the club had no leverage, because it is well known the players forced the transfer.
Player relations – One of the biggest cultural changes mentioned around a lot and MA is applauded for is that he got rid of the players from the previous regime because they were troubled, lazy, over pampered, and overpaid. This is well and good only if players acquired by Arteta are any different from the ones he got rid of. Under MA big contracts were handed to the likes of Eddie, Willian, Partey and Auba; and above all some players were always in the lineup, even if it was pretty obvious that they were underperforming and at least could take a breather for a change.
Every manager at the highest level of football will always have to deal with difficult players. Players are humans and have varying range of difficulties. From wild characters like Ballotelli’s or Joe Buttons of the world to just normal in-game indiscipline. You think the likes of Zlatan, Rooney, RVP, Anelka, Keane, and Vieira were easy to manage? Great managers will always find a way to differentiate the toxicity from the cockiness. MA could be right by getting rid of them, but he must know that this is not the only solution.
Performance – Now with the change in culture, one would hope that it brings positive changes to the performance in the field. MA finished 8th twice in a row and the 5th when he had three chances to finish 4th. He won the FA and Community cup with the players from the previous manager. So, the previous culture helped him achieve the little achievement he has under his belt so far.
Can someone tell us what our style is? Our play is very rigid and very dull to say the least. We are not a pressing team, not a counter attacking team, not a passing team, and definitely not a defensive team. I doubt this team can beat the worst Wenger team or Emery’s team, but I digress.
So, the verdict is that I do not see any meaningful cultural shift at all.
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