What next for Arsenal and Emery? by Beaveraldinho
There we have it. Out with the old and in with the new as they say. Loyal servants to the club Wenger, Cazorla and Mertesacker are out. Young Unai Emery is in. What should we expect and hope for in the coming window and season? Here is my take… feel free to lambast me in the comments section below!
Unai Emery has started off his Arsenal career in a very positive way. In his first conference, he braved a language that he has yet to master. This was not only a brave move but also a very clever one. He nipped in the bud the criticism that was already coming from our fan base over the matter. Many of our fears were laid to rest in a very reassuring interview. We will continue with the values that make many of us proud to represent this club. Arsenal won’t become a ‘park the bus’ team like United did. We won’t be giving up on unearthing the next young star. We won’t be culling the entire squad overnight. Class is important to Arsenal Football Club, Gazidis and Emery’s interview reeked of it.
Other than the values we didn’t want to lose, there were many values that fans thought were needed. I believe that Emery has brought a great blend of these things. In defense, we will now be a cohesive pressing unit. This will make teams think twice about pushing up the pitch, afraid of losing the ball in their own half to an Aubameyang inspired counterattack. Players will be shown huge amounts of data and statistics on their opposition and themselves. This will be something new to many of them. We can hope to see improvements to our highly alarming error count from last season. Our defence in general will need to improve quickly if we are to achieve the lofty targets of our new Manager.
Emery made sure not to give any time constraints on his goals for the club. His target was trophies and glory. Privately he will have the same targets that we had this season, a top four finish and a cup. Believe me, this would be a fine achievement. We all know what happened at United and with the comments from some of the players in the media recently, you can see that they are still coming to terms with the loss of the man who brought them all to the Emirates. Lets hope that all of the players get on board with Emery’s vision as soon as possible. I think the group of players that Emery has received is not the type to strut their egos like at PSG. This will put them in good stead to improve individually and collectively. I for one can’t wait to see the results over the coming seasons!
This window we can expect to see some new faces in the playing staff. The ‘in the knows’ will have you believe that we have a £50m budget to spend. If Unai’s quick and shocking appointment didn’t give you a clue, ‘in the knows’ often know very little. When asked about our transfer budget by the media, Gazidis gave a very curt and distinct reply. “We don’t discuss our budgets publicly but we are a public company. If any of you want to have a look at our accounts, they are out there and it’s not that difficult to see.
“We run ourselves on a very clear and transparent model, which is self-sustaining. That’s the way we will continue to run ourselves. Anyone who wants to look at that should look at our accounts.”
Gazidis also said: “All the money has always been available… and all the resources of the club will be available for Unai to develop the team.”
So like it or not, we aren’t going to compete financially with City, or with United for that matter. Next season they will probably have laid out another £200m+ in transfer fees alone. Yes, that means they will be the favourites for the title. Yes, that is the harsh reality. Does that mean we should give up? Stop supporting our club because the owner doesn’t dump an entire country’s GDP into his plaything? Well that’s up to you my friends…
In terms of budget, we have about £140m in reserves for transfers. Blowing it all wouldn’t be the smartest of ideas but the money is there in case of cash strapped clubs selling players on the cheap for the full fee upfront. Otherwise, many fees are paid out over the length of several years. Take Aubameyang for instance, according to reports we paid £56m for him. Yet we might pay that fee in installments over several years. This means that essentially, a small budget of say… £50m could be used to purchase several players whose value between them far exceeds £50m. So from my limited understanding, I think that in transfer fees alone, we are not going to be held back this summer. Don’t go expecting us to sign Griezmann obviously, but the Seri’s of this world are financially within our reach without sacrificing that Centre-back we so desperately need.
The most exciting thing in terms of transfer budget for Arsenal is the freeing up of wages. Each year a Premier League club is only able to expand its wage bill by no more than £7m. This is the main obstacle that has been holding Arsenal back in recent windows. Luckily we did some good incoming and outgoings in 17/18 including outgoings of; Debuchy, Sanchez, Gibbs, Gabriel, Szczesny, Coquelin, Giroud, Walcott and Chamberlain. These wages equaled out the incomings of Kolasinac, Mkhitarian, Lacazette and Aubameyang, as well as a wage increases to Ozil etc. A culling in numbers was definitely replaced by some much-needed first team quality.
Something that needs to be noted is that players must leave first, so that new players can take those wages. Seri’s agent has recently just reinforced this: “Unfortunately, Arsenal aren’t the quickest when it comes to the transfer market,” he said. “It’s true that I met [Wenger], we spoke about it, he said it could interest him.
“He would have liked there to be more departures in his midfield, because he was aware of the balance of his budget.
This season is different in more ways than just a new manager. We are starting off with a lot more wages being free. First we have the £7m we are allowed to increase our wage structure by (Last year that went towards Lacazette and Kolasinac who we signed early). Then we have £8.3m per year in wages freed thanks to Cazorla and Mertesacker. We also have Jack Wilshere’s contract running out in a month, which would be another £4.7m per year to play around with. Put into weekly sums this would free up over £380,000 per week or over £290,000 per week if Wilshere signs on a similar contract. So if those numbers are anything to go by, I predict that Arsenal will see one or two signings before the world cup. This will be followed by any outgoings, which will fund more incomings, if there are any.
Don’t be shocked if there aren’t wholesale changes. Signs coming from the club are that all players are being given a chance by Emery. Cech has received the number 1, which points to him staying. He is on £100k per week while Ospina is on £40k per week so if he is staying, I don’t see us getting a new keeper on similar wages to Cech. Even Perez looks like he’ll be given a chance. After a tough start to the season he was second only to Messi in chances created last season in La Liga. Who knows how he might go under the new regime?
In terms of an off-season, Arsenal only has 7 players going to the world cup, just two of those being starters (Ozil and Monreal). This means we should have an advantage over the other top teams at the start of next season. Also plenty of time for Emery to decide what he likes and doesn’t from our current squad. I’m sure the players will be just as excited as we are and will put their best foot forward. Expect an interesting preseason with plenty of things tested out by the manager. According to people who watched him at Valencia and then Sevilla, he prefers a 4 2 3 1 formation. Something we’ve seen here at the Emirates once or twice before!
So in summary, expect a similar formation, with more pressing from a team of fresh players trying to impress their new manager. Expect to see replacements for Cazorla and Mertesacker but a replacement for Cech to be a possibility rather than a probability. Soak in the excitement, soak in the good vibes. We have been through some dark times of late. Change has now come. Let us be proud of our club and what it represents, as opposed to wishing it were something it is not. Let us ponder over which new faces Mislintat, Sanllehi and Emery will be bringing to our club. The possibilities… Oh the possibilities… Oh to be a Gooner..!