I don’t believe in conspiracys but was the Arteta link just a ploy?

Did the Arsenal Board ingeniously manipulate us to accept Unai Emery’s appointment? By Nick Bugeja

It has just been announced that Spaniard Unai Emery will take over the reins at Arsenal. On aggregate, it’s an appointment that hasn’t received too much disapproval and disappointment from fans. I’m quite happy with it – Emery has won multiple trophies with Paris Saint Germain and Sevilla, demonstrated the ability to negotiate and manage player’s egos and he has brought through young talent in his squads.

Having said that, his appointment came as quite a shock. His name was rarely mentioned in connection with Arsenal’s vacant managerial position, and fans weren’t demanding him to be appointed.

Immediately after Arsène Wenger announced his departure, it was Luis Enrique, Max Allegri, Joachim Löw and Carlo Ancelotti that were on many supporters wish lists. And they were the ones being linked with the job.

As time went on, news of these candidates rejecting or being unsuitable for Arsenal came through regularly. Enrique’s salary demands were too steep, Löw wanted to remain as manager of the German national side, and Allegri was allegedly unprepared to leave Juventus. This ruled these managers out, leaving the club with a shorter – and less impressive – list of possible candidates.

Somewhere within this time frame – likely just after many of these candidates were deemed unavailable or inappropriate for the position – the Arteta links began to grow stronger and stronger. Most of us even thought it was a foregone conclusion that he would be the manager next season. But the question must be asked: were the Arteta links and talks genuine, or conducted for some other purpose?

Many fans have conjectured that the Arteta links were made public to gauge fan reaction. That is, their aim was to find out whether Arteta was a popular option for the job. If fans expressed support for him, he would be appointed. If they didn’t, he would be rejected. This tactic could’ve well been used by the Arsenal board, but there’s also another plausible reason why his name was so pervasively connected with the job.

The Arteta links could’ve been done to lower fans expectations, to make us content with any other option than Arteta himself. Surely the club knew before his links to the position that he wouldn’t be popular: he was an average player at the club, and has no senior managerial experience. It’s just common sense that he wouldn’t be a good appointment. If this is the case, as I suspect it is, there would’ve been no reason for the club to promote him as the likely candidate.

As the fans became resigned to the fact that Arteta would be following in Wenger’s shoes, Emery made a late dash to secure the job. It is in this specific context that many fans have now begun to embrace Emery; not just because of his record, but also because he isn’t Arteta. The club perhaps used Arteta to quell fan dissatisfaction with whomever was to take over as manager, to make the actual managerial appointment seem much better and more promising than Arteta. After having early and sustained success with Wenger, our expectations were admittedly high, and it was no doubt in the interest of the Arsenal Board to lower them in whatever possible way, to take the pressure and scrutiny off Ivan Gazidis, Stan Kroenke and the like.

I’m not one for conspiracy theory, but this is a distinct possibility. At any rate, we should all wait and see how Emery performs in the position before demanding his removal. There’s a decent chance he can – and will – bring success to Arsenal FC.



  1. John Ibrahim says:

    emery will win the Europa this time and we will qualify for the champ league again

    1. Maks says:

      Do you know anything else to write about?

      1. Neil says:

        Who cares… Emery is manager so let’s focus on positives not discussing ifs and buts !

    2. TC says:

      ‘I don’t believe in conspiracies?’
      So you think the world is all clean and dandy?
      It’s time you woke up…

    3. Tdg1944 says:

      I am împressed that you believe Gazidis et al are that skilful and capable!

  2. ThirdManJW says:

    It’s funny, because I thought of this myself, but maybe the 3 man committee were just doing their due diligence. Like many others, I wanted a big name like Allegri, Simeone, Ancelotti, etc, but looking at the situation with Arsenal, Emery was probably the best we could get. We don’t spend big, we haven’t won a league title in 14 years, and barely challenged in that time, we haven’t done anything of note in Europe for 9 years, and this will be our second season in a row of no CL football. Did we EVER have a chance of getting a big name in?

    I am so delighted with Emery though. I saw stat that no one has won more trophies than him in the last 4/5 years. He’s a winner, and has improved every team, bar his short stint in Russia. I cannot wait for next season!

    1. chris says:

      What conspiracies ? Anyone who has recruited knows …. you form a short list and carry out interviews and make a decision. If the media want to circulate this or that story – without really knowing – then that is their problem.

    2. Ozziegunner says:

      ??Exactly Ivan, Sven and Raul have shown due diligence and the media and pundits have their noses out of joint because their guess didn’t come true.
      I am very pleased with this selection. Emery has stated that he as head coach is going to try and get the best out of the players Arsenal have. Indications from Gazidis are that he will be supported by Sven, Raul and himself; players will either have to commit to this project or be banished to the reserve bench and sold.

  3. Ngutor Atov says:

    I just wish him well in his new appointment. Up gunners!!!

  4. Muff diver says:

    Arteta was offered the job…but when Ivan gave him the broom and the mop …he declined …
    This Lego hair won’t pay for itself .

    Imagine the banter tho . We have missed out big-time.
    Ivan bottled it like 500ml evian .

    I say if we’re not serious than fully banter era son.
    Squilaci and cygan backroom staff .
    Recruitment handled by compare the meerkat

    Emery looks serious though .
    Loves a video too .
    Not the kind perves on this site watch but still

  5. Declan says:

    Pointless article. Quite rediculous!

    1. Ken1945 says:

      Not so sure Declan.
      It was also reported that Arteta was the choice of Gazidis.
      Now as this man attempts to build his legacy within the club, he actually supported the man, but once again, was found out by the fans reaction.
      Arteta was the innocent man in all this and it does leave a nasty taste in the mouth.
      Not The Arsenal Way for sure.

      1. chris says:

        It was REPORTED ……. but incorrectly …. and it leaves no bad taste at all. You interview candidates and make a decision. If Arteta came 2nd or 3rd or whatever … that’s life. Too many over paid pundits and PR seekers sticking their oar in while not knowing what they are talking about.

        1. Ozziegunner says:


        2. Ken1945 says:

          It was reported by Gazidis himself and Pep also confirmed that Arteta had been approached and that he wouldn’t stand in his way.
          Now, the leaking of a candidate’s name is not and has not been the Arsenal way.
          You are assuming that the reporting was incorrect, so who did Arteta have a interview with?
          Off course you have a list of candidates to interview, anyone with an iota of such things knows that.
          What any blue chip company would never do is leak candidates names and you must surely acknowledge that Gazidis did just that.

        3. Declan says:

          It was also reported that Emery was first approached over 2 weeks ago. Anyway, whether any of these reports are true or not, I still believe it’s a pointless article, a bit like “ where will Wenger go next”.

          1. Ken1945 says:

            As long as someone asks a question, it’s good to give one’s thoughts don’t you think?
            Just hope your views regarding Arsene Wenger don’t come back to haunt you and the club!

          2. Declan says:

            Yes Ken I agree and respect this though I can’t see where I expressed any views regarding Arsène Wenger except in anecdotal reference as to where he manages next. Anyway, for the record I think he is a legend of a manager, the best we ever had but just outlived his time with us but of course I wish him well. The new man at the helm now deserves everyone’s support, but I just hope he is given time to get things back on track.

  6. Big Charley says:

    I felt the board thought of giving opportunities to people, and they really didn’t want to hire Arteta! Maybe Pep gave recommendations but am not sure they really really wanted to hire him. Or maybe they decided against it after interviewing Emery. Though Gazidis didn’t sound like Arteta had a chance.

  7. AlexLaca9 says:

    Totally off topic… but Ramsey for captain next season!! And slap him with a contract that keep him here for the next 5 years. Used to watch young Wilshere straddle across the midfield gracefully and dream of him one day wearing the armband and leading the boys, but the way Ramsey turned down Man U for Arsenal just tugged at my heart. He’s been a great servant to the club ever since, future legend.

    1. GunnerJack says:

      Personally I was hoping Ramsey would be one of the first sold so was a bit disappointed with Emery’s statement about building the team around him and Auba. Perhaps he would be ok if he was NOT given ANY defensive responsibilities as he plays like a Piccadilly tart when trying to defend, as if teetering around in high heels and anxious not to get his hair ruffled. Wenger’s golden boy . . . and that just about says it all.

      1. Ken1945 says:

        Gunner Jack,
        So his international appearances and vcup winning goals were only delivered because he was Wenger’s golden boy?
        Maybe Wenger and Emery know and see a little further than you can?
        Or are you already criticising our new manager’s ability to recognise class players?

        1. Kenny Rolfe says:

          Sorry Ken but I agree with Gunner Jack. Don’t like keep repeating myself but about 35 league goals in 10 years is nothing to shout about especially with the fact we get nothing from him in defence. Move him on.

          1. Ken1945 says:

            In welcoming the new manager, I listened to what he had to say regarding the squad.
            He has said that he can work with the players we currently have and sees Ramsey as a future captain.
            Now I don’t believe for one minute we will not have new signings, but his backing of Ramsey, which I personally agree with, does not auger well for your wish to move him on.
            The only way I can see him leaving is if contract talks break down. Over to you Huss!

          2. Declan says:

            Ken, I too listened to him and was impressed with his clarity of vision and apparently he had in depth knowledge of the squad and spoke highly of Auba, Ramsey and Ozil when interviewed.

          3. jon fox says:

            If I may add my own tuppence worth to the Ramsay debate, I believe Ramsey is a good though not great player and needs more discipline ON the field. Given that discipline I could see him moving from a good to a just short of great player and easily good enough for us. Wenger overindulged him – and certain others, big time- but that time is now behind us. I much hope and also believe he will now be used properly and think this debate will be settled very soon, with Ramsey being a firm fan favourite, with nearly all of us by next Christmas. No one ever gets 100 % approval, except maybe HENRY! I knew a fan who had come for many decades who thought Adams a poor captain! Shows you can never please everyone.

    2. Maks says:

      AlexLaca go and play FIFA with Najr….
      I dnt care that ramsey is a player of the year when we are 37 points behind ManCity and 14 behind 5pur2.
      If Unai makes Ramsey play wise and without so much mistakes and lost balls then great, let him play, but I am afraid that won’t happen!
      If Wenger is out then symbol of his fall, his golden boy has to go out, too,… why? It s not that I hate him, he is just not good enough… and Captain? Ha Ha Ha
      but maybe Unai is magician, will see.

      1. Ken1945 says:

        Same question to you genius.

      2. GunnerJack says:

        I agree Maks but happy to wait and see if the new man can make him into a proper player. In fact, although it’s very hard, I’m trying to give all our players a sort of ‘clean sheet’ in my mind and trying to wipe out their dreadful displays under Wenger. This even includes Iwobi! And no, I am not drunk! Not yet anyway:)

        P.S. It’s 2.30 pm where I now live and it’s meet up time in the bar for us (mostly retired) expats. Yesterday was having fun at a weekly pool match with the Man Utd supporters: Chelsea 1 -0! First time I’ve ever wanted Chelsea to win. Happy days!

        1. Maks says:

          Yeahhh I agree, happy Chelsea won but they have a bigger problem right now. Abramovic is under attack of so called Magnitsky act i. which Western allays decide to finally fight against Putin s oligarch.
          …and I agree lets give everybody a clean start under Emery but still I have my right to doubt some of them.

          1. GunnerJack says:

            Maks I have great doubts about half the freakin’ team 🙂 Just hope Unai can do something with them.

  8. Sean Williams says:

    If Unai Emery can bring the emotion and intensity back to Arsenal’s game then it will be great. The Emirates has been like a morgue for a few years. Personally I think Arteta was an unfortunate rumour that became a fire and spread. That has happened over many years with transfers. In the end I think Emery has a fire in his belly. Let’s hope both new and old players will get some fire in their belly for this new and exciting challenge. At last I feel some optimism for the coming season, instead of that ‘groundhog day’ feeling Wenger brought.

    1. Ozziegunner says:


  9. Maks says:

    His appointment is shock just for people who trust media too much, and Ian Wright! 😉

    1. chris says:


      1. Ken1945 says:

        Make and Chris,
        So you two alone were not shocked.
        Come off it lads, nobody else saw this coming BUT it is very good news indeed.

        1. Maks says:

          Hey man, for me shock would be if Lego was appointed!
          Alegri is too big to come to Arsenal right now, Ancelotti to boring, and Enrique to fancy. So only real oposition for Emery was Jardim, and not Viera or Henry (maybe in 5 years, maybe).

  10. Innit says:

    I don’t care. Im just pleased that we have a decent manager. I can’t see him doing as bad as Wenger or as bad as Moyes did at United. At the very least he should improve us to compete with the Top 5 teams.

    Also I can’t see him refusing to get a quality defensive midfielder.

    I will compliment Wenger for getting Lacazette, Kolsanic, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan. This means Emery wont need to start building from scratch

    1. John Wick says:

      I’m not sure Wenger got any of those players mate rumour has it.. that was Sven maybe not Lacazette but the other 3 but doesn’t matter now they’re Arsenal players ?

  11. Phil says:

    I am concerned as to why exactly there should be any criticism towards the selection of Emery.He is proven and that’s what was needed.I personally was not too upset with the Arteta rumours but Emery is a better fit all round.He is a COACH.We have some excellent players at this Club.If they are COACHED and DRILLED then the new Manager should get more from what still is a talented but unbalanced squad.Our away form last season was the undoing of Wenger.Only NINE points away against the 14 teams that finished below us in the Premiership was the sole reason we failed to get Top4 and Champions League qualification.Improve that and keep up what was a very good home record and we will challenge for the Top4 again.

    1. Phil says:

      Apologies-it was 15 points not nine.But still a pathetic record against the FOURTEEN teams that finished below us and only ONE from the Three teams that were relegated.

      1. Ozziegunner says:


  12. Godswill says:

    We should ask, when was Emery available?
    Aterta would have been hired if Emery was not available. His availability changed everything. But the Board must have had an eye on him and he himself was eying us due to his uncertain position at PSG immediately Wenger announced he would go.
    Well, am hearing that Chelsea are going for Napoli manager Sarri and yet some few people complaining about Emery? I will take him over and over again over Anceloti who is going to Napoli.

  13. John Wick says:

    I just believe Arteta being a frontrunner was absurd as it gets.. the guy only left and stop playing 2 years ago it just doesn’t make sense! I honestly don’t care less if his feelings were hurt by Arsenal supposedly doing a U-turn.. he obviously didn’t think of the Arsenal fans by joining a rival! The Arsenal board for once showed they can be ruthless, this is what we want to see! Personally I have nothing against Arteta he’s just an irrelevant individual who wasn’t a very good player so I’m not sure why people are upset he wasn’t chosen but neither was Patrick Vieira who’s an actual legend so let’s move on! Was either of them actually even seriously considered? maybe, maybe not.. who knows, who cares? We’ve got the right man I’m convinced of that! He’s got the right pedigree and yeah he has flaws but he’s only 46 he can iron them out over time! I’m excited, can’t wait until August! Welcome Unai ?

    1. Greg says:

      Completely agree. Arteta was unpopular among the players and wouldn’t yet have the experience and strength to change the culture as required.

      1. John Wick says:


  14. Break-on-through says:

    Loved that quote by Gazidas. Those who know, don’t speak, and those who speak, don’t know.

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      You’re absolutely right Break-on-through, a brilliant quote by Ivan. Hopefully you can send it to Alan Smith through Twitter or whatever. Educate the idiot.

      1. Ozziegunner says:


  15. Kenny Rolfe says:

    If you ask me Sky Sports had a lot to do with the Arteta Reports. You never once heard it from Arsenal. They’ve been giving us negative reports for 20 years and thought if they plugged it enough it would become reality. You can tell by Sky favourite Alan Smith’s report where he said” in the end Mikel Arteta decided to turn Arsenal down”. Can you believe it, turn Arsenal down? Is he sure, A novice, turning the 6th biggest club in the world down? What do you think Smudger, he’s waiting for the Real Madrid job? What a mug reporter working for the Sunday Sport of television.

  16. wenger says:

    Now the question is, will Emery be vocal with his transfer or silent like Wenger?

    1. chris says:

      Unless he is a fool he will stay silent …. until it is done.

      1. Ken1945 says:

        Absolutely, just as we always have under Wenger and Graham before him.
        That’s the Arsenal way!

  17. Hep Yo says:

    Gazidis said:

    8 candidates were interviewed.
    None of the 8 ever said “I am no longer interested”.
    The list was reduced to 3 finalists.
    The top choice – Emery – was unanimous.
    Emery was offered the job on FRIDAY.

    So, what Gazidis said contradicts EVERY MEDIA OUTLET in the UK.
    The 2nd and 5th statements seems to POINTEDLY contradict the media stories about Arteta. So, Gazidis is saying that the following media stories were NEVER TRUE:

    * Arteta being offered the job
    * Arteta declining the job because he could not control transfers
    * Arteta negotiating on Monday (since they had already chosen Emery 3 days before)
    * Various managers taking themselves out of the running by taking other jobs or agreeing to stay at their current job


  18. AshburtonGrove says:

    I think it’s a valid point, it makes sense after the fan backlash that was essentially the demise of Arsène Wenger. If we’d continued to turn up in droves Kroenke would have continued business as usual…

    They board obviously learned that they have to listen to us to a certain extent, so it’s engirely conceivable that they spun this Arteta/Emery announcement to quell our displeasure.

    Saying that, I’m not displeased – would have preferred Allegri, Sarri or Simeone but as long as it wasn’t Arteta – doh! Damn, it worked…!

  19. GunnerJack says:

    As I’ve said before if Ramsey can be relieved of all defensive duties he could be good. Until then I totally agree with one of the ‘enemy’, Gary Neville, who called Ramsey ‘spineless’ and ‘an absolute disgrace’ (along with Xhaka) for strolling back into defensive postions at Wembley. He’s also been pulled up before for a similar incident which unfortunately I can’t remember at the moment. Maybe our new coach can get a grip of him and give him a good shake!

    1. GunnerJack says:

      Don’t know how this ended up here – I actually clicked on ‘Reply’ to Ken1945!?

    2. Maks says:

      spinless, headless, lot’s of less’s for Ramseyless

  20. jon fox says:

    Some people, though never me, are keen to believe in conspiracy stories and jump at them as proof to believe what they want. Some still think that Prince Phillip had Diana killed in that Paris tunnel! Back in the 1960/70s some fools still thought Hitler was alive and living in hiding in Venezuela. To be fair to Gazidis, he never publicly announced that Arteta was a shoe in for the job. This was media led and social media jumped on it and suddenly it was a certainty. Except that it never was! Stupidly, I bought into it too , even though I know how business works and know that all thoughts are kept very close to their chests UNTIL the confirmed decision is released to all. Silent Stan we call him. Abramovitch never speaks in public either. Billionaires who make decisions do not tell the public anything, even when they ought to. They leave the talking to people like us fans, who are in fact in the dark about many things. We all knew that the team under Wenger was not motivated and was lazy. Because we could clearly SEE IT WEEK IN, WEEK OUT. But we know nothing about how the decision makers plan to run things in future, all we can do is speculate. So no; the appointment of Emery was chosen as has been explained . On this , unusually, I believe what Gazidis said about the interviewing process and Emery being a unanimous board decision.

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