Why dropping Aubameyamg cannot have been decided by Arteta alone

Arteta was not alone in deciding to drop Auba by AndersS

Can more be discussed about Auba, or has all been said and all opinions are now too rooted to be challenged?

I don’t know, but I will try to explain some views from an angle which I feel have been somewhat overlooked.

In other threads some have rightly pointed out, we as fans don’t know exactly what has happened. But we can try to piece it together.

First of all, I think we can take it for granted, that Auba was given a special permission to skip training and travel for private family reasons. We can also take it for granted, he returned late, and not just by some 15 min. caused by a delay in traffic or some other minor margin and excusable cause.

It seems to me, there is a general agreement of events, at least so far.

However, there is major disagreements about the wisdom in the actions taken by Arteta and the club following the incident.

Auba was the captain of the team, the highest paid player, arguably the biggest name in the squad and also a marquee player in the eyes of sponsors, fans etc. You can add that Auba was also at the time a tangible asset with a value of some millions pounds. Exactly how many is somewhat irrelevant, as long as we recognize, we are talking about enough money to surely be a significant part of the overall value of the squad, and thus the value of the club.

The very moment, he returned late, and Arteta saw it as a disciplinary issue, Arteta would have known, he had a real problem on his hands.

As anyone with just a minor insight into managing other people will know, if you let significant breaches of discipline or broken agreements go on without some kind of reaction, you not only invite that person to continuously break discipline, you are also in serious danger of losing the respect from the rest of the group. More often than not, it will lead to a total undermining of your position, and eventually your job is in real danger. Arteta knows all this. He of course also knows that the reaction he is forced to take, cannot be disproportionate to the infringement.

If he had dropped Auba and stripped him from his captaincy for being 15 min. late, or being late with an excusable cause, it would be way out of proportion. Not only would that be a clear problem in relation to the player, but it would also lead to loss of respect and authority from the rest of the squad. I am confident that Arteta knows all this, and as he did drop Auba completely and stripped him of the captaincy, it is my conviction that Arteta saw this reaction to be appropriate.

I think it is significant that no other player has expressed any concerns about their captain and leader being treated unfairly. I of course understand, they would hesitate to do it publicly, but it would be easy to drop a remark to a journalist or letting your agent do it, if you thought there was a big problem with the manager. Also, it could be expected so see frustration and lack of player engagement in the games after. From what I have seen, the rest of the team performed very well in the games immediately following. In January, it has not been good. So basically, after Auba was dropped, we have seen the team perform just like in the rest of Arteta’s reign. A mixed bag from excellent to ugly, and certainly nothing to suggest, there is a player revolt brewing or something like that.

If Arteta in his team selection decides to play Tierney over Tavares, or the other way round, he will know he needs to explain it to the players, and he might be asked about it by the press. No big deal, and no closer scrutiny can be expected. But he will know, dropping Auba completely and stripping him of his captaincy, is a much bigger decision, and with much bigger implications. Possibly the biggest single decision in Arteta’s managerial career that far.

It affects the whole team, the media will scrutinize it in detail, fans will be in uproar, sponsors will ask questions and Arteta could certainly expect his superiors, and possibly the owner, to demand information and a thorough explanation. I would say a manager, before he makes such a big decision, must discuss it with others. It could be his assistant and maybe his superiors. Maybe even one or two trusted senior players will have been heard. But certainly, he would be expected to at least inform his superiors upfront, what he has decided to do, as the decision has implications for the whole organization. In my opinion, this is all basic for any big business or big sports organization, and I assume, it also happened here. If Arteta, didn’t inform the rest of the organization about the situation beforehand, I have no doubt he would have been called in to explain it after.

As mentioned, given the magnitude of the decision, Arteta’s superiors and probably the owner will have been involved. There is no way the management of a professional organization would blindly follow a manager’s decision or recommendation in a situation like this. The days where a manager at Arsenal could expect that, are over.

Arteta’s superiors would have been forced into checking up on Arteta’s explanation of events, possibly gather more information on their own. I would expect Arsenal to show “due diligence”, if you like, by having the management do most, if not all, of the following:

– Talk informally to staff around the team to get any information and get a feel for the staff and players take on things
– Talk informally to maybe one or two trusted senior players to get their take on things
– Initiate contact to Auba to see if they could get information from him
– Maybe address the whole squad at an after-training meeting, to inform players of the management’s stance, and more importantly, allow players to ask questions and voice any concerns
– Make themselves visible and available for any player wanting to have a chat

All of it, not to question Arteta’s actions, but a necessity to make sure they have the whole picture. I expect Arsenal to be a professional organization, which have done the above.

This also leads to the conclusion, while the decision to drop Auba and strip him of the captaincy probably was initiated by Arteta, it has for sure been carefully considered by many more. The whole management stands behind this decision, including the owner. They also stand behind the decision to offload Auba in a manner, which has been very expensive. Not a decision taken lightly, I am sure, but a decision in which several qualified people have had their say. Let’s keep this in mind, when we discuss motives and reasoning.

Does this mean, we can be happy as fans? Not necessarily in my opinion. There is no doubt, we would have been better off with the dream scenario of Auba in top form leading the line in our final 17 games. Only that was never going to happen, was it? He has been in poor form for a long time, and as such it doesn’t seem to be a huge loss. But we are short in choices for CF position, no doubt.

Am I happy with Arteta? Not really. I think our results in his 2 years+ have been short of my expectations for Arsenal. At the moment it looks to me, we can finish anything from 3rd to seventh this season. If we finish in the lower end of that spectrum, I will have no complaints if he is let go. But I also think, we have a real chance of finishing in top 4 with possibly the youngest team in the league. That would not only be a very good achievement, but also be a great foundation for our future.


kind regards


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  1. Aubameyang being let go is a result of several issues going back years and in the end was a quite logical decision.
    But first some context.
    Wenger should have been let go much earlier and left a vast slew of overpaid under performers.
    Emery was a genius in his first season.
    The club greedily demanded top 4 and sacked Emery as soon as the team slipped to 8th place.
    Arteta was appointed even though he had no Managerial experience what so ever.
    Arteta the club and the league have faced the unprecedented Covid pandemic for three seasons. Despite two terrible 8th place finishes Kroenke gave Arteta another chance and 150 mill to embark on the new process. Young disciplined hard working loyal profile players was the key. Aubameyang along with other “non profile” players therfore became prime candidates for the chop. A horror 0-3 start threw Arteta into a total survival panic mode. Leno Cedric Chambers Holding Mari Tavarez Elneny Lokonga Niles Pepe Martinelli Nketiah Balogun were all consigned to the scrap heap although Tavares Lokonga Martinelli through injury were returned to favour. Arteta became absolute dictator no misdemenours no matter how small were to be tolerated and absolute committment demanded. The warning was clear for all to see. The team went on a long successful run. Aubameyang kept starting despite failing to score for ten games. Then a horror January run coincided with the Jan transfer window which Arteta conveniently used to get rid of a now aging over paid “non profile” player who to be fair had been in cruise mode since his new contract. Kolasinac and Chambers were also let go Mari and Niles put in the shop window. All the other “non profile” players Lacazette Nketia Torreira Guendouzie Mavropanos Cedric Leno Niles and Elneny are all leaving in the summer. So over all Aubameyang being let go is completely in line with the new process. Quite logical really.

    1. Didn’t Arteta get flak for leaving it too long to drop Auba? I thought he d be wanting him playing this season as our options were limited even if the goal return was on the meagre side.

      January is not exactly the best time to do important business in the transfer market and my hunch is that the fall out between the two men after the late return was the final straw in a long list. Arteta probably is a bit of a tartar, but he is charged with running a squad capable of challenging and if his captain who he would have recommended for a further contract, then decides not/is unable/ to produce the goods then crunch time beckons.

      So I don’t think the board would blindly let Arteta offload Aubameyang without serious consultation from them. It’s not about a little boy going on the naughty step, but the captain riding roughshod over his employer and disrespecting his team mates

      The only thing that really irks me is that we have had to take a big loss to get shot of him and PEA rides off into the sunset to a new club all smiles

  2. What total joy to read a rare , almost uniquely brilliant article of this sheer quality of REAL and BALANCED thinking! Huge applause for this wonderful piece from Anders. Almost certainly the single best article I have ever read on JA in my many years here.

    May I plead with the magnificent Anders to give us all far more of his special brain by writing more often, PLEASE!

    Now to my close analysis of his piece; it is clear that Anders has experience, I believe, of running a company, possibly/ probably a big one. His thinking reeks of someone who knows far more about how big business works than almost anyone else does among the regulars on here.

    In a business the size of Arsenal and other huge clubs, no manager nowadays can or should ever again expect to have the power that such as Wenger and Fergie once did.

    Personally , though I have huge admiration and even affection for the PERSON AW is and was, I hugely regret him having such undiluted power for so long as he did.

    With hindsight, that was a massive mistake , made worse by having an absent and “know nothing about the squad and team” type owner, living on a different and remote continent.

    Our REAL tragedy, FULLY realised by fewer and fewer of us, the further in time we progress, was the calamitous sacking of the wonderful David Dein, whose loss from Wengers close side on a daily basis was PRECISELY when our drift from the glory decade began.

    Along of course with Kroenke taking a controlling interest . Both happened in 2007, that dismal year for our club. Some have said that we should not have moved home ; indeed DD wanted us to be a long term tenant(as West Ham are)but at Wembley.
    That was, even with hindsight, a mistake IMO. We DID have to move ground though and that was obvious but we have been financially hamstrung for years after doing so. In AW’s defence, that lack of funds available on transfers was a problem that he handled rather well at times, but poorly OVERALL.

    What let AW down was not, mostly, just lack of money- though of course it was a factor – but very poor choices of players bought and not moving poor or always injured players out.
    Had he back than still had DD present daily to whisper in his ear I AM CONVINCED AW would have never brought in all those duff CB’s and defenders including the woeful Almunai, Santos, Mustafi, the wrestler, etc, nor kept for years all those perennially injured crocks( that he collected, just as others collect football programmes!!) that we wasted so much time and useless effort in trying to get fit.

    I much appreciated the balance in Anders’ piece and his comments on MA were in context, neither all for nor all against. Only a blinkered total fool would attempt to deny that MA has and still is making mistakes, born out of lack of experience when he took over. He is still learning, that is clear.
    BUT he has completely changed the cancerous dressing room culture that destroyed the otherwise shrewd Emery- who was so hampered by his communication difficulties – a factor that a shrewd owner and one who was there and present at all interviews would be expected to have seen in advance.

    He has assembled a leaner- possibly TOO lean squad – that has an absence of coasters, trouble makers and ill disciplined players; XHAKA being the single exception which most of us, including me, completely fail to understand!

    But Kroenke was only half there, so to speak,when Emery came on board and could not see what a DD would have immediately sussed out; that a man so disadvantaged by language, would be cruelly pillaried and hampered while doing his job, by those whose daily diet is constant criticism, albeit without a proper brain to feed!

    In short, DD, was a British man of theworld, well attuned to British football fan and player culture and able to sidestep problems before they occurred.

    Had he, back then, still had DD around daily to whisper in his ear, I do not believe AW would have ever let all those poor CBs and defenders and perennial crocks (that he collected as others collect progammes) ever stay or even come at all.
    Finally Anders, may I respectfully ask you to consider writing a piece on HOW MUCH our club has suffered since 2007, when losing DD and having SK imposed on us!

    1. A nice piece of writing John.

      The Forbes has a very informative article about Arsenal focusing on the years between 2006 and 2016. “Tracking The Impact Of Arsenal’s Move To Emirates Stadium Ten Years On: Was It Worth It?” Recommended reading for all Arsenal supporters. Explains very well how difficult times it was for Arsenal during that decade. We kept us floating on players sales and property profit.

      My respect for AW has always been there, but this article explains much more. Hat off to our greatest manager of modern times.

    2. @Jon Fox
      Thank you for your kind words.
      There is no doubt in my mind, nor in yours, as I gather, that a big part of actually running a succesful club/team, is having the right people in the organization.
      Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about David Dein to write something qualified, but logic tells me, he must have been a very important contributor to our success in the same period.

      1. You deserve every word Anders S, I love articles / opinions going deeper, seen from different perspectives.

        From my point of view Arteta has a hell of a job we have so many problems and obstacles 😢

        No doubt that DD was a key factor to our success during Wenger’s first decade.

  3. Arsenal isn’t a one man show and decisions involving big money investments, or departments aren’t done by Arteta alone. I’m getting tired for our negative culture, it’s about time to sort out the mess.

  4. Excellent article Anders and your points regarding the MA /Aubemeyang situation are spot on.

    However, as was seen with AW and UE, the buck stops with the manager and, as in previous years, that is where the fans / supporters always look to in order to voice their views and feelings… rightly or wrongly.

    AW was accused of not standing up for the fans regarding kronkie, but the scenario you put forward, if one accepts it, had to be in place for both him and, to a much lesser extent, UE.

    The one area that you touch on, but haven’t explored, is why the club (at whatever level) let such an important asset leave for nothing, still pay his salary ( in part and we don’t know how much of course) and with a golden handshake?

    Every manager has to make hard decisions and they stand or fall by them – so if we finish the season with CL football, which I sincerely hope we do, then his decision will prove to be correct.
    That’s what AW achieved for all but two of his seasons in charge, even without the great David Dein by his side.

    I echo the thoughts about this article – great piece of work.

    1. Agree ken, too much trying to absolve the unabsolvable. The buck stops with Arteta, he made the decision to do what he did, how he did.

      1. The Arsenal isn’t a one man show! His not making such decisions on his own. You need obviously to update yourself on our hierarchy.

        1. Didrik, the “hierarchy” will not have say in managerial decisions like letting players go. They dont know a thing about football and would be foolish to try and get involved, plus Arteta is not half the man if he allowed it. Chairman, boards and executive do NOT pick the team, or make team decisions. If they do then we are in deep do do and Arteta is just a puppet, which would never be the case. Auba was Artetas call, it was a managers call.

          1. You believe he can what ever he want with Kroenke’s money. I’m a manager and business owner it’s not working like that Reggie, not even in England. It’s a mutual agreement between several decision makers.

              1. Sorry, this 2022 and it’s not working that way anymore. The decision is too controversial and Arteta isn’t that stupid.

              2. Didrik, I managed many teams during my working life.
                If I felt that a member was not pulling their weight, I would recommend a solution to my superiors.
                They listened, asked questions, discussed and then, basically said, on your head be it – you survive or not by your decisions.

                That’s what being a manager means…. you manage, as Reggie has explained

                1. Done on mutual consent, we are talking about an asset and legal obligations. This is 2022 and Arsenal is big business with marketing responsibility etc.

              3. @Reggie
                So it was wenger that made the decisions to get rid of Vieira, Rvp, Cesc, Nasri, Sanchez etc?
                So wenger refused to strengthen his teams since 2005?

                All these decisions were made by him as he was the manager.

                1. Goonster, i will tell you a true story. Alex Fergusson rang Wenger about Robin Van Persie (not an executive, board member or owner) and persuaded him that the best thing he could do was sell him RVP and the rest is history. Wenger made that decision and he thought Patrick Vierra was getting nigling injuries and after consultation with his medical team, made the decision on his own to sell Patrick.

                  1. We have a total different management setup today, and these methods belongs more or less to the past.

                    In addition, the deal involving RVP was a £24 million transaction made on mutual consent after RVP asked Wenger to sell him.

                    Auba was bought in January 2018 for £56 million and resigned in September 2020. The situation is quite different offloading him to Barcelona as a free agent is a financial loss.

                    I’m supporting the decision, but I don’t like our business methods 😉

                2. Of course it was Goonster, you’ve been saying that and rattling his cage for doing it.

                  Of course, some of the names you mention left him no choice (Nasri Fabregas, RVP Sanchez) but he never gave any single player away did he?

                  Of course he didn’t strengthen the team, it was pure genius on his part that he kept the ever weakening team in the top four for over another decade.

                  1. Not so strange, we didn’t have much profit on our core business football between 2006 and 2013. We kept us floating more or less by player sales and property profits (Highbury) for almost a decade.

                    I can recommend the following article by The Forbes:
                    Tracking The Impact Of Arsenal’s Move To Emirates Stadium Ten Years On: Was It Worth It?

            1. @didrik plehn
              Seems to me, many understands the enormity of the decision, which of course is also why it is getting so much attention and debate.
              But they fail to draw the logic conclusion, that it is so big, it involves more than Arteta.

    2. @Ken
      My point in relation to, why the club let Auba leave for free, is indirectly there.
      There is no way, Arteta alone could make the decison to letting him go for free and oblige the club to pay part of his salary going forward.
      That would be a decision taken by his superiors, possibly including the owner. As that is the case, it can only be assumed, they are in agreement, that whatever Auba exactly has done, it was the best solution given the circumstances.
      In other words, Arteta, his superiors (after looking into it) and possibly the owner, have taken this decision after due consideration an in agreement, and it shows that Auba has really misbehaved.

  5. Of course it was Arteta’s decision, if not his role as Manager would be undermined and he would leave!

        1. A wonderful decision made in mutual consent. Probably one of the main reasons why Arteta traveled to USA in January to meet Mr. Kroenke…

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