I began 2018 with a resolution to get back to writing twice a week and here we are on the 9th January and I have failed already. Why? Because there is virtually nothing about my team and events surrounding Arsenal that have inspired me to write. Well of course that is not strictly true and let me re-phrase that – There is virtually nothing about my team and events surrounding Arsenal that have inspired me to write anything POSITIVE. There has been enough ranting and wailing after Sunday’s capitulation at the City Ground and I had no desire to add to it.
I do however feel we are at a watershed in January 2018. My overwhelming feeling is that whist enduring the short-term pain and swallowing many bitter pills, the sourest of which are the rise of Spurs and Liverpool and the gutless surrendering of a trophy we won so well in May, Arsenal have a true opportunity to begin to mould a different future. The initial building blocks are quietly being put in place, with the new appointments in key roles we have witnessed of late.
Ivan Gazidis, for so long maligned, is smoothly effecting a ‘velvet revolution’ (for those who know their Czech history) and the final act of this painless transition has to be the removal of Arsene Wenger, without any bloodshed in May. Ivan, I understand, now holds an office at Colney and he is seemingly making appointments without Wenger’s say so, something that has not really happened for at least 10 years, if not more.
One year out of the Champions League might have been acceptable – at least to Stan Kroenke, and arguably some fans – after so long in the competition, but two years out may not be so easily endured. It will require a momentous effort from now until May to secure a top four finish, particularly when we are the 5th best of the chasing five on current form. If the powers that be share that view, will they – or should they – be willing to invest heavily in this transfer window, or should they ask Arsene to simply endeavour to steady the ship and keep their powder dry or ‘war chest’ locked for a new manager this summer?
Given the above question, I believe the next few weeks will perhaps tell us everything we need to know about how Ivan, Josh Kroenke, Chips Keswick and perhaps even Wenger’s staunchest ally, Silent Stan are thinking. Will they allow their current manager to replace those who depart, with players of similar or superior quality or will they sanction signings like that of Evans, from WBA and encourage the promotion from within for the remainder of the season? Will any bids for a ‘star signing’ like a Lemar be sanctioned even if Alexis does depart?
Most fans will want the cash splashed this month but IF a decision has been made to persuade the beleaguered manager to step aside, surely that will not occur. If not the next few months will be about Mislintat and the other new senior staff setting up deals for June and July with talent willing to come to North London for a new project. The activity in the next three weeks could give us all a steer on the future direction of this great club we all love so much – but I fear it may be short term pain for long term gain.
Interesting times ahead….