Emery will face challenges on and off the pitch going into his first year
There has been plenty of discussion since last month’s slightly surprising appointment of Unai Emery as to whether he will be able to unite the fans and finally help the Gunners find that extra two percent to rise from perennial also rans to genuine championship contenders. But like a new boss in any organisation, he has as much work to do behind the scenes as he settles into his new role as he will handling the high profile negotiations of the transfer season.
Who’d be a manager?
The eyes of the world are on Emery to see what new talent he is able to bring on board and just how good a negotiator he is. Arsene Wenger came in for some of his hardest criticism in the wake of a variety of transfer deals that went south during his tenure. And given that these days, fans are as likely to be taking advantage of the latest online betting offers on transfers as they are on the forthcoming events in Russia, the fact that there’s a World Cup going on will do little to take the spotlight off him.
Anyone who’s ever witnessed a new manager step into a senior role in a big company will know that the repercussions can be significant. It causes a ripple effect on the corridors of power, and the same has been witnessed at Emirates Stadium. When Wenger departed, no fewer than six of his generals were quick to follow, including first team coach Neil Banfield, Head of Medical Colin Lewin, goalkeeping coach Gerry Peyton and others.
As well as crafting a football team that will have a realistic chance of taking on Manchester City and the rest out in the middle next year, Emery also has to assemble his own team to get the best out of them. And all the while, he’s still getting to know his new boss, Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis.
Leadership is key
There will undoubtedly be a whole new feel behind the scenes at Emirates as Emery gets his new backroom team in place. But as he casts his eye out into the middle, the concept of leadership is something he needs to keep at the forefront of his mind.
The fact that Arsenal currently lacks truly world class players shouldn’t be cause for concern, so long as there is the leadership out there in the middle to help make the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Individual talents come and go, but it is this kind of ethos that has long been the sign of truly great teams.
Arguably, it is an area in which the Gunners have been lacking in recent years, and it is a point that Sol Campbell made only a couple of months ago. Clearly, Emery had this in mind when making Stephen Lichtsteiner his first signing. Some questioned the wisdom of bringing in the 34 year old, but Emery made much of the Switzerland captain’s experience and leadership skills.
At least he has shown signs that he is listening to the experts and taking notice – which can only bode well for the future.