On most often an occasion, there honestly lies little that distinguishes one individual over and above another especially when it comes to careers and personal records. And in my opinion this rule doesn’t appear to be truer than in the realm of football management.
Have you ever taken time to wonder how almost ALL the football managers in all major leagues on all continents, most likely underwent the same schools and methods of management but yet some have been deemed to be more outstanding at what they do over the others? Despite having acquired near-identical knowledge and skills to go about their jobs.
I personally feel that it’s in the application of this acquired knowledge and the following through to personal convictions once out of the coaching school, that the difference is made. Of course other determinant factors too might teem up to bring about description of one’s coaching career, but to me these two standout most over and above the other factors.
A few seasons back, I remember Manchester United’s Luis Nani taking the Premier League by storm (after having emerged from Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadows It should be noted), scoring and setting up goals for fun, even helping his side to a Premier League trophy.
We were all blown away by his exquisiteness, many billed him as the league’s best on the wing, and maybe rightly so. But believe me not everyone, at least not yours truly, and it was one ardent Manchester United fan that I was once seated in the pub with watching a United game that helped open my eyes. The goals and assists had blinded many to Nani’s weaknesses in his game. I continued to watch Nani keenly, and came to this conclusion: he was to only be a one-season wonder.
Three and a half seasons on, and I still remember those words. Fast forward to Marouane Fellaini; he seemed to be such an outstanding midfielder at Everton, many a Gooner wanted him at The Arsenal but once when having a conversation on Twitter with one of the best guys I’ve ever discussed the game with (@clivep_AFC) I remember him pointing me to Fellaini’s deficiencies, and again, when I paid keen attention to his game these and more weaknesses became even more vivid.
From that moment on, when everyone was so desperate for us to sign the player, my reservations about him never wavered. This has been the story of one too many players over the years, so many who have had one decent season and are immediately deemed to be world beaters by us the fans, to the point that we want them at our club the next one. From Louis Saha to Javier Hernandez, Ashley Young to Jack Rodwell, the Premier League has never been short of average talents who have played for a big move away from their clubs, or those who have flattered to deceive on many an occasion. And we the fans are just as quick at building platforms for these players, at the same fleetingness we’re never hesitant to tear them down.
However, to be honest, this is not how great managers go about their business. More than what attracts the cameras, great managers look at players’ general attributes when playing. The factor of luck in pulling off brilliant moments is restricted to inescapable limits and so doing, less gambling is done in spending on these players.
Enough on the roundabouts, on to the main topic now:
I’ve been pretty vociferously adamant (if you can be this on Twitter) that even if chance ever arose itself, and we were in position to buy one of the league’s most prolific strikers currently, Kun would not be a perfect fit at Arsenal. Of course even without mentioning, you can imagine how unpopular this my opinion has been where even I as a person have come under every vitriol and chagrin under the face of the earth, to a point of even having to block some individuals who always carry a lot of self-importance in debating and take these discussions person.
To some I’ve been labeled moron, to others a muppet, I mean I’ve had them all, but yet still with none coming up with any valid argument to convince me as to sway from my belief. See statistics are always an impressive tally to reflect upon, a measure on which we settle arguments and difference of opinions, but yet nothing ever beats the eye in judgment of individual talents. Please don’t get me wrong I beg, Kun Aguero is a prolific striker, one of the best there is in this era whose goals Manchester City have relied upon most to cement their position amongst the elites of the game, but just wouldn’t be perfect for our kind of play.
See, his game is one that we don’t thrive on, strength and use of pace helps us, but not at the front line, only in the wings where Aguero can’t really fit effectively. His perfect game is completely everything we are not; physique, pace and individualism, very good traits but sadly not for our system. Cue the abuse, but I will point you to Alexis Sanchez, many will agree with me that the Alexis Sanchez that terrorised defenses in Italy is not the Alexis Sanchez at Barcelona right now, does he score? Yes, a couple of times, but would he ever have dislodged David Villa at his Zenith? I’d say not a chance. We have all seen when on so many occasions Sanchez has even been dropped for a false nine, not because he is a bad striker (at least England will testify to this) but because different systems have the ability to make or break a player.
I remember watching Aguero in a system identical to our 4-2-3-1 (Chelsea vs. Manchester City) and my belief was solidified even the more. Never before had I ever seen his brilliance completely usurped and rendered clueless like in that game. In the end, he had to be taken off with about 30 minutes to go. Yes he scored, but had little contribution to his team as a whole, or even being much of a trouble to his markers. And yet this 4-2-3-1 system is the one he’d be forced to adapt to if he ever had to join The Arsenal under Arsene Wenger. I know many keep saying that brilliant players can easily adjust to new playing styles, but I beg to differ, I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of Andriy Shevchenko, Fernando Torres and now Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba whose wings were all clipped once they moved to a club that employs playing styles not identical to the ones they were used to in their former clubs. The examples are many, and I’m sure for the people who have keenly followed the game over years, there’d be even more examples than the ones I could come up with here.
Another great striker, and probably one we could use effectively at Arsenal in a couple of matches, had times been allowing. But yet still one who wouldn’t necessarily be a need for us when go out shopping come January. See we already have Olivier Giroud, Benteke is but just a faster version of Giroud for all who have been following his game since introduction to the Premier League. This means that there’s never going to be a game, where we can tweak our formation to start each alongside the other, something that I’m pretty sure the manager isn’t about to do.
This my writing follows a plethora of “Sign him up” Tweets that have been filled my timeline for months now as everyone agrees to the fact of us being a team in need of another striker who can step in for or play alongside Giroud as we make real our title ambitions this season.
If I were asked to come up with names whose arrivals I’d be fully confident about, then it would have to be:
A player who has got EVERYTHING we currently need in a striker. Team player, can play along the entire frontline positions, and has such an eye for goal. Getting him would be us done at the front for at least a couple of years from now. A real solution!
Not entirely a world beater, but his general involvement in team play, intelligent movements and positioning plus his good finishing qualities would be a good addition to our team, and would also fit in perfectly if there ever arose a need of us to play two strikers upfront.
He would be the perfect replacement for the departed Robin van Persie (pun intended).
For now those are the names I can come up with, and I’m always up for a debate and/or discussion on this and any other football related matter.
Till next time,