Arsenal Supporters’ Club Q & A with Raul Sanllehi, Vinai Venkatesham and Edu

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Arsenal once again held their annual supporters’ clubs Q & A with Vinai Venkateshem, Raul Sanllehi and Edu on Thursday, 25th July. Consider this write-up an ‘extended highlights’ package. It’s not every single word, but it’s very much the meat.

Vinai and Raul took the stage first, for a conversation with compere Nigel Mitchell. Some highlights from that part.

Raul Sanllehi: “The young players were very good (on the recent US tour), but this is like a long cook, you cannot rush it. It’s great that they did well, but we need to protect them. But we’re very pleased with them, not just their performance, but their attitude on the training ground.”

Vinai Venkatesham: “The commercial highlight of the tour was launching our partnership with adidas in Denver and launching the new away kit in LA. These are our best-selling kits for many years, so that was a real highlight.”

RS: “We’re very, very pleased with the two announcements from today. They’re very different in nature and expectation. We’re very pleased and proud to get Ceballos done, many top clubs in Europe wanted this player. We like the player because of the position he plays and the way he comes out with the ball.

“Saliba was different, part of the deal is for him to be on loan for one year with his club. We are pleased about that because the level of intensity and the level of demand in the Premier League is very strong. He’s probably too young for that yet, as I said, we need to protect our young talent. We think it will be good for him to be in a less demanding league to continue his formative period, so we’ll have a top defender for a decade. He saw for his career path, the perfect solution for him.

“Cabellos is one of the top young players in Europe. He is a Real Madrid player and I say that with pain, because when I was at Barca I tried to sign him. He wasn’t getting enough game time with Zidane, but we have a good relationship with the club and I knew the player, so we saw this as a win-win for us and Real Madrid.

“He is fanatical about football. I can tell you that for the last two weeks he has been studying Arsenal and every player and this was part of why we brought him in. He is a loan player but he has a big commitment.”

VV: “We know we are not where we want to be as a club. If we had finished 3rd and won the Europa League last season, we would be saying the same thing. We have to find a way to compete for the biggest trophies and we aren’t doing that at the moment. There has been a huge amount of change at the club over the last 14 months in pretty much every single area.

“We have moved from the traditional manager model to a model where we have a Head Coach. There have probably been more than 40 ins and outs on the football side in that time. Per Mertesacker is head of the academy, Freddie Ljungberg and Steve Bould have changed roles, Edu joined us a few days ago. So that’s a big change with people that know this club.

“We’ve got a new commercial director, people director, Edu and Huss Fahmy have joined, Raul and I are in new roles. There is a new transition team in place on how we manage players from the U-23 team to the first team. So much of the change has been because we’re not where we want or need to be and we need to get better and to improve. The results won’t come straight away, it will take some time.”

At this point, Vinai and Raul explain the football structure of the club, much of which, by their own admission, was covered in the interview they undertook with Arsenal.com in May.

RS: “The academy is very important, not just financially, because we cannot just buy all the talent. But also because we want people in the dressing room who can teach what the badge is for and what Arsenal stands for. Why certain traditions are important.

“We are very happy with the appointment of Edu, not just because of his proven knowledge of football, he has been very successful as a Technical Director at Corinthians and with the Brazilian national team. It wasn’t just his knowledge, we needed him to fit at Arsenal and who better than an Invincible to do that?

“We first met when Brazil played Uruguay [at the Emirates last November]. We had a good conversation, but it was hard to have the conversation because every two minutes someone would come and interrupt to say hello. He knew everyone at Colney, so he was already part of the club. We started talking about the possibility of him joining and his face changed, his eyes lit up.

“He was very excited. He was in a very stable job, he was at the top of the pyramid because he was in the Brazilian national team, but he really wanted to come here. He needs to have a strong relationship with the first team, he needs to know the squad in and out, he needs to know the Head Coach. They need to talk football all day, they need to plan ahead, he needs to plan ahead.

“Unai is the coach and his job is very results oriented. Edu is not the opposite of that but the complement of that, he needs to think medium and long-term. He needs to know the academy, he needs to know the coordination of the talent we have coming up. He also needs to know all of the scouts and to coordinate them, in England and internationally. His football knowledge is high, his Arsenal identity is total and he has a connection with the coach.”

Edu joins Vinai and Raul on stage.

Edu: “It’s always good to be back home and I feel really at home here. When I walk around and see photos and people and some of the staff who were still here when I was playing, I feel at home and I hope to continue like that. I missed being here and I still talk to many of the guys I played with. I know the job is not easy.

“I had been talking with Raul and Vinai about taking this job since about December and I am looking forward to do the best I can, like I did on the pitch. I closed a book when I stopped playing and I opened another one as a sporting director, so I want to write another chapter here. I have been following the squad and the team and their system.

“Unai has been here for one year and he has done very well, but I am excited to see what he can do with a similar squad with a couple of signings. When we see how the players get used to the system of the coach for longer, it makes much more sense to me. Raul has worked very hard to find more players, but I am excited also to work with the players we have.

“I have to look after ‘the base’ the people at the training ground. The staff all have to work in the same way. That is very important for the players. Data and analysis is a big area for us too, to make sure we have good people and information to help us. But I have to look after, not just today, but the medium term and the long term.

“We also have to look after today and what we have now. This is very important and the players have to feel that, they have to feel important. Signings are about the future, but you also have to take care of what you have now, they have to feel comfortable. They [the current players] are the most important people, I need to invest my time to be close to them. I have to make them stronger. Playing here [at the Emirates] is beautiful, our training ground is wonderful, we have to enjoy that and be happy.”

At this point, the Q & A from the floor starts.

A question from the floor about whether Arsenal plan to sign a centre-half for this season.

RS: “I cannot say a name because I wouldn’t be doing my job. If I say a name, I walk out the door tonight and he’s £10m more expensive. The transfer window is a moving target, I have been doing this for 16 years now and I know that some windows are harder than others. This is a particularly hard window. When I talk with other clubs, this is a common knowledge.

“There is a bit of stagnation in the market and you don’t see the number of signings you normally see just yet. I don’t know exactly how things will turn out, but I can assure you we are working every hour of every day. I think it’s a bit like school, where you evaluate your grade at the end of the school year and not in the middle.

“What is most important is to talk with the coach, about how he is feeling about the team, what system he wants to play. He knows more than anyone, more than me, about what he wants. We’re going to do our best and we will keep working, but I will not mention any names.

“Edu joined us recently and is doing great work, but he is not going to be responsible for this window, I want to make this very clear. His real job is going to start in September and he will start planning and working with scouts then. Having said that, he is helping us now, but it would be unfair to say this window is him.”

A very long rambling question from the floor, which can be summed up as, “why have we only got £40m to spend on transfers?”

VV: “I don’t recognise this £40m figure, I have read it a lot. That doesn’t come from us, that doesn’t come from the club. The numbers never come from us. We never ever, ever, ever talk about how much money we have to spend because that’s the least helpful thing you can do. Raul’s job is hard enough, if you go into a negotiation and everyone knows how much money you’ve got, it doesn’t really help.

“It is true that our funds are more limited after three years in the Europa League, but the budget isn’t £40m. We have the budget to make a difference, but as Raul says, this is a particularly tough window and we’re in the middle of it. I sense and understand the frustration, but there is a huge amount of misinformation out there in the market.

“I read and am sent articles about players we’re supposed to have missed out on and they’re players we’ve never even talked about. I get why sometimes it’s hard for fans to understand what we’re doing, but I’d say that’s because about 85% of what you read just isn’t true.”

A question about safe standing at the Emirates.

VV: “The government are going to consider the rules as to whether they will allow safe standing or not. I don’t know how long that will take. Yes we are in favour of safe standing, in principle. The Emirates wasn’t built for safe standing because it was built prior to 2006, so implementing safe standing is quite complicated.

“You can only do safe standing in the lower tier and the lower tier here has a very shallow rake. So there is a risk of a whole load of seat kills, because you have to take lots of seats out. So what we’re trying to work out now is what the impact would be on attendance if we took seats out and had safe standing. We’re in favour in principle, but until we understand the impact on capacity, it’s difficult for us to say we are definitely going to do it.”

A question about the club’s short-termism over the last 10-15 years.

RS: “I get the frustration, really I do. If we keep saying we are terrible we won’t get anywhere. The last fans’ forum, the fourth or fifth time someone asked me why I left Barcelona to join Arsenal, I had to stop and say I have been congratulated all over the football world for coming here. I used to represent Barca at UEFA and the ECA, all the top clubs congratulated me for joining Arsenal.

“I am still very excited when I see what this club stands for, what it means, its dimensions. These facilities, this stadium. This stadium is fantastic and the training ground at Colney is outstanding. I look at our players, they are good players. They’re very good players and they are getting into a system, but it’s going to take them time.

“Please don’t get me wrong, I cannot sleep when my team is not winning, I am not happy. Without that passion we cannot go anywhere, but please let’s be objective and have a little bit of patience. This project over the last 14 months has seen incredible changes, if we expect results in just one season, it’s impossible. But if we kill it now, we will have to start all over again. Last season we scored more goals, we fought for 3rd place until the final game, we got to a European final.

“We didn’t do it, but it was an improvement. I hear lots of people talk here about supporting with their fathers and their grandfathers and that is great, without history, legends, statues, pictures, you don’t have a club, you don’t have Arsenal. There are clubs out there who would kill to have that. They are richer now and they are winning trophies, but they still don’t have what we have here, so let’s use it in positive but not the negative.”

VV: “We totally get the frustration, we are not where we want to be. We know people want to see actions and not hear words, unfortunately, this is a Q & A so we can only give you words tonight. There has been a lot of change over the last 14 months and it’s all pointed to getting back to where we need to be and we have a much better chance of doing that with our fans behind us.

“The ultimate objective is to get back to competing for the Premier League and the Champions League. The first step in that objective is getting back into the Champions League, that’s our short term objective, but it’s not where we want to go long-term. We need to be realistic, we’re probably not going to get from where we are to winning the Premier League next season, what we’re trying to do first is get back into the Champions League, but that’s not the ultimate objective.”

At this point, Raul, Edu and Vinai leave and Arsenal Women boss Joe Montemurro takes the stage, I will write up his comments in a separate article.

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Chidi
Chidi

Biggest take away is we’re not quite as broke! Go figure!

Bob
Bob

Groovy baby…

iGooner
iGooner

I don’t know about you guys, and I know we’ve heard the same old tunes for more than a decade, but I’m quite glad we have Raul leading the rebuilding process vs having Gazidis at the helm. It’s gonna take us quite awhile though but I trust the process despite some disagreements.

Honestly better him than Gazidis. Thank you AC Milan for taking him off our backs!

Almọnd
Almọnd

I’ve never been so calm after a Q&A than now, I am quite hopeful, I remember what Liverpool went through, how much Man City hit and missed and till now have not made it to the UCL final, its going to take time so let’s learn to be patient. As much as we need all this new signings let’s not forget that there are no guarantees they will be great straight away, look at Barcelona. Sometimes players improve after some time, we must not write them all off.

Wilshere123
Wilshere123

Raul leading the rebuilding has worked out pretty damn well so far. AC Milan did us a big favour.

SharpasFc
SharpasFc

Thanks for this a very interesting read indeed.

David
David

Vinay seems like he is talking from a script. Dull, prepared and corporate to the bone. This arsenal.com interview comes across like two executives speaking honestly about their beliefs but without ever saying much?

I guess them wearing the same shoes is just a coincidence like there corporate nonsense.

AmericanGooner
AmericanGooner

I couldn’t disagree more actually. My faith had actually been wavering in the upper tier of management. This Q&A was actually very positive for me. It didnt feel as scripted from any of them for me. The only part that I felt was scripted was brief (Raul saying, “what better person than an invinsible” or something of the sort). Besides that, this was a very good showing that restored a little faith in the process. I walked away from reading this thinking, “Hmmm… maybe I am being a bit impatient. Let’s see what progress is made this season.”

I hope, for all of us, that progress is indeed achieved this year. I’m fully behind Raul, Vinai, Edu, Unai, and Co.

The Swede
The Swede

Gazidis used to say the same things.

kaius
kaius

The problem with Gazidis wasn’t what he said, it’s the fact he couldn’t make any of it happen. Plus he was very ‘Oxford-Cambridge educated, academically bright but a bit plastic’. To me Raul is an obvious improvement, with proper football smarts.

In the long interview with him and Vinai he had the balls to own up to the mistakes with Ramsey’s contract, and tell us how Arsenal would avoid that in future. I don’t think people understand how rare it is to find an exec who tells you straight that “we messed up, and this is how we’re gonna fix it”.

Two years ago during Wenger’s last AGM we had Sir Chips Keswick answering fans with “write a letter if you have a problem with the club”. At least we’re moving in the right direction.

meletios
meletios

But are they really now bigging up a loan signing instead of being ashamed, showing failure of the club to plan for such an important position, especially given we knew about this departure for the longest.
In my personal opinion it’s pathetic and rest is marketing speak.

meletios
meletios

@arseblog :: Please fix the bug, i.e voting on the same comment with different IP as some have pointed out already.
Just tie the votes to username, pretty please.

Damo Dinkum
Damo Dinkum

I took the time out to down vote this using 17 different IP addresses

meletios
meletios

Thats great job man, highlight of your life even.
Go on add to your CV too

PeteyB
PeteyB

Does it really matter?? This is not a popularity contest. To tie voting to user name would presumably require logging in first which seems a little much just to thumb comments up/down. IMHO one would need to be a bit sad to take the time to use multiple devices to go and apply multiple votes to comments… Equally I’m a little worried that you appear to be putting so much stock in this. Of course it’s nice when people agree with you, but if a bunch of thumbs up on Arseblog is the highlight of your day then you need to get out more…. with all due respect

meletios
meletios

Good points.
We are already using usernames to post comments, all we need is to add passwords to that. There are many benefits of doing this least of which is skewing the actual count of likes and dislikes ratio. This is still data which then becomes incorrect.
Anyone looking at the comments gets the impression of the popularity of the comments by looking at the likes/dislikes.
Extending your point about who cares about likes , you can say what’s the point of posting a comment if you don’t care what others think unless you want to share it with others.
By this logic you may should not bothered posting your comment and ahem…gone out.

99 % of the websites require you to do this,
my point is simple, the website provides this feature to their readers at present, therefore it is their moral responsibility to ensure the the data is correct and prevent any known forms of misuse (and my point).
Keeping a known buggy feature in any other area is wrong and lazy(refer to cases on Facebook, Apple etc)

Agree with your last point, we don’t need this.

Well I just mostly read (have a day job) but no, this is not the highlight of the day(although I am worried about your thought process if this is the conclusion you reach). Appreciate your concerns though…

Dial Square Charity XI
Dial Square Charity XI

My issue with your argument is that while requiring usernames would stop a single user from upvoting/downvoting using multiple ip addresses – it would not stop someone from creating multiple accounts and then upvoting/downvoting them from multiple ips. I would expect that a single ip could then be used as it would be a different user – unless families were not allowed to partake in this scheme. The issue of ‘fake likes’ is one that has not been solved by any tech company, if someone is motivated then it is something that they can achieve. Yes it would be a barrier, but it would in no way stop the issue.

So then what? Two factor authentication? Tie accounts to phone-numbers? I do not mean to be dismissive of your idea – I guess the question is – should Arseblog be a ‘service’? One could certainly argue that is is moving in that direction.

meletios
meletios

Good points…
As you said , this is not a service based website , its a blog/news website, therefore should not provide features like other social/service based website like say facebook, especially with a *known* faulty implementation.
If they want to continue with this still, then perhaps they should be implemented(and some you have already pointed out)
Another aside on the user names, is that its implicit to most of the users on how it works and its pitfalls (as you mention)
but explicit in its use by the website i.e. forcing the user to use it,
which is still better than using IP address(+ some other logic) to uniquely identify users, which most users wont know about, at least initially.
You could also argue therefore that its not clear and is not prominent, as the website does require a username while commenting.
(please note that I am not saying that its intentional or such at all, I am sure it was the fittest mitigation at the time of development)

But overall, if a feature is provided, it should work as intended or else the *known* bugs highlighted very clearly or else may be shelve it(as is standard practice)

If you are still reading[:-)], few more clarifications…
1.”The issue of ‘fake likes’ is one that has not been solved by any tech company”
… Unfortunately I disagree, there are many which have resolved it(except active hacking/intentional attacks), e.g. the B2B , intra-company websites and for that matter any website which require your card details(and e.g. address) to be associated to your account could easily do that whether they chose to implement this is a different matter.
2. “One could certainly argue that is is moving in that direction.”
…It looks like that.
Ultimately the goodly(Magpie lover here, sorry) blokes of Arseblog (and I do think they are some of the best in this space) need to survive , hence monetise and *may be* even grow at a faster rate each year.

Heknockedoutjohnterry
Heknockedoutjohnterry

“Thanks for coming everyone, before we get started i just want to tell you all how ashamed we are about bringing in our new loan signing.”

My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)
My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)

I could see this going down well.

meletios
meletios

Ah, the thinker who can only thinks in the extreme.
No space for a middle ground anywhere.

kaius
kaius

You ignored the the middle ground – which was Raul and Vinai’s earlier interview where they accepted the blame for the contract problems. We now have a Ramsey replacement who is a potential upgrade, and when he leaves next year, the path to the first-team for someone like Joe Willock or Smith Rowe is still open.

Why don’t you tell us who you would’ve signed to replace Ramsey this summer, and how you would’ve paid for it considering our other positional needs?

Let’s hear more solutions, and less whining.

meletios
meletios

I did not posit anything, therefore there is no ground to speak of or take.
I am not the one suggesting who should play and their potential or suggest future combinations and extrapolate on that, as that’s pretty useless.
Put simply I don’t know what happens in future nor do I profess to know; therefore will leave it to the experts.

Unless you can prove that anything I said in my original comment is incorrect (factually and not potentially) then there is nothing to discuss here.

I just *observed* that what they are saying does not compare to what they are doing as an observation.
Again, just an observation, did not meant to get your goat.

kaius
kaius

All that talk about how Arsenal club execs should bow their heads in shame, and you have no creative solutions of your own to the problems you (correctly) identified?

We can hold the club to account and be constructive about it

meletios
meletios

Well we can hold them to account all we want, as long as they are generating profit it does not matter.
Everything a club does is to ensure financial profit.(including sacking Wenger).. nothing abnormal about it.

Also to repeat, my creative solutions don’t matter, I will be surprised if Vinai is reading my comments here or uses the comments section to get ideas on how to run the club.

I am all for positivity and I am still positive for this season, I just don’t like it when someone is trying to insult your intelligence by putting a positive marketing spin on something which is an obvious/grave mistake.(it’s marketing 101)
E.g. A more sincere response should have been to admit that they did not utilise the time they had to plan for Ramsey’s replacement, we are sorry, hence the loan, especially when it’s known the loanee’s heart is with RM still.

meletios
meletios

Well for one they should bow their heads in shame for not identifying a target suitable for replacing Ramsey.
Rather than insulting your intelligence by trying to put a over the top positive spin on it(marketing 101).
I would rather they say we are sorry we did not use the time to find someone and here’s a loanee who is going the job for us and all the best to him, considering he wants to return to RM anyway.

Also to repeat, I am not suggesting anything nor do I want to as that’s not my expertise but you carry on if that’s makes you feel empowered.

You might think otherwise but realise that Vinai & co don’t get their ideas by reading the comments here.
All they are tasked with is the continued profit generation from this club and to that effect they will anything feasible and rightly so.
Your supposedly constructive thoughts or mine do not matter one jot, in the grand scheme of things.
Also, for future, not everyone who disagrees with you is whining, that’s not how it works.

Sam
Sam

It is literal Gazidis words.

Tanned arse
Tanned arse

Have they lied to you in any way? They have outlined short to long term objectives. Explained how they hope to do that, such as ‘out smarting the market’ etc. They’ve asked for patience. The ideas and early implementation have been fine. Fans want results but from where these guys began, it would be practically impossible to expect any more. They don’t have huge funds to work with. That’s not on them. That’s previous mismanagement. You I and everyone else may feel we’ve heard similar things before but they don’t deserve to be judged on the performance of others and the inability to deliver on words. They’re not promising the world. They’re not being arrogant. They’ve got a job to do and all I’ve seen so far is people trying to lay solid foundations. Let’s try to leave the toxicity that surrounds our recent passed behind us. Barring a huge injection of money, this is the smart way to go. Good luck to them!

My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)
My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)

Give up.
What’s clear is that some fans have taken on the identity of just being angry constantly.

Futsboller
Futsboller

And it probably has nothing to do with Arsenal FC in the end, really. We’re just in range.

John Mock
John Mock

Despite Gazidis saying similar things, there isnt as much condescension in my opinion. Brutal truth is we cant spend 100 million on 1 player but we can make serious investments. But of course it will be slower than Madrid spending 200 million in the first month of the window. We just have to be more careful with our investment than they do. And we have made significant signings, both the forwards cost 50+ million. Nobody expected Mustafi to be such a bust, and it’s really tricky to find a good CB that is less than 60 million atm. But I foresee significant investment. Even if we cant keep up with the big boys these guys are aware of the financial repercussions of dropping further and further down the table. You simply have to spend in the modern game to avoid irrelevancy. I know we’ve heard it before but let’s be patient guys.

Imustafiyou
Imustafiyou

Same old Arsenal management’s beautiful words. But in reality, we signed a young winger, loan a CM and sign a young defender before loaning him back. Does this address our issue and look stronger than last season? Anyway, let’s just hope they can sign at least a winger and a CB in these last phase of the transfer window, if not, we might just buy a magpie to cheer blog up?

TorontoGunner
TorontoGunner

Edu the only real one

eternalflamini
eternalflamini

Well, as Vinai says, what else can they do in a Q&A except offer words?
I get it, people are scarred by Gazidis’s bullshit, but we need to give the new regime time. There actually has been a lot of change in the last year or so.

Imustafiyou
Imustafiyou

I understand this, but with the transfer window closing in 2 weeks time, will the issues be solved? Our defence still looks vulnerable and weaker than last season without Lolo. What had they done? 3 transfers (almost all for long ter except a loan), one ridiculous transfer that will not happen in Zaha, another broken down transfer in Kieran. I do beleive in action, but where is the action? How do i believe them? At least last season our transfers had been complete a this point of time. We will be using almost the same but weaken squad to face Newcastle in 2 weeks time. Can the squad wait? Can we even achieved a champion league position this season? If not? what position will we be in for playing 4 seasons in the Europa League? Raul asked for pattince, and i ask for action.

kaius
kaius

You can’t say you believe in action, but when you see the action say “not that type of action”.

What is even the point in the club holding these Q&A sessions if we as fans go straight back to pretending none of our questions have been answered and no-one has joined the club – on the same day we announced two very positive signings?

You don’t win points for signing players early, because now there’s a gap between the end of the window and the first game. And even if we’d sign players early, fans would just complain about who we signed or how much we overspent. Because it’s always something.

Imustafiyou
Imustafiyou

Yes, we don’t win points by signing players early, but a new player need to have time to adapt to the country, the system, and teammates. Having pre-season today will have impact on the connection between players. Of course, there may be mouning even if we sign players early but most of the fans would be motivated like last season.

As for the Q&A session, i really something think it is not redundant. If the answer they gave is just typical asnwers, they might just help a small briefing. i no doubt think communication to fans is important but action is more than words. The interview with Arsenal player had been so long since and the good plan Raul said had not been execueted.

I mean, they had signed 3 players, but how did they suppose to solve the issue for the upcoming season? What i can see is Ceballos is the short term solution, all the other 2 is long term. So i ask you again, what if we failed to qualify for champion league again next season and stuck in Europa leagu e again? How it impact Arsenal? Do you feel the long term effect? Last year failure to qualify for the champio league had already cost us with such a tight budget, no matter whether the management admit anot. Do you want to see Arsenal declining more and more deeper?

kaius
kaius

I prefer the club signs excellent players slowly, instead of signing average players quickly.

Again, these questions about the direction of the club were answered during the q&a session. If you dismiss the answers they gave, then just asking the same questions here is pointless.

Futsboller
Futsboller

Indeed, they answered questions directly and spoke clearly, and they sound like they have a plan — and like Kaius prefers, excellent players over mediocre ones. That’s the best you can ask from the suits.

As for the team, give them a chance before writing them off. Emery’s second season should be better than his first as he understands everything about his players and the competitions much better now. Despite appearances, we have a good team, and if Emery can form them into a cohesive unit, our defensive issues won’t be so prevalent this season.

Leemillion
Leemillion

Yes but we’ve got all that and haven’t really spent any money yet. If we shift a few players, our budget and wage bill will look far healthier.

My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)
My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)

“Haven’t really spent any money yet”.

I dunno, I think £30M on an 18 year old CB is quite a big spend, don’t you think?

My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)
My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)

Are you just making your judgements on next season? Do you reckon that maybe, hey have to plan for more than just a year, maybe?

rNeo
rNeo

Shade thrown at Chelsea and citeh lol:

I hear lots of people talk here about supporting with their fathers and their grandfathers and that is great, without history, legends, statues, pictures, you don’t have a club, you don’t have Arsenal. There are clubs out there who would kill to have that. They are richer now and they are winning trophies, but they still don’t have what we have here, so let’s use it in positive but not the negative.”

EDUcation
EDUcation

We have Champions League winning speakers

AmericanGooner
AmericanGooner

Vinai said the budget isn’t 40m because its 40,000,001.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

eternalflamini
eternalflamini

Actually I’m told reliably that the budget is 40m. The £1 they kept from the Suarez bid was one of the old pound coins, no longer valid.

Ron Talbot
Ron Talbot

Q & A time is just a way of duping fans even more with scripted whitewash chat.How patient do we have to be? other than wait til the hierarchy construct an excuse for being left behind amidst smaller clubs progressing successfully ie:Wolves,Everton,Crystal Palace etc.Hummmm

N10
N10

Vinai is just a suit, honestly. He can be ignored.

Raul is the big cheese, and I have to say, I do feel slightly bad for him. His job is to be a good bullshitter, but he also loves football, it’s clear; BUT, he also work for an owner who only cares about making money from his investment, and that means, in case you aren’t aware, spending as little money as possible, no matter what. Stank is an evil bloodsucking demon as far as I can tell. So it casts a pall of sadness over everything, which is regrettable.

Best case scenario is we rebuild with good people. Meanwhile, I no longer live in London so I can’t be protesting on site, but I urge those who still live there to fucking do something. For my part I’ve forsworn any merchandise including our gorgeous new shirts, or cable packages. If I do it it means nothing but if 50,000 Gooners worldwide did that, it would send a message.

WE ARE THE CLUB, people, the players and coaches and team staff. The management and owners are not the club. No ticket sales, no merch sales, money, no interest for Kroenke. The LFC people DID IT! Why can’t we.

#KroenkeDoesntCare

Sam
Sam

Why are you getting downvotes? Vinai’s and Sanhelli’s lackeys on it already?

CountLeaf
CountLeaf

may be because people are fucking bored with all this negativity.

sure it ain’t rosy, but this window it seems they just cannot win. we bid and win the bid for a superb prospect that could be one of top defenders in a couple of years, it’s shitty cause it’s only long term. we get a wonderkid CM for one season to strengthen one of the critical areas, it’s shitty cause it’s only short term. we get linked with high money targets, it’s shitty cause we shouldn’t splash money. we work on targets like Tierney cause it takes time with how we need to structure our bid, it’s shitty cause we don’t splash money. we target wingers, it’s shitty cause we got youth. we don’t, it’s shitty cause we bet on unprepared youth.

it’s fucking tedious and to be honest the longer it gets, the more i’m into the current model. there have been a shitload of changes and there will be no short term magnificent gains. and i’d rather buy wisely to reap rewards in a couple of years than throw money around like manure. and the gloom regarding other clubs sprinting before us and others catching up – what exactly have they done on transfer front of note? i hardly see how other top clubs have been doing much better apart from sick rich city, pool and. spurs are enjoying their crop but I’m yet to be convinced they’ll remain consistent to be top in couple of years’ time. if anything, this window proves we still got better pulling power then they do. compared to us, chelski (even if they win trophies) and manure are a mess and i prefer our situation by miles.

yup, we committed mistakes and still got issues due to that, like contracts situation. sure, the changes done have not yet resulted in marked improvements. but we’re still the Arsenal, one of the best, most attractive and best perceived clubs in England.

work in progress, but let’s have some faith and fucking support instead of being perpetual naysayers.

Mekus
Mekus

I wish that I can thump you a 100 times more. I am frustrated too, but some other fans takes it to a different negative level altogether. What crop of pessimists? But we are the Arsenal and the optimists shall have their way. One can criticize without being pessimistic and others can be realistic and still be optimistic here. It’s by choice. Arsenal for life!

Santori
Santori

You’re “fucking bored with negativity” doesn’t come into play with reality.

Optimism is ussually the curse at Arsenal. It is the club of dreamers.

Our brand has taken a big hit in recent seasons and we are in danger of falling off further.

You need to be clear headed and realistic about where we are not dreamy.

The club likes to sell you on a dream and its all too easy.

CountLeaf
CountLeaf

it’s the fact fans position themselves as experts that irks me. we know fuck all, make assumptions based on gossip and apply FIFA like mechanics to pretty much every area of the club and are then stupefied when things are different, blaming the management also for things that are simply impossible.

i used to love coming to arseblog just to read the comments, but now it’s just mainly a hive of absurd pissedoffeness. it’s the same at the terraces, or even worse. this achieves exactly fuck all apart from everyone being more and more angry and the team not receiving the support they need.

we don’t need to be clear headed, management do, it’s their job. our thinking we’re clear headed when we have no tools nor knowledge nor influence just leads us to, mainly, more baseless speculations and somehow ends up with people being pissed even more no matter what happens.

of course supporters need to be dreamers. our only possible positive role is to be the 12th man and drive the team on, not to cut everyone’s wings at every opportunity, which we became experts in.

we’ve been one point of CL last year and got to a final which we then blew – we still got there as only three other teams in europe. this is what change is about and that’s what we all wanted – to shake things up and give things a go differently. we were shit at crucial stages, but pretty much every other club was, apart from city and pool. now is the time to try again, so maybe instead of whining let’s make supporting this great club fucking fun again.

Deo
Deo

I am curious to know what United got right in building their commercial behemoth as opposed to Liverpool and Arsenal because I think that’s what we can do as a club to compete with the top tier of European football in this capitalist economy that we live in. I am not interested in the likes of PSG, Man City, Chelsea or even Real/Barca because of where they attained their money/pedigree from. I was also flabbergasted to read what Atletico Madrid have been doing this transfer window. Their level of efficiency in managing that squad is incredible considering the players that they have had to sell or move on. They have been doing this for years now. This, in addition to how brilliant Dortmund have done should provide adequate lessons on what needs to be done. I am all for ‘long term’-ism, but I hope these guys are learning from the more practical examples of success that us fans can clearly see.

Rocastle Rock
Rocastle Rock

Ajax as well. Recent European finalists and semi-finalists on a significantly smaller budget than those around them. Apart from Sp#rs of course, who probably could spend some wallet if Levy hadn’t already stuffed all the notes inside his mattress, pillows, and teddy bears.

Spanish Gooner
Spanish Gooner

Atletico Madrid are an interesting one – they have massive debt and are the only team to own two stadiums, all of which means this summer has been a big gamble for them

kaius
kaius

United were probably the first club to truly take advantage of their global fanbase (esp in Asia, Africa and the Middle East) in terms of commercial deals, and it started way back when Fergie was still manager. Some United fans think the club went too far into the commercial side and took their focus away from the football side, and haven’t been able to manoeuvre back quickly enough.

What Atleti and Dortmund are doing is so painful to watch because we had many of their advantages back when we had regular CL football, but were too short-sighted and conservative in the transfer market. Wenger’s coaching should have reaped a fortune in player trades but we wasted it. Meanwhile Simeone is fully leveraging their CL pedigree to attract Joao Felix for 120m, then sell Griezmann for 120m and Angel Correa, an attacker who put up 3 goals and 2 assists last year, for 50m to Milan.

My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)
My Cousin Vinai (Formerly Faisal Narrage)

1. United built their commercial kingdom on winning a fuckton and being the most success club since the PL began.

2. Dortmund & Atletico are the interesting ones, because once upon a time, we were bigger than them. I don’t believe they’re bigger than us commercially, thanks in due part to the PL, but are now bigger and more successful due to their transfer strategy.

This was a strategy we once used to be the best at, but a combination of Wenger’s waning powers, new innovation in football in general (scouting, data, etc. Both Atletico and Dortmund fully embraced data much before anyone else) and the fact that we lost our way and deviated from our own “youth” policy to start chasing “Fringe Galacticos” meant we lost out way big time.

Sounds like the new management are trying to get that identity and strategy back.

Santori
Santori

We are behind.

RM, Barca, PSG, Bayern, Juve, United, Liverpool, Chelsea, City in spending power.

Atheltico, Dortmund, Spurs potentially in spending power but definitely under threat in allure.

We need to not kid ourselves and keep singing this mantra “we are the Arsenal”.

We have hungry clubs in the PL as well barking at our heels – Wolves, Leicester etc.

If we flatter to deceive and fail to get into CL again this season, we are in real danger of being dropped further.

Everyone is doing youth policy.

Saliba is a hyped player. There are equally promising Cbacks out there in Upamecano and Koyate for France to name a few.

We may trump up our Nelson or Nketiah but City have very good young players too, Chelsea have Hudson Ndoi.

As Wenger use to caution “everyone thinks they have the prettiest wife”

We should not fall into the delusion that we have a great youth policy and no one else is buying up young talented players.

We need to be taking an approach on a broad front.

One thing that can be done better is in the development of our youth.

We have yet to find a way to develop them better at critical age around 19-23yrs.

IMO we need to secure better loans for many of these players in critical age who need time on the ball. Hovering around our first team can sometimes provide opportunity but bc we have such high stakes, we tend not to risk layers developing at our expense and making mistakes on the go.

Our loans have been mixed result. Some like Bielik and Chambers seem to have got a lot out of their loans. Maybe less so Nelson who could have frankly been of use last season closer to first team being in a less critical position defensively.

And example of where we can be more proactive is securing a strong loan for Mavropanos.

We know we have an ally at Ajax in Overmars. He mentioned Ziyech was offered to us at 24m. We could have also pushed for a Mavropanos loan to soften the deal further providing us with more money for other positions in market.

Currently we have too many Cbacks gestating. Bielik looks very promising (not sure why we are intent on selling him), Mavropanos needs as mentioned a bit more experience. NOt sure why we want to spend 27m to risk Saliba.

I think if players like Nelson and Nketiah will get good time within first team, we should keep them close, otherwise some of the younger players need to go out on loan. Smith-Rowe would be exciting close to the first team but if Cebellos is available (with Ozil and Mhkitaryan) then it makes sense for him to develpo further given he is still very young.

But certainly there is room for improvement in the way we nurture (and keep) our younger players.

Guns Up
Guns Up

I’d say what they “got right” was winning the league 2 of every 3 years for an extended period just as the Internet was taking off and TV broadcasts were expanding across the globe. Casual fans want to support a winner. If they keep finishing in 6th or so for an extended period, the next generation will want nothing to do with them, commercial revenue will begin to wane, etc. They’re too big to drop below a certain level, but not too big to get passed by other big clubs over time.

aberinkula
aberinkula

Thanks again Tim for another superb write up.

Rocastle Rock
Rocastle Rock

That flow chart looks like something you’d find on a whiteboard in the office of Pear Tree Productions. Probably works better in practice though.

jon

RS: “I cannot say a name because I wouldn’t be doing my job. If I say a name, I walk out the door tonight and he’s £10m more expensive.”

Still Arsenal seem to be leaking as a tea bag. We’ve had rumours about Ceballos and Saliba all summer, and they proved to be absolute true. I guess we are fully informed about the Kierny situation as well.

I hope to wake up to the news that Marco Verratti and Samuel Umtiti have become gunners, but experience shows that we would have heard about eventual inquiries a few minutes after they were made.

As Sanllehi says, it’s very hard to do negotiations when every move you make is instantly in the media. Hence, it is somwhat puzzling that clubs don’t try to keep their negotiations more secret.

CoNr
CoNr

A lot of the time, those leaks likely come from the players agents to try and create a bidding war to up the price, so they get a bigger cut..

I find it funny that both Dani and saliba where both linked with the spuds just as those deals where nearing completion, as agents know that if players we linked with also have interest from our biggest rival (true or not) we might just throw more money at to make sure we don’t lose out.

Agents are parasites

A Different George
A Different George

I don’t think we heard many rumours, or for very long, about some of our biggest signings in the past: Santi, Ozil, Alexis.

Santori
Santori

https://www.football.london/arsenal-fc/transfer-news/latest-arsenal-news-mesut-ozil-16573786

Ozil signing.

I mentioned it way back then it was far from the media touted “panic buy” but too many fans don’t think prefer to believe what they want to.

Alexis and Santi were very good signings by Wenger and team.

IF anything Wenger flattered to deceive in fallow years because he was generally excellent in market.

He is a better market operator than Mslintat by miles.

Where he shortchanged himself was in defense and being too frugal. Someone needed to push him.

Currently we buy Saliba for 27m which is a big risk.

Wenger was fond of purchasing younger talent but critically he did so with minimum expenditure so it was less risk to our bottomline should the player not deliver on promise.

This Saliba deal is a VERY dangerous game for us.

It kicks the can down the road and should we find ourselves in bother next summer without CL again, it will be limiting on future transfer business into the club.

This is the sort of long range vision too many people fail to appreciate and get too easily fooled by the light show.

Comedian
Comedian

“Unai has been here for one year and he has done very well, but I am excited to see what he can do with a similar squad with a couple of signings.”

Right now with signings we have just replaced Ramsey with Ceballos , there is still void to be filled with Koscielny leaving. So hopefully 2 to 3 more signings to happen. If that doesn’t happen then they really havent helped the coach much at all.

Santori
Santori

Agreed. Not sure why you are down voted.

Too many people like to take the popular opinion and not think for themselves.

We have yet to fix ANY issues at Cback. There are systemic issues as well as personnel issues.

And we have to add a winger (I am a bit more confident will do this) but not sure why on earth we would bother trying to chase an over priced Zaha (even at expense of losing Nelson on loan)…makes little sense.

Fekir went to Betis for a paltry 24m. Good enough for us and we would have leftover to invest on a better immediate solution at Cback than this wierd Saliba deal.

Or Ziyech. Overmars was touting him to us apparently for 22m. We could have been aggressive, pushed Mavrpanos on loan to them (since they sold De ligt) got it cheap and have certainty about the money we have left for a Cback.

Richie

Didn’t anyone in the audience ask about Kronke? Probably would have been pointless anyway. Another useless PR operation from Vinai and Raul. Two weeks left of the transfer window, we still need two or three players. Maybe time to reopen talks with Tierney and Everton.

Santori
Santori

People like to convince themselves things are different.

Its prob about the same as when Gazidis was around no different.

Same answers. Instead when Raul and Vinai tell them it has to go to the wire for value, they suddenly get the eureka moment. BUt that was always the case with the market.

You look at Fekir for instance as an example.

52m quoted price for Liverpool. They over played their hand Lyon and Liverpool walked. The price dropped to 30m for us (Not sure why we did not buy) and then 24m including add ons for Betis.

Which is why I mentioned two Januarys ago Mahrez was quoted at 40m with intention to leave Leicester. We could have gone in for him maybe cut the price to 30m and got a player we really needed. Instead we did it cheap with Mhkitaryan, a decent player but not what we needed. And then the price for Mahrez spiked at very end of window bc City came in for him (since we did not sell Alexis to them).

Too many people prefer to make believe.

The market is not fixed price.

And there are subtle nuances that need negotiating beyond just scouting the best players.

Point in case when we got in Ozil, Wenger had to hold the cards very close to his chest.

Gazidis and Law played mind games with Spurs as RM were willing to sell to us but on condition of Bale but Levy was reluctant if it did us favours.

See below:

https://www.football.london/arsenal-fc/transfer-news/latest-arsenal-news-mesut-ozil-16573786

Soft power was quietly applied behind the scenes through Per 9and likely Wenger’s fluent German)

And then we pulled the trigger at very end.

Many people swallowed media hook line and sinker, panic buy they said.

At 42.3m?

With a player a number of top clubs would have easily swooped in for ahead of us?

A lot of people really need to question themselves on the way they think through things.

yen
yen

From what I read on Twitter, bit disappointed by some people who attended this Q&A. You don’t get to meet club directors on the daily basis, furthermore ask them questions & hold them accountable, as well as the directors don’t get to meet fans face to face often.

So, if you attend such session, you partially represent ALL fans. Reportedly many of the people who raised their hands to ask a question didn’t think of an actual question before, and so they just rambled for couple of minutes, venting their frustration. Sigh.

If I were one of the directors, I’d probably leave this session with such impression that these people actually have no idea what it is to run such a huge business and are part of a big, irrational pissed crowd, who won’t be satisfied no matter what they do. Shame more people – even bloggers such as arseblog who over and over pick up very important topics – couldn’t be there to ask about those.

Also – apparently – zero questions about We Care Do You. Dead movement already? Hopefully not.

Santori
Santori

People are easily fooled.

Announce Saliba (no impact to this season) and Cebellos (not a permanent deal) and you get away with it.

The hope is they don’t fall back on Holding LANS , we need to look towards organic improvements in defense (cue Mustafi again) and try and prolong Koscielny for another bridge too far.

but the signs are there.

Gooner222
Gooner222

This is a great insight into the club. We’re very lucky to have this blog!
And finally I can stop breaking my brain about how we could only have $40 million 😂

Santori
Santori

They prob only have 40m. They prob are banking on adding on 20-25m on player sales which will make out budget around 60-65m.

That’s really enough for only 2 quality signings which is likely why they could not go higher (by 5m) on Tierney (with commitments to Saliba) plus we could not get a CM as well without a loan.

Vonnie
Vonnie

I actually like these guys, they’ve taken on a tough job and they’re being as honest as they can be about the situation without giving away too much information. We’ve all been conditioned by past disappointments but that wasn’t on their watch, so I’m trying to stay positive and keep the faith. So far we’ve made three very good signings, and they’re not stupid so they will be working on the defensive situation. Players often only become available towards the end of the transfer window so a lot can still happen.

Santori
Santori

Its the same with Gazidis. NO different.

Which is why all those “panic buy” articles back in Wenger’s era were laughable.

These guys ushered in Panic loan last January.

I hope we don’t set ourselves for more complications Next summer with the Saliba deal plus we don’t actually have Cebellos beyond this season and we have to add a Lback etc….if we are out of CL again (bc we did not properly reinforce this summer), we will find it even harder.

We should look around us. Its not just United, Liverpool, Spurs now, Liecester, Wolves, Watford even have all begun to up their game.

Vonnie
Vonnie

It’s totally different but you’re so opinionated you don’t want to see it.

Goonereality
Goonereality

Interesting, but not that enlightening really. A politician’s answer to the limited budget question: “I don’t recognise this £40m figure, I have read it a lot.”. The proof, so far, is in what’s happened and that shows we’re trying to squeeze out every penny often at the risk of a possible transfer falling through. Of course, you have to be prudent with the money but you don’t see the likes of Chelsea, City, Liverpool, Utd scrambling around with extended instalment repayments, unusual add-ons etc., to try and reduce the immediate outlay to the extent we are. If it’s not £40 million, it’s not far off from the way the management are behaving.

Santori
Santori

We won’t go 5m higher for Tierney.

I think they were trying to get away with Cback, point at Saliba for the future, Holding as LANS, Koscielny one more season and say we are going to work on organic improvements, then add Lback Tierney for cosmetics.

Koscielny refusal throws a spanner in their works.

Tierney deal gets scuppled.

Either of winger or Cback will have to give on some money to accommodate the other

Geefive
Geefive

Actions will speak louder than words. It seems he talks the talk better than Gazidis though. I’ll give him that.

Santori
Santori

Wierd hierarchical chart looks like going around in circles.

I suppose Edu will be more on Academy end.

Raul takes over the market.

Vinai strictly commercial deals.

Hopefully Raul can deliver. he can start with his football relations at Barca and make a play for Umtiti.

Saliba I still don’t understand. Its a costly gamble at 27m, I don’t know about outsmarting the market.

As mentioned he has only played 19 senior matches (as oppose to Upamecano or Koyate) so his stats are across a much narrower band of games.

It will still cost us some money initially despite the installments but we eventually pay it and we will risk a huge chunk of change if he doesn’t deliver (which has happened)

In terms of budget, Its not 40m.

The base rate is likely around 40m but we will try and push it upwards to 65m with player sales IMO.

I don’t see us spending more. If they were hesitant going 5m higher for Tierney it gives you a good indication which is why likely Saliba deal still has an impact on us (certainly a season down)

But that still gives us plenty to play with at 60m +

I’d think we need to concentrate efforts on just two positions rather than spread it thin. We need to bring in quality.

Wide players are 25-35m IMO (with prices cooling close to end of window but at risk to being hijacked if we wait too long)

If we get one in now (And we could have got Fekir for 30m, Ziyech offered to us for 24m), we know the rest of the budget for a decent Cback

30-35m ballpark for the Cback IMO which is tricky bc the supply for quality looks less than with wingers.

Koscielny moving himself out of the way does us a massive favour. They will try and convince him to stay of course so they don’t need to add, will trump up LANS Holding.

But we know we likely need a new Cback. Holding isn’t available anyway till Sept (And Bellerin) so we would risk starting season again with Sokratis and Mustafi!

Santori
Santori

Not sure why we feel compelled to add at Cback for the future at such a high price.

We have two young players as is in Bielik and Mavropanos.

I would have considered sending Mavropanos to Ajax in exchange for a good offer for Ziyech.

Bielik (should we be able to move Mustafi and Chambers) plus add a decent experienced Cback, I would have promoted into first team backline on a very good U23 showing.

Richie

Why on Earth would Champions League semi finalists Ajax want Mavrapanos?

Patience
Patience

That’s it ? Just 4 questions from the floor ?

Richie

Pathetic isn’t it? Should be a monthly forum, not annually.

David
David

AFC is an investment vehicle for a large corporation with multiple interests across different sports. Our owners do not care about winning or the trophies we crave they just care about the bottom line. The less they spend the better. Vinai knows this and splutters out corporate waffle. There is little we can do of significance in the transfer market and many of us still have not adjusted to the irony that success is now 4th place. Arsenal have always been relatively conservative regardless of on field success. Our appetite for spending was never at the level of Utd, Chelsea, City and we lost the Financial Fair Play bet many years ago. Let’s enjoy watching some of the academy kids and hope they make the grade.

PS: Our captain is currently on strike.

Santori
Santori

The other question I’d ask Vinai and Raul is why the hell did Josh (wank name) and his old man take out money for ‘consultation fee’ for KSE….I mean we lost money commercially.

arsonwenger
arsonwenger

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-49126678

Hey we certainly do not lack “cojones”.:D

Great defending from Kolasinac. hope for this sort of mentality in matches to come this season.

Patience
Patience

I think we need an intervention. All of us. From the disgruntled fans who’ve been waiting for around 10 years after they heard promises of becoming as big a club as Bayern Munich from Gazidis, to the absentee owners to the new representatives in Raul and Vinai who are sandwiched b/w the above two, to take the flak from the fans.

Since the owners and the rest of the upper management doesn’t have the decency to create a closer connection and relationship with fans, it’s upon us fans to take responsibility, like we did with the classy letter #WeCareDoYou.

It’s important to be reasonable, respectful, and not come across as an angry ranting mob, when we speak to the only people at the club who’re willing or able to speak to us.

Let’s realize and remember that Raul and Vinai are relatively new (certainly Raul, I think Vinai has been there a bit longer). Let’s not take out the decade long frustration we feel on them, because they were largely not responsible for it. Let’s build a better relationship with them instead, by being patient.

When we finally had the manager change last year, I wasn’t someone who expected us to start competing for titles the next couple of years, much less the very next year, as some of the fans – who have since been suggesting that Unai isn’t good enough and we should change the manager again … after ONE season !

We’ve had a manager for 20+ years, the last 10 or so of which were mediocre overall, and appalling defensively, but now we finally have a change, we’re not willing to give the new manager time to: A) adapt to a new league/culture/players/club B)learn his players’ strengths/weakness and where he needs to make changes to the squad C)have the support of the club in terms of finances available, and players in the market available.

We must not let emotion cloud our judgement. This is not a one or two year operation. Wenger neglected the defence for years, to the point that he almost brainwashed people into believing that as long as we’re entertaining going forward, the defence doesn’t matter. He also made his fullbacks play like wingbacks at the cost of the defence. And now we think it’s abnormal that fullbacks first know how to defend, and then attack as a bonus.

Unai needs to be given at least three years and three transfer windows before we can start judging his performance. He needs the club to make funds available for any player purchases, and time to implement his tactics and instill good habits in the players and drill out the bad habits from Wenger’s time. All of that takes time. And we have absolute morons having a go at Unai after one season.

Yes we collapsed towards the end of the season, but we also improved against the top 6, went on a 22 game unbeaten run, reached an European final and improved our away record and points total upon last year. You can’t hammer him for the weaknesses and not give him credit. He had largely the same squad as Wenger’s horrendous last year, and I’m not sure how the collapse was the surprise, instead of the 22 game unbeaten run or the other improvements.

On transfers – so far we’ve signed a young CB – it’s one for the future, so they aren’t ignoring the long term and it could turn out to be a great deal if he realizes his potential (some say Vincent Kompany esque, for what 30 mil ? )

Next we’ve got a young replacement for Ramsey, in the playmaker role or as a 10. This could be hugely beneficial as without Rambo last season we had no creativity. Ozil didn’t have a good season and was quite poor away. Dani should have a bit more bite defensively as well, and hopefully the reliance on Xhaka to be a creative force from midfield can be corrected.

A midfield of Torreira, Guendouzi and Ceballos is definitely young and inexperienced, but also hungry and eager to learn/perform. And the reality is that we cannot fight in the market for the very top quality talent, at least until we get rid of Ozil’s idiotic wages.

The biggest weakness in the team is the defence – I don’t think any of them are top quality yet, and we still haven’t signed anyone for the current season. That is a rubbish state of affairs, but the window hasn’t closed yet and we’re still in the market. We’ve also seen that our transfer cap isn’t 40 mil as the dimwit journalists had reported.

I didn’t see any question being asked about the defence. It should be the first thing we think of. I don’t get some of our fans. And just having four questions in a Q & A session is disgraceful. But I guess it doesn’t help when people start going off on rants instead of asking questions.

I think there’s an enormous need for a liaison between the fans and club and maybe Wrighty would be the ideal man for the job. There needs to be more regular contact b/w the fans and the club.

Frog
Frog

TLDR

Patience
Patience

Don’t let the size/length scare you though ;P
Read it, you might be pleasantly surprised.