Gilles Grimandi says he’s struggling to decipher Arsenal’s big plan and suggested those in charge of decision-making are fluffing their lines at the moment.
An Arsene Wenger loyalist, Grimandi quit his role as the Gunners’ chief scout in France in March 2019 and is currently unemployed following a seven-month stint as technical director of Ligue 1 side Nice.
Presumably, he’s been keeping an eye on things at the Emirates since his departure and he’s not a big fan of what he sees.
While he thinks Mikel Arteta is a canny head coach appointment and the Academy is producing promising talents, he’s questioned the recruitment policy implemented under Raul Sanllehi.
Speaking to French TV station Canal+, Grimandi said: “People didn’t realise the influence and the choices that Arsene made, choices which were often wise.
“We’re not able to read the project that’s in the hands of the directors and Sanllehi right now.
“There have been some debatable signings and it’s not possible to totally see from the outside what they want to do.
“There are some positive points. I believe in Mikel Arteta – he’s a person with a future.
“He’s a competent lad and someone who’s gained a certain amount of experience alongside Pep Guardiola.
“There is a lot of quality among the young players, but the directors have to take their responsibility and make much wiser choices.”
Grimandi is particularly confused by the decision to sanction William Saliba’s return to Saint Etienne last summer instead of starting his Premier League education. That the club then went shopping for another centre-back in January, Pablo Mari, has left him scratching his head.
“For me that’s a mistake because these are players who could have gained experience this season,” he said of Saliba.
“And then you see they have to buy another player Pablo Mari at Christmas. There’s a lot of incoherence in the choices.
He added: “I think there is competence on the technical side and with the young players. Now those who are directing them have to take their responsibilities and make wiser choices.
“We know the financial consequences of not qualifying for the Champions League and the effect it has of being an attractive club.”
While Grimandi raises issues that many of us fans have pondered in the last few weeks, it’s probably worth pointing out that our recruitment policy in his final years was far from watertight.
A golden generation of French talent went on to win the World Cup in 2018 and the only player in the squad with any connection to us, Olivier Giroud, had already left. We did get Yaya Sanogo though.