“I’m really happy” – Edu explains Arsenal’s new project

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Edu accepts that Arsenal are ‘hurt’ by the position the club finds itself in but maintains that the policy of recruiting young players will help put solid foundations in place for future success.

Against the backdrop of the club’s winless start to the season, eyebrows have been raised at the Gunners’ decision to spend nearly £140 million on six players who are 23-years-old or younger.

Now that the transfer window has closed, the technical director has sat down with Sky Sports to talk through a strategy which he began implementing more than a year ago.

While the Brazilian wouldn’t be lured into defining the parameters of success, he made clear that he and manager Mikel Arteta believe in the new-look squad and called on fans to reserve judgment until the players have actually played together.

Reflecting on the summer business, Edu told Geoff Shreeves: “I am really happy because the plan which we started to execute a year ago, we did. That’s what makes me really happy because all the plans, all the steps, all the processes which we put together we executed. I am really pleased because it is not easy.”

Edu returned to the club in July 2019 and initially worked under head of football Raul Sanllehi before the Spaniard was let go in August last year. At that point, the Arsenal hierarchy was streamlined with the Edu and Arteta handed more responsibility.

“Normally, people like to see just one window, so I have to say it is the bigger picture because we started planning this squad a year ago in terms of consolidating the team and to try to get a better foundation,” said Edu.

He went on to cite the contract extensions of Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli as the start of his project.

“If you remember, in that period we renewed Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli a year ago with the intention to get that kind of base in the team. In a one-year period, we signed 10 players and seven of the 10 are under 23. We renewed seven players in this period as well, just in the first team. Five of the seven are under 23 as well.

“Why did we do that? Because we have a reason to try again to create a good foundation and then, one day, maybe we are going to sign one or two players only. But after that, it’s impossible to sign one or two players only because we have a lot to do.

“We have to balance the squad better. We have to recruit the players with the right characteristics and the right profile to make the squad better, more solid and much more consistent because last season we suffered with consistency.”

Edu also drew attention to the large number of players who’ve left the club across the last three transfer windows.

“We had 21 players exit over the year. All of those were terminated or we tried to sell, or we tried to loan with an obligation to buy as well. We tried to clear a bit of the squad and bring in some new faces. We had 21 outgoings and signed 10 players in one year.

“So, 21 changes, it is a lot. It’s more than a squad in one year. But this was the intention again when we are talking about the base and the foundation. We have to create it again to one day just go and sign one or two players.”

Edu wasn’t pressed on the club’s general inability to raise significant funds from the sale of players. In several cases, high profile stars on big wages were effectively paid to leave or arrangements were made to terminate their contracts.

Attention now turns to getting results on the pitch. While there’s a tacit acceptance amongst fans that challenging for Europe is going to be difficult, internally it seems they believe a core of experienced players – Bernd Leno, Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – can marshal the youngsters through the season.

“Around those five we have very, very good, talented players around them which we believe in,” he said. “Maybe people don’t, but we believe five guys can lead the team with the youngsters and with the new signings to go to the next step.”

Quite how big that next step is, remains to be seen. As a man under pressure, Edu unsurprisingly side-stepped the opportunity to outline definitive targets.

“I don’t want to go for top four or top six or top eight or top 10,” he said.

“I’m just really looking forward to seeing this squad play together. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone fit. I want to see our squad because I don’t see it yet. But I’m really looking forward to it because I believe and Mikel believes that this team can have a good season.”

__

If you’ve got a spare 15 minutes, it’s well worth reading the full interview on Sky Sports.

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Azeez Is Good

Sorry that this is massively off topic, but there’s been a story going round the last few days that Leno is free to leave next summer. But I was sure he had two years left and from brief research I can see he signed a 5 year deal in 2018 which would indeed mean he has two years left.

Are all these journalists all wrong or am I missing something?

Again apologies for not being on topic.

Lion

Most stories online are created to make you hate your club. Read between the lines. Do your research.

Azeez Is Good

Usually I would just ignore it.

But The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Mirror, Football 365… are all running the story. It’s hard to believe that they all can’t do the very basic research which would contradict their story.

I thought there may be a one year option that Leno has to agree to or something strange like that. I panicked a bit because he is a player who has some stock and could bring in a decent sum.

But it’s just shitty journalism. Phew.

Lolerinho

Now, apply the same logic towards this covid scheme, then more people will be alright.

Djouroureallylikeit

Take it you haven’t had any family die yet, mate?

The_Golden_Wrigglesworth

I thought so too, but transfermarkt says Leno’s current contract expires in June 2022, so… Maybe there is an option for a 1-year extension that led to it being reported as (potentially) a 5-year deal? Then again, this club does really seem to love giving players away for free…

Azeez Is Good

If we don’t get a fee for a German international who is in his prime and has been, overall, a good to very good goalkeeper for Arsenal then… then… well, I suppose I’ll just be glad we didn’t have to pay him off.

Vonnie

He joined in 2018 for 5 years so they can’t count.

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

Transfermarkt have possibly made an error, which is fair, considering the site often relies on volunteers/contributors like Wikipedia does.

Sportrac and other sources say his contract expires in June 2023.

allezkev

Yes, I saw that on transfermarket, they’ve got his contract expiring as 2022, but they’ve also had it down as expiring at 2023 so maybe someone has made a mistake.

Eazy Deezy
Azeez Is Good

Thanks man. I guess one journo makes a mistake and the others just blindly follow like lemmings off the cliff.

I remember Ricky Gervais talking about it when The Guardian called Steven Merchant ‘Steven Mitchell’ for a whole piece on the two of them.

Even at the top echelons of journalism, a lot of it is unresearched guess work.

TeeCee

Best example was Obama giving Brown a load of DVDs.
The New York Times reported that this was a waste of time, as Brown wouldn’t be able to play them. (Typical septic blinkers on as players over there are locked by law).
The truth, of course, is that you can bet your mortgage that No 10 has a multiregion player, as do most of us in the free world.
This inconvenient little detail didn’t stop every paper in the UK trotting out the NYT’s bullshit as if it were Holy Writ.

Azeez Is Good

Ah, the good old days. When stories like this were news.

Roof_attack

I’m sure it means he is free to leave, not leave on a free transfer. There is a difference.

Azeez Is Good

Nah, pretty definitive.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/16044736/arsenal-keeper-bernd-leno-inter-milan/

The other articles all echo this sentiment.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Sorry this is massively within topic but Edu and Arteta are only hiding behind potential of young players to buy themselves time. Another rebuilding project? I am not buying it.

El Mintero

Paul Merson has it bang on…we buy players nobody else wants. Doesn’t fkn matter what age they are!

ADiddleDog

There are journalists and urinalists, most online “writers” are full of piss.

Frank

We’ve tried project youth before, with a better manager…. I have to say I like it in principle and do think the squad needed an overhaul but the issue is that relying on young players to improve and reach their potential is a gamble and takes time and if things don’t go well in the short term that gamble is less likely to pay off and the time needed is less likely to be afforded. We Wenger speaks in his biography about the constant need in football to try and juggle the short and long term as withoutthe short term… Read more »

Bobby

Ultimately I think we need to reestablish a core that have played together for at least two seasons if we’re going to take that next step (in which one or two marquee signings will make a difference rather than disappear in frustration). To get players willing to go through that process – as well as emerge with any resale value if we need to rethink or in one or two cases trade up – I guess they need to be early twenties.

loose_cannon

Exactly, I honestly think a lot of people have forgotten we’ve been here before and it only takes you so far. The problem is that it’s difficult to predict the trajectory of young players, the worst ones end up dragging the team down and the best ones eventually get poached by the clubs challenging for top honours. We’ve seen Leicester hit a glass ceiling with this strategy, because they haven’t been able to (or chosen not to) pivot to bringing in top players.

SciGunner

From where we are now, I will take the previous project youth of 2006-2010 any day.

Squad depth was a big issue during this period. Eduardo’s injury brings to mind. Many of our promising players were overplayed until they were crocked. Plus there was no money or intention to purchase one or two top players to compliment mega talents like Fabregas.

SciGunner

Essentially, the new project youth can be successful if we learn from those mistakes. Obviously rookie Arteta is no 2006 Wenger. A lot will depend on Arteta’s calibre as a manager to get the team to play good football/win matches to keep good players and attract top talents from outside.

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

In terms of calibre as a manager, Arsene is more comparable to an AK-47, whilst Mikel has so far is more comparable to a Beretta Pico. One is an aging but tried and tested reliable, whilst the other is too faulty to get you far in a bad situation.

All the more reason to get a proven and youth-driven coach like Erik ten Hag.

Frank Bascombe

Why would you take the previous project over this one, before you’ve even seen them play together?

SciGunner

I didn’t say I would take the the previous project youth over the current one.

Given our current predicament, I would take an equivalent outcome of previous project youth.

Qwaliteee

People slag Wenger off on here, but his fifth place finish in 2016/17 was our first failure to secure Champions League football in the best part of two decades. At no time in Wenger’s watch did we ever play such boring uninspiring useless directionless tripe that we do now. As sure as the sun rose in the east and set in the west, we attacked, attacked and attacked some more. Check out Auba’s goals if you’ve got a particularly short memory. And at no time under Wenger’s watch did we ever prop up the rest of the Premiership table. Our… Read more »

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

Project Youth under Wenger was also hampered by many of the players leaving a few years down the line as soon as their heads were turned. I think that only stopped happening in 2012. By then the club was in a better position to remunerate players and turned down offers. Two more seasons at midtable and we’ll be back to the days of accepting the first offer for our best prospects. It’s a decent philosophy, one which might buy Mikel and Edu time. However, given what we’ve seen of Arteta’s mismanagement of U23 players, he probably isn’t the best coach… Read more »

Atom

Arsenal even during the stadium payoff days always had one of the highest wage bills in Europe. Players left for the opportunity to win elsewhere – not due to wages

Lari

I also did assume that we’d tried project youth before but remembered that the youth were all from our academy. This time we’ve sourced around which might just help make that difference!

Joe

“ we’d tried project youth before but remembered that the youth were all from our academy.”

This is not actually true. The first wave of that project youth included Diaby, Denilson, Song, Eduardo, Bendtner, Sagna, Clichy, Walcott, Eboue, Djourou, Senderos, Gibbs, Adebayor, – none of whom came from Arsenal’s academy. Even Fabregas was poached from Barca.

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

Gibbs?!

John C

They had little or no first team experience is where it differs

WayBackWhen

I think that’s fair and I’m reading something potentially different, as in reliance on younger players alone isn’t the full strategy. If this is about catch-up, balancing the squad in terms of age and salaries and protecting assets, the 2 or 3 signings in the next few years could include a marquee signing each year. The most comparable era for Arsenal in terms of successful reliance on youth would be the early George Graham era. Then, even more than now, there was a talented crop of home grown, there had been a clear out of aging stars and there were… Read more »

John C

I don’t think we have been here before, our previous youth projects centred around players with absolutely no first team experience. Players like Fabregas, Denilson, Bendtner, Djourou, Senderos, Wilshere, Ramsey, Jenkinson, Gibbs hardly had a first team appearance between them. There was no evidence that could play at the required level at all.

Whilst White, Tomiyasu, Odegaard and Ramsdale have all made over 100 first team appearances, so there’s not the same level of risk.

Mick Malthouse

I’d be interested to know how he thinks we ended up in a place where the squad is so bad that we need this wholesale upheaval? What was the plan during the years of buying mediocrity, much of which happened during his watch? Suddenly we have a plan?

ChickPEA

To be fair, a large part of the shit buying happened before he arrived, in the dreadful 2016-2019 run, which started with the infamous transfer window where we spent almost £100m on Xhaka, Mustafi and Perez, included Özil’s contract renewal, the Alexis/Mkhitaryan swap, the decision not to renew nor sell Ramsey, buying Laca then Auba 6 months later, big recruitment mistakes such as Lichtsteiner or Sokratis, and ultimately spending another £100m on Pepe+Saliba (which I think was more Raul’s doing than his, given the timing). The only good parts in all that period were the purchase of Auba, and the… Read more »

Giuseppe Hovno

Spot on chickpea. The xhaka/Ozil renewal year has looked worse and worse with hindsight

Fabulous

Exactly my sentiments. Edu and Arteta talks like they finally have a squad, what in the world were they doing the last 1 1/2 years?

All that aside Arteta and Edu has used up that excuse of not having a proper squad, now if the team fails then it’s definitely no hiding for the two of them anymore.

WayBackWhen

It didn’t entirely happen on his watch and the aged/aging high salaried players were also before his time.

Absolutely not defending the poor signings (although even Arsene and Ferguson got it wrong sometimes) but they’re fixing issues from more than the last two seasons.

Any criticism of previous management would be frowned on as well – explaining why we needed the rebuild is a no win.

Frank Bascombe

Are completely mad?

Nostalgic Gooner

Masochist – “a person who takes pleasure in pain and suffering”.

SarcasmB0T

Sadist – “a person who takes pleasure in the pain and suffering of others.”

Drew

How does this plan not include William Saliba?

UzesGooner

Exactly

Duny

Have you actually seen Saliba play? He is not that guy

SarcasmB0T

What about seeing Holding, Chambers, Mari, Kolašinac, or for that matter, White has convinced you they are?

Mpls

How many matches has White played with us?

Isn’t it just a smidge hasty to fire up the negativity about a player’s quality and the wisdom of signing him after 1 match?

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

I think it’s a typo😁😁😁

SarcasmB0t

Um, how many games has Saliba played for us?

I only mentioned White because in the one game he did play for us, he looked like he wasn’t remotely good enough.

My point wasn’t that he isn’t – or isn’t going to be – but rather that if Duny is so quick to dismiss Saliba as “not that guy”, then White surely hasn’t done enough to convince either.

It’s not that White shouldn’t be given time to impress, it’s that Saliba should have been given that time too.

Savage

Who says it doesn’t? He’s still our player next season, but with another year of experience under his belt.

Futsboller

It does include William Saliba, as Edu and Arteta have said time and again. Clubs loan out young players all the time. Did you know that Saliba is under contract with Arsenal until June 2024?

WayBackWhen

Exactly – similar to the cries of play Flo! Followed by – he’s too young! (after Brentford)

MidAgeGoon

Nice one WayBackWhen

Laca New Signing

I’ll trust the process when I can enjoy watching Arsenal play “the Arsenal way” as in the good old days of Arsene Wenger. For now watching the team is like watching clothes dry ☹️

Vonnie

“the Arsenal way” died about five years before Arsene Wenger was fired, there were plenty of games that were like watching clothes/paint dry. Those games aren’t on the highlights reels so everyone puts on their rose tinted glasses to reminisce about the good old days. This train smash has been a long time coming and Arsene and Gazidis were at the start of it, bad signings by supposed “Diamond Eye” followed by dodgy Sanllehi. The idea of signing some experienced heads to guide the ship proved to be a costly failure and it’s good to see that Edu and the… Read more »

allezkev

Great comment, doesn’t fit the narrative currently swirling around the media/press as Arsenal in crisis is what sells ads online.

Andy

Spot on. We are now synonymous with dull sideways tikka takka, or more often, just tikka, as the opposition press the shite our of our feeble, glacially slow midfield.

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

If our playing style in a bad game under Arteta is synonymous with tiki-taka, then what is our playing style in a good game synonymous with? Shaolin Soccer?

Gunnerlocutor

Tikki kaka?

Frank Bascombe

Vonnie, consistently best poster on here, gets 19 downvotes (as of Sat 15;41) just about says it all.

Qwaliteee

Most of us on here aren’t bothered about the votes – we have the small matter of our club being bottom of the pile and serving up boring rudderless shite in the name of football.

El Mintero

Vonnies’s comment is about 75% factual. The rot started last 5 years of Wenger era, true. However he fails when stating edu’s youth policy will be the savior of us. Yeah, we all get it, sign younger players instead of Willian but ffs make sure they are actually fkn decent to begin with. The clubs above us all sign younger players too – players that are actually in demand. We sign younger players that no one gives a fuck about. And not because Edu is some sort of talent spotting genius!

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

He? I thought Vonnie was short for Veronica and the user is a woman 🤔

I think there’s some truth to what you’re saying, even if it’s harshly said😁. Sambi said he rejected bids from Serie A clubs. So besides him, Tomi and White, the other players had no concrete interest from elsewhere during this window.

I don’t know what that says about their quality as young players but if 4/6 turn out good, that would be fine.

Fosterkid

I always find project youth a massive risk. Who says Saka, Smith Rowe etc are going to hang around whilst we finish 7th or 8th for the next two years ? This sort of project needs to be supplemented by 3 or 4 really established well performing senior players which we do not have. I really hope it works , but something tells me that this is going to fail.

Frank Bascombe

Edu stated, quite clearly, that they’d be adding those at the appropriate time. So much work needs doing that buying one or two hotshots won’t make much difference. They’ve been doing that for a few years and look where it’s got us. Try reading the article.

Daveo

The scary part here is he just listed xhaka and leno as basically untouchables. Perfectly backs up blogs point of lack of accountability. Oh well, good luck in your next jobs Edu and mikel.

Fireman Sam

Yeah I sympathised a bit until he went on about how great Xhaka is. Guess Edu doesn’t actually watch any games?

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

There’s a short clip circulating of Edu and his wife at the Chelsea match. A frustrated supporter spots Edu and gestures that the he is unhappy with the match. Edu, who is aware at this point, tries to ignore the supporter as he walks away. Hilariously, his wife gives the supporter the middle finger 😁.

Finsbury Park Gooner

Edu may not be perfect, Arteta may not be perfect, but I back this plan 100% and personally won’t be passing judgment on it until I’ve seen us actually field our first choice 11 for a few games.

Bishop

Except we stay bottom of the league till December, I will give Arteta the whole season and another season if we finish in the top half of the league table.

Fabulous

You mean like the last 3 years then? A top 8 finish is acceptable? After the biggest outlay in the recent transfer window? Which world do you live in mate.

Atom

Arteta needs to show real progress tactically and in man management skills in the next few games or he’s likely out. Going youth is a smart idea in terms of squad building , but that shouldn’t suddenly mean that Arteta is under no pressure to perform.

Qwaliteee
  • Unfortunately a lot of people, who think a training ground victory means top four incoming, are playing right into his (and Edu’s) hands.

The rest of us, the ones who aren’t prepared to accept indefinite mediocrity, can see right through it all.

Let’s hope the owners wise up to this scheming pair and their wool pulling PR BS soon as well.

John C

The irony being that your acceptance of years of mediocrity under Wenger is why we’re in this position!

Qwaliteee

Arsene left in 2018.

It’s now 2021 and we are two managers down the line.

Blaming Wenger for what’s happening three years after his departure.

You don’t know what you’re talking about pal.

Alan Sunderland

Think some fans think there’s something honourable about giving a manager time, it will be the same all season no matter how bad we get. We will go on a 5 game winning streak at end of season and they’ll get excited. Best record of any team beginning with A over the last ten games. Arteta needs more time, when partey/gabriel/martinelli are fit then we can judge him, rinse and repeat.

Atom

The issue really becomes you risk losing the real gems like Saka as they reach a point where they want to win and not just constantly rebuild.

Alan Sunderland

Exactly, to me we shouldn’t be paying arteta 5 million a year to serve his apprenticeship as a manager. He’s champions league final pep every week.

Qwaliteee

As I keep saying, this is Arsenal Football Club, not a college for rookie managers.

Alan Sunderland

The problem is we’re not acting like arsenal. People on here think it’s fine to write off the Chelsea and Manchester city games as losses before the kickoff. We didn’t even compete in those games, in the city game we quit.

Qwaliteee

If we ‘enjoy’ another season like last season, then Saka will definitely be on to his agent to look around for another club.

Ditto ESR.
Ditto Tierney.
Ditto Pepe.
Ditto Auba.

WayBackWhen

Is also true that chopping and changing managers leads to constant disruption, squad turnover, uncertainty. I’m not defending MA but managerial change doesn’t guarantee anything and there’s always the Ferguson lesson from 1990 when (BBC report) “..a large part of United’s supporters wanted Ferguson (the knighthood was another nine years away) out of the club.” “United had lost at home to Crystal Palace the previous month, prompting a banner in the Stretford End that accused Ferguson of presiding over “three years of excuses” at Old Trafford.” “Whether he would have survived remains one of football’s great imponderables because instead Mark… Read more »

Atom

The primary issue is they MA isn’t really showing any signs of developing as a manager

WayBackWhen

I understand the argument but there are always reasons to wait, for instance is there a new manager lined up, who would be caretaker in the meantime(and what does the squad think about them)?

And it is fair to say we haven’t seen him working with “his” players.

I’m not convinced but if it were my decision I’d like to be more sure because there’s room for doubt and there are downsides if it’s done too quickly.

Atom

Change always brings risk. The underlying question is simply if we’ve seen enough development from MA in terms of tactics, getting the most out of this team & man management to believe he’s the right man to take us forward. The answer is overwhelmingly no imo regardless of results the next few games. It’s also worth pointing out that even without the new players, Arteta has been playing primarily with his guys. He just hasn’t done a great job at spitting talent. Cedric, Mari & Willian were all his signings. Xhaka, holding, Auba have all signed new contracts under him… Read more »

Alan Sunderland

Agree that changing the manager could be a mistake, I just think that keeping him delays the inevitable. I don’t think he can set the team up to score goals, even chances have been hard to come by.

Alan Sunderland

We went 3-0 behind at west ham, I don’t think that’s a positive.

WayBackWhen

Agree about that but I was asking about the hypothetical point that was made above which is “if we go on an 5 match unbeaten run, everyone will want him to stay”.

I was asking why losing three games means he should go and then (potentially) winning 5 games means he should go as well.

Alan Sunderland

If we’re a serious club, we should be trying to win. Keeping arteta is like playing balagoun up front all season. There might be talent there, but he doesn’t have the experience. I don’t think anyone would think it’s a good idea to play balogun every week until he gets it. Why is it a good idea to watch arteta struggle and get outcoached until there’s no option but to get rid of him.

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

At least the United fans had seen Ferguson finish in the top 4 twice before 1990. As you said there was a track record to measure Ferguson’s performance against. Even if clubs were more patient with managers back then, that’s still something. Predicting where other teams will be by the end of the season is hard. Though I’d guess that Man Utd may be focused on either a domestic or European semifinal at that stage, so we’d see a heavily rotated side. West Ham, meanwhile, may have tapered off due to exhaustion and distraction from European competition. If those scenarios… Read more »

I agree, it’s not the strongest argument.

It was just a response to say waiting a bit longer isn’t about being ‘honourable’ – there are always doubts and precedents (like Ferguson) which make people (owners) pause before firing someone.

Qwaliteee

Dude, managers like Ferguson (much as I hate the chewing gum red nose, his record speaks for itself) come around once in a lifetime.

You may not be defending Arteta, but you’re also saying let’s not be hasty because he could turn out to be like Manchester United’s greatest manager of all time. (Yes, I think he tops even Matt Busby).

Ferguson’s teams played strong attacking football. Arteta’s team(s) serve up pap.

WayBackWhen

Not saying that at all, I’ve got no idea if he’ll be half the manager Ferguson was. It’s an example of what contributes to the nagging doubt of football decision makers. No-one knew Ferguson was going to be the manger he became. Utd had undergone years of stagnation with an odd cup success, the frustration levels were as high there then as they are with us now – really comparable both clubs with their glory years disappearing in the rear-view mirror. My only point is it’s a consideration for owners when sacking/retaining a manager as well as the pragmatic issues:… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Mate, I think even this club’s hierarchy, bumbling as they are, are capable of firing and hiring. We have the perfect replacement staring us in the face and reports from the Spainish media are already suggesting that after the latest dogs dinner up at Manchester City, the Kroenkes made contact with him and more or less agreed a deal in principle. I’ve heard all sorts of rhubarb about why he only works with experienced players (we’ve got those) and will want to bring in his own players (name me a manager who doesn’t in his first new window) and, my… Read more »

WayBackWhen

Agree it’s easy to fire, managing continuity’s harder.

But if these reports are true, we’re probably in violent agreement – there are multiple reasons for not acting until something potentially better is ready.

I’m not arguing for individuals (although the bile directed towards individuals is pretty sickening, whatever their levels of competence), I’m arguing for process.

Time to do it properly this time.

Qwaliteee

Agreed. But the board have to act swiftly as well as smartly. We are currently haemorrhaging points. Time is already running out. Yes, we are (at the time of writing) only three into thirty eight, but such is the total and utter absence of any semblance of team ethic or game plan, that we’re already looking good for a relegation battle and it’s going to take the minor miracle of Arteta completely binning his current football ‘philosophy’ (heh!) and drastically change our tactical manifesto and playing style, to prevent it. In other words start keeping possession whilst making inroads (triangles)… Read more »

WayBackWhen

I feel calmer about this (sort of like conceding an early goal – in a balanced game), there’s a long way to go –

but the clock’s ticking.

WayBackWhen

Was the down vote for ‘long way to go’ or ‘the clock’s ticking’? Lol.

Thought I’d fecking covered both eventualities there but obviously there’s an undiscovered dimension I’m unaware of.

WayBackWhen

Down votes from Dr Who and Brian Cox (also a Dr)

Qwaliteee

Yeah. Its early days, but we’ve had it. It’s a bit like when we went 0-1 down to West Ham in the 1980 FA Cup Final, when the ball hit Trevor Brooking on the head and went in. It may have only been the 13th minute, but our threadbare squad of only 19 players total was knackered (they finished that season having played 70 first class matches) and Wembley was roasting under a boiling sun – seriously, it was about 110 in your pants. Apparently Don Howe (then the first team coach) got the players under the showers at half… Read more »

WayBackWhen

That Brooking header really still annoys the p*ss out of me.

Losing the Final was obviously bad but that really gets to me.

Brooking.Doesn’t.Head.The.Ball!!

Daveo

While I agree totally, it’s funny that you can’t see how your doing exactly the same thing with your xhaka love. He’ll have a few solid games, usually when it doesn’t matter that much, and secure his place in the first XI for the whole season and next season and you’ll be looking for other reasons and overlooking his errors, his limitations and his red cards as Always.

Alan Sunderland

When have I said anything other than xhaka an ordinary player? I just think it’s pathetic that some people blame him for all this team’s problems. Do you look under your bed at night to see if xhaka’s hiding under there before you go to sleep.

Daveo

Not under the bed, but I am starting to look at the team sheet to see if he’s there before I commit to watching. It’s just not enjoyable watching him do the same dumb shit over and over.

Alan Sunderland

He’s not playing the next 3 games mate, the only way he starts vs palace is because the players who replace him don’t play as well.

Daveo

I really wish partey was fit right now. Crushing…

Alan Sunderland

He’s not playing the next 3 games mate. If he plays vs palace its because the players who replace him play worse. Arsenal don’t belong to the Kroenke’s the managers or the players, their all just passing through. Don’t let any of them put you off watching.

Daveo

Nah, it’s because he a witch and has mind control over mikel and edu? The alternate world be he’s a jedi, which would prove edu and mikel are weak of mind. However, he’d have to be a Sith lord in that scenario as he had not so many traits of a jedi. Either way I don’t think this scenario as likely as he is too limited physically to be either. Thus, he is a witch. “it’s a fair cop”.

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

I see you’ve adopted the Thierry Henry strategy😂.

Frank Bascombe

A far more balanced one than you – mate.

Qwaliteee

I don’t see much ‘balance’ at the moment.

Biggest spenders in the Premiership and bottom of the table.

I’d say the scales are a heavy tad more cons than pros, wouldn’t you?

Announce Bendtner

“Biggest spenders” is a myth when you consider overall cost of players (fee and wages).

The likes of Conte would not want to work with these players and we can’t afford the players we need to compete with top 4.

Qwaliteee

How do you know Conte wouldn’t want to work with these players – have you spoken to him?

Most of those players are full Internationals. They didn’t attain that status playing for Mikel Arteta.

We actually have a squad more than capable of hitting top 6 – that was before the transfer window opened.

We’ve finished 8th twice on the bounce due to Arteta’s mismanagement.

We’re currently bottom of the Premiership due to Arteta’s mismanagement.

And, assuming Arteta stays, when finish mid table yet again this year, it won’t be down to the players. It’ll be down to Arteta’s mismanagement.

Rich

Biggest spend in the PL broken down White – played 1 game, caught COVID Sambi – 21, even the very best needed some time Tavares – Backup left back, low risk, potentially high reward, for a position that needed filling Odegaard – played 1 game against the Champions Tomiyasu – Playing in China today, won’t be back until the end of the week, yet to link up with the squad Ramsdale – we needed a backup keeper, whether we were wise to spend this type of money, only time will tell Last season our two big purchases we’re Partey +… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Mate, there isn’t a team on the planet that has its best XI playing consistently. Injuries and suspensions affect everyone – not just us. The trick to any successful squad is to have everyone singing from the same sheet – and it’s not easy. George Graham was the best example of this; he had the reserves and youths trained exactly the same way as the first team. Even Arsene struggled a little during his early days and the most famous example of recovery was the Christmas team talk of 1997/98. The team never looked back. I watched us up at… Read more »

WayBackWhen

That’s funny. Do you really think we’ll be bottom of the league until Dec? It seems like we’re trying to out catastrophise each other. How about? “MAs man-management is becoming so draconian I bet he’s going to start kicking all the players really hard up the arse at the start of training – and I bet Edu doesn’t do anything!” or “MA’s so egotistical he’s going to remove all the statues of players around the ground, melt them down and make one massive statue of him riding a lion! And I bet the owners still won’t do anything!” “Some fans… Read more »

Atom

You didn’t read his comment. Bishop is arguing here and in many other comments that performance really shouldn’t matter in terms of Arteta being in charge. He’s saying Arteta should be in charge for the entire year UNLESS we’re 20th mid- year and should get another year minimum if he finishes higher than 11th. Basically there are no real standards for MA

WayBackWhen

You’re right.

Sorry bishop.

I hadn’t even been drinking.

I snapped with all the ‘personality’ based b*llshit.

What a tit.

Sorry.

Alan Sunderland

How do you think our next 3 games are going to go? Norwich home, Burnley away, spurs home. Two teams that will finish in the bottom half of the league and our local rivals. What would be a good return from those games. To me it should be 6 points minimum, 7 if we draw with spurs. I can honestly see us getting 2 or 3 points. I don’t think people realize how bad we are looking. We could easily be in the bottom 3 after 7 games. We are going backwards we don’t even do the basics of defending,… Read more »

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

9 points should be the minimum just to break even on our current deficit. Though I agree, under a training wheels coach, 2 points seems more realistic.

WayBackWhen

9 is possible 7 would be good and I see that permutation working in a number of ways: Drawing with Norwich with loads of possession and chances but unlucky finishing. Drawing with Burnley – their fans back in the ground being a big factor. Drawing with Tottenham – teams cancel each other out. 5 – with a win against Tottenham (happy-ish with that if there’s progress in performances) 3 or less – struggling for reasons to be happy – increased pressure, media scrutiny, lack of confidence – not going to be pretty and I hope there are initial talks with… Read more »

WayBackWhen

And should have added my one nagging doubt is that we haven’t had a strong team available.

We have looked bad but the biggest question is can he get a tune out of a strong line up against ‘weaker’ teams AND the clubs we’re more realistically competing with.

2 or 3 points and the writing’s on the wall.

Hope the Wimbledon game can give a sort of bounce.

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

Perhaps not rock bottom but I can’t think of any manager/team in a top 5 league who have started the season so abysmally and then gone on to have a trailblazing season. It just doesn’t happen. Your average league team with a record similar to ours (as of matchday 3), usually finds itself still in the relegation zone by December.

The backroom staff at the club have never experienced a serious relegation dogfight before. They couldn’t take our current situation seriously even if they tried

Alan Sunderland

His backroom staff might be part of the problem. He could of done with a more experienced coaching staff, maybe an older ex manager.

Qwaliteee

How about three seasons? Or make it a nice round four?
Best of five? How about six, to go with the goals we scored at West Brom? Nah, let’s give him a decade.

🙄

El Mintero

He gets the season and if he gets us top 6 and back into Europe then he gets next season too, where he’ll be judged on top 4. If he doesn’t get us top 6 then he’ll be gone. And you can finally stop fkn moaning. Until the next Kroenke scrub shows up…

Laca New Signing

I’ll trust the process when I can again enjoy watching an Arsenal match – winning, losing or drawing but playing “the Arsenal way” as in the good old days of Arsene Wenger. For now watching this team is like watching clothes dry on a cloudy day. No zeal, no magical moments, no individual brilliance, no nice and well coordinated team goals ☹️

Arteta definitely has his work cut out for him. No more excuses.

Jai

Amazing how they think this “project”, which we all know is total nonsense and another buzzword to con the fans, needs Mikel Arteta to be the manager in order to work. You telling me there’s no actual qualified managers out there that can have us above 20th and not constantly break negative records?

WayBackWhen

TBH I’m not sure I can think of any manager who could have got a win against Chelsea and City given the respective players. And the Brentford game felt like a one-off cup tie (and I’ve seen better Arsenal sides than this lose to much worse sides than Brentford). Someone else might have kept the score more respectable but Xhaka’s red card wasn’t exactly an instruction from the bench. I don’t think the “project’s” nonsense (compared the approach to George’s early days above). Who do you think should come in and how what transfer approach would you have taken during… Read more »

Fireman Sam

Xhaka red card was not an instruction from the bench: true, no doubt, but who decided to play this hot headed turkey in the first place? Was anyone, literally any Arsenal observer, actually surprised in the slightest that this goon got himself sent off and let his team down?

Alan Sunderland

The brentford game was pathetic mate, they were prepared and competed, we looked like a pub team that met 30 minutes before the game that had never played together. What was arteta coaching all summer? It wasn’t a secret that we had to play brentford in the 1st game. A lot of people on here, and every pundit that follows the championship new exactly how they play, and that they were good on set pieces. Our coaching team seemed to be taken by surprise.

Vonnie

Maybe a bit taken by surprise that both our senior strikers and our new central defender were suddenly unavailable? Having to get to the match individually because they weren’t allowed to use the team busses? That match set a precedent, even if you have four players out with Covid you need to play, it can’t have been easy.

Alan Sunderland

Our new central defender played, willian and runarsson were 2 of the four. I would have thought he probably would only played 1 of aubameyang and lacazette. I don’t think not having aubameyang excuses the total lack of cohesion in the 1st game of the season. Brentford had 3 starters missing, and 3 new signings starting, didn’t seem to bother them.

WayBackWhen

I’m not defending the Brentford game, I’m saying it wasn’t the gimme some people expected (especially with the late withdrawals of Laca and Auba).

It had the vibe of a cup tie with a lower league team really ripping up their league and we had a weakened team.

Not saying it’s ok, not saying I’m happy and not saying MA’s going to succeed but I do think it’s not possible to judge based on these three games.

Alan Sunderland

I had enough of the excuses after the liverpool game last season. It was probably the worst performance I had ever seen from an arsenal team. Every man and his dog knows how they play, except arteta apparently. It was the same in the previous game against them when he filled up the middle of the pitch and let their fullbacks have the ball. There always seems to be excuses, but the truth of it most of the time is that he makes a series of strange tactical changes for every game, none of which seem to work. After 18… Read more »

WayBackWhen

I get it, that’s a reasonable response.

The difficulty for the owners/decision makers is that reasons to retain MA can be identified and reasons for ‘failures’ can be found (whether we agree with those is of course what the debate’s about).

To be fair as far as this season’s concerned I’m trying to separate reasons from excuses.

Qwaliteee

A few of the former and no shortage of the latter.

Philip Visser

I found the 5 senior players named by Edu interesting, both for the names itself and who is not mentioned. The 5 includes a Xhaka who has an awful discipline record on the field, a captain likes to flaunt his money and has a rocky disciplinary record off the field, a goal keeper prone to mistakes… Doesn’t give me confidence at all. The youngsters I suggest should set the standard as the older guys clearly have failed.

Gearoid Kelly

I’d be more worried that the 2 “leaders” you mentioned want out of the club.

Daveo

My sentiments exactly. We’re trying to build around some questionable characters and players that just aren’t good enough. What does it say to the guys stuck behind them if they get dropped despite being one of the best players in the early going for a donkey we’ve seen make the same stupid mistakes over and over and just be bang ordinary. Not how I’d be rebuilding

UzesGooner

Overmars please !

We should have signed Saul Niguez on loan. Could’ve got rid of Elneny and he’s an upgrade on Xhaka, with loads of experience…..

allezkev

True, we could have signed him, but if you’re Saul Niguez and you have a choice, Arsenal or European Champions, club in flux vs club that spends endlessly on new players, where would you go?

UzesGooner

True !

loose_cannon

That’s very true but the one thing I think we could guarantee him is playing time. I’m not sure how many minutes he’ll get for Chelsea ahead of Kante, Jorginho and Kovacic, but he’d walk into our team.

baz00r

Why would have Saul come to Arsenal in the current state, when he had suitors like Chelsea interested? This ain’t Football Manager “we should have signed this guy, we should have signed that guy” yeh doesn’t quite work like that. The player has to want to come to the club in the first place.

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

Signing Saul would be like signing Coutinho, Isco or Gareth Bale. Saul’s “stock” has fallen considerably in the last two seasons. Regardless of our current standing, he’s not quite the marquee player you’re portraying him to be.

UzesGooner

On a loan he’s gotta be better than Xhaka or Elneny?

Reiss Neverseen vs DicTetaBall

That’s a given. It’s like comparing a Mini Cooper S to a Reliable Robin.

loose_cannon

The full interview is very interesting, you can infer a large part of what Edu thinks the first 11 should be. He implies are starting back 4 should be Tierney-Gabriel-White-Tomiyasu, and that Xhaka-Partey should be our starting midfield. He even went as far as to say that because we have Xhaka and Partey, we didn’t need to strengthen in midfield, even though one has serious fitness issues and the other is total liability.

Gunnerlocutor

I noticed that too. I think those guys should be in the starting XI but not sure they will be reliable enough over the course of the season. We REALLY need Sambi to be able to rotate in and be special. If so, could make a huge difference.

loose_cannon

It’s probably not going to happen but I’d like to think that Arteta will consider playing a 4-3-3 in some games, with Ødegaard and ESR as 8s and ideally Partey holding. I think that would be especially useful against the more defensively minded teams, and it reduces our reliance on Sambi.

SEGooner

For all the grief he gets, he is a person with a clear idea. We can’t argue that he was wrong to sign a back-up left back for example (as the interviewer tries to needle him about), he and Mikel have seen all the gaps we have have delivered a plan to close them. The only concerns for me are a) Ben White at £50m looks like we got done…but I only base that on the Brentford game and I hope he shows me that he actually can defend…and b) I just can’t understand the decision not to move on… Read more »

jimbo

If you finish 8th 2 years in a row the idea shoud to be to sign players who move straight into the 1st 11 young or not. These players who have been here stinking the pace out year after year are still the main 1st 11. they shoud be bench material and squad fodder at best.
Im sick of this be patient bullshit weve been hearing this since we moved to the emirates

MojoWillneny

The youth strategy is the correct one. Over the past several years Arsenal Football Club has become the place where aging uninspired players go to prepare for retirement on inflated wages. Fixing that problem with limited funds was always going to be a big challenge. The six young signings from this window, plus Tierney, Gabriel, ESR, Saka, Martinelli (and maybe also Balogun, Azeez, Patino, and Hutchinson) will become the NEW core at the club. I want to see them change club culture as displayed on the pitch—more fight, more grit, more graft, and still with Arsenal flare and Arsenal technical… Read more »

Philip Visser

The strategy is fine except it seems to be premises on every thing going perfectly, ie, “the squad playing together” as Edu repeatedly said. However it’s unrealistic to expect in the real world that things will go perfect every time. Therefore I expect similar inconsistency when the real world intersects with the strategy.

Nicholas Jordan

I’m concerned he’s “really happy” with the plan that commenced a year ago (Signing Cedric and Pablo Mari on permanent deals, extended David Luiz contract, Runarsson, the Willian disaster), if he were to put his hands up and admit mistakes were made I would at least be able to take him more seriously. He’s very keen to point out what he believes he did right, not much mention of the many (and some very significant) mistakes.

SEGooner

I’m not sure it’s worth him saying that though? Yes, it makes us as fans feel better that he’s not an idiot…but the flip side is that he totally burns any relationship the club has with those players by publicly mugging them off (when they can’t leave until January). What’s the value in that?

Fireman Sam

Edu could at least be a bit more contrite about Wilian’s awful spell at Arsenal and for signing him on that inflated wage. It would show he’s at least taking some learnings as he goes. I understand his rationale for signing Wilian at the time, fair enough, and he couldn’t predict just how utterly shite the player would be, but admitting failure when it happens is a sign of strength not weakness.

aarnavp

you obviously didnt watch the whole interview. after the season, edu asked willian what was wrong. willian said he doesn’t feel comfortable. and edu was pretty ruthless in trying to move him out once he heard that

WayBackWhen

Just for the record, I recall disquiet about the Willian deal being the length of the contract, not the player himself.

Remember quite a bit of buzz when he was seen chatting with Martinelli at the Cup Final.

Not defending some of these but the being wise after the event stuff is boring.

heihaci

so now its trust the project instead of process. Project youth didnt work with Wenger so why would it work with Pep’s former coneman?

WayBackWhen

Just out of interest, why the personal insults? MA wore the shirt, captained the club, lifted trophies and by reliable accounts works really hard. He might not be the answer, he might have to go but where’s the respect? This club is known for class and heritage. I’m sick of toxic entertainment seekers masquerading as ‘supporters’. This club has a long history, much of it without continued success – the family ties, the community, the shared emotions – those things are the point, with winning and glory (hopefully) as often as possible. Criticise the manager, call for an alternative, expect… Read more »

heihaci

really missing world class players like Alexis Sanchez, Santi, Fabregas,Van Persie etc

Vonnie

I think we may get one or two next year, listen carefully to what he said in the Sky interview, now we’ve got this huge reset over we’ll be back to bringing in one or two each season. He was after Lautaro Martinez and reportedly looking at Alexander Isak,

heihaci

why would these players want to come to our team especially if we keep finishing 8th and with Col Arteta?

Vonnie

Hopefully we’re back in Europe next season, a young dynamic team on the up, who knows, it’ll be interesting to see what happens.

Vonnie

So “hopefully we’re back in Europe next season, a young dynamic team on the up” is now a statement for down votes. Says everything we need to know about some of the supposed Arsenal “fans”.

WayBackWhen

Exactly.

Andy

“I don’t want to go for top four or top six or top eight or top 10,” …. So, top 12?

Badaab

That he has to mention specific numbers of deals (including extensions which happened outside the window) makes it seem like he wants yo appear busier and more proactive than he has been.
Failure to generate any revenue through sales on veteran players with big contracts is a big miss by edu and company.

Bob's Mexican Cousin

Headline is a head scratcher. What could he possibly be happy about?

PEA14

So who’s the 5 player not mentioned?
Laca?

PEA14

5th

adriano

I feel exactly as Edu said in the last paragraph. I’m just excited for the squad and the season and want to see everyone healthy. I cannot understand the negativity within the fanbase.

Theodoro

You are right. We cant play football unless we have every player available.

gOD

In an ideal world, this team will stay togetherness…but in the real world, will be waiting to see how this team does in the next 2 years if they are not picked by the likes of Real Madrid, Barca and PSG when the world goes back to reset.

Cowadunga

I really really want to trust and believe in Edu. He seems like a really nice guy, just maybe a bit naive in regards to media and publicity, perhaps.

Theodoro

“Yes, I understand the reason because firstly, they have not seen the team playing together yet.” Poor Mikel didnt have a full squad so the fans should stop crying about the first 3 games. Its impossible to win against Brentford without a full squad, the fans must understand this! “I want to see the team play together and then let’s judge the team when they play together. Then, after that, no problem. Judge us then.” We have obviously been disgustingly bad in the first 3 games but we didnt have a full squad. Its only when we have a full squad… Read more »

Gabigol

No question on why he approved mega contracts to Willian, Auba and Ozil. Why was the strategy completely one sided with no finesse ? I mean completely about experience, ignoring resale And now completely about age/resale rather than being able to hit the ground running. It’s always been Revolution, there still need to be some evolution, and I’m not sure the plan is doing that. And because it is two philosophies which haven’t taken each other into account, we still have a team very much in transition. And that puts stress on the manager. All the time he is trying… Read more »

Santori

These wankers are just buying time and there are plenty of gullible fans who would sip the wank. ‘Building for the future’ simply gives them a cushion for mediocrity and they know wwe are UNLIKELY to get into europe with this toss. We’ve tossed away over 120m quid on bang average players 1) White. For 50m , you don’t want promise, you want the real deal NOW. He looked out of sorts first game. We already laid out massively on Saliba for 25m on a player who barely featured 20 games for first team in France. They are just throwing… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Absolutely fucking brilliant post.

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

If there is indeed a ‘process’, it’s to pull the wool over as many sets of gullible eyes as possible. So many Gooners in complete denial about this pair – it beggars belief.

I’m done with them both – Arteta and Edu. Give me Conte and Overmars (who have both been recently contacted by Kroenke) any day.