The Arsenal. The Pride of London. The Invincibles. Adams, Wright, Henry, Bergkamp, Keown, the list goes on. The decline of the once rulers of North London has been evident for some years now, but after a gloomy exit out of the Europa League to former manager Unai Emery’s Villarreal on Thursday evening and a season without Europe on the horizon for the first time since 1996, it’s a new low for Mikel Arteta and his Gunners.
Arsenal haven’t won the Premier League since 2003, but they have always been competitive…ish. Coming close to winning the Premier League on a couple of occasions, along with a handful of FA Cups. However, the current Arsenal side looks a million miles away from being able to compete with the top clubs. But what does this deep decline stem from?
When a business or a company is failing it is birthed from the bodies at the top. In Arsenal’s case that is Stan & Josh Kroenke. In 2018, Kroenke Sports & Entertainment offered 550 million in order to buy Alisher Usmanov shares. Kroenke then purchased the remaining shares to become the sole owner of Arsenal Football Club. The lack of investment from KSE and Arsenal’s deterioration seem to go hand in hand. Moreover, the money that has been given to Arsenal has been invested incredibly poorly. Huge contracts for aging players on the decline, overpaying for players in the market. Furthermore, in recent years Arsenal have lost their best assets for absolute zilch. Notably, in recent years, the awful transfer saga with Alexis Sanchez & Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Additionally, the loss of Aaron Ramsey to Juventus for free. It just further pushes the point that the people at the top aren’t in control, or simply, do not care.
Following this, there are now many questions over Mikel Arteta and if he is the right man to lead Arsenal forward, and with the exit from the Europa League, the pressure has just intensified tenfold. Why was he appointed in the first place? The Gunners are in the middle of a rebuild, to hopefully return to the promised land. Choosing an unexperienced manager because he was the assistant manager to Pep Guardiola was a questionable decision and now the repercussions are showing. Allegri, Rogers & Tuchel. All names of proven, successful managers that Arsenal were linked with before the appointment of Mikel. The rebuild of Arsenal is not for a novice, it’s a big job that needs a big name, and Arteta looks out of his depth…understandably.
What needs to happen? I caught up with lifelong Arsenal fan Harry, who gave his thoughts on the current Arsenal side, who his ideal replacement for Arteta would be and his expectations for the summer transfer window.
‘’The problem at Arsenal stems from the very top and filters down to the staff and players. Stan Kroenke isn’t a fit owner. He doesn’t care about the fans or the club. In the ideal world he should sell. Mikel Arteta isn’t ready for a job of this size. He’s inexperienced and makes ridiculous decisions like not playing Martinelli enough, loaning out William Saliba when our defence isn’t the best anyway, banishing Ozil when we didn’t have a replacement at the time. Even last night Auba hit the post twice and he (Arteta) subs him off for Willian. Finally, the players aren’t good enough, Bellerin, Dani Ceballos, Lacazette, Willian, Nketiah and more aren’t at the level we need. We have to rebuild, sell players and buy in a young fresh side, with an experienced manager.’’
‘’Ideal replacement manager would be Jürgen Klinsmann but that won’t happen. So probably Allegri, Eddie Howe or Diego Simeone’’
‘’My expectations are low for the transfer window. We always spend okay in a couple areas then leave out key positions. I expect a lot of dead wood to be sold. But I don’t think we will spend enough to fix any problems long term.’’
Feasting your eyes over social media in the last 24 hours tells you all you would need to know on how Arsenal fans feel about the current direction their club is heading, the pressure is mounting and something will have to give soon.