For a while on the administrative front the story has been around that Liam Brady will leave Arsenal.
At the time of the announcement of his departure, Ivan Gazidis said,
“Liam has a deep understanding of what it takes to discover and develop a talented youngster into someone who can perform at the highest level. He has made a massive contribution to Arsenal Football Club. It will be difficult to find a worthy successor but we will be looking for someone who can build on what Liam and his team have created.”
Who could he have been talking about? Who could spot Zelalem and Gnabry in a role as Academy Director?
One rumour that has been around is that the Almighty Dennis Bergkamp is in the frame, but he has said that although he very much wants to return to Arsenal it is not for Liam’s job.
However although any negative from Dennis is a disappointment, in a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph he did say that he did want to return in a while as a coach to the players, but not as manager, and he also revealed who else among the old boys would also like to return.
And it is quite a list.
Here is how he broached the subject: “The feeling Johan Cruyff has had for Barcelona, I have the same with Arsenal. At Arsenal it was a good click. I always enjoyed it. I never had a bad day there. It is always on my mind. It is part of my ambition to come back at some stage.
“I can’t really plan ahead. I know I will be at Ajax for at least another three or five years and then I don’t know. I don’t see myself being at Ajax for the rest of my coaching career. I don’t see myself as a manager. I see myself as being part of the coaching staff. I really enjoy that role, especially the individual training with the strikers.
“I’ve spoken to or have heard about others who would also love to come back. Steve Bould is there now which is excellent. I’ve spoken to Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry would love to come back to Arsenal one day. Tony [Adams] is a big option as well.”
On the issue of Özil he said, “ We’re all unique. But I do understand the similarities people see [between him and me] and I believe he can be very important to the team.
“It is still early days. He is a tremendous player with a lot of effective skills like controlling the ball, making creative passes and assists, taking the right position in the field every time. And he’s extremely experienced.
“Putting all that together I think you’ve got a player who can be the missing link in the Arsenal team, a player who will make a striker score goals, who will link up in Arsenal’s position-game and who will score goals as well.
“Özil knows exactly how to control the ball in what kind of space to give himself time. That’s the difference between the players and great players. With his intelligence and his touch and his skills, he is trying to do something right with every ball.”
Speaking of the ball to Giroud which moved on to Wilshere’s goal at West Bromwich Albion Dennis said, “With that pass it seems like Özil was already calculating what the next pass should be. So he puts the ball on the side which means Giroud’s only option is to pass it to the third player. The point is that there is a thought behind that pass. You see that with his control and his movement and that’s what I like.
“With all the respect to the other Arsenal players, I think he is the one who can make a difference. The other players are good in midfield. But you need someone of a high-level you can be good in all areas of the pitch.”
Dennis’ theory is that players adapt their play according to those who are around him. Vieira played in one way while Bergkamp was on the pitch, another way when not. So now the new Arsenal team is adapting to Özil, and playing in a new way for him.
As a final comment in the interview, as you would expect, Dennis made his position on the AAA very clear saying, “The things some of the fans were saying to Wenger were quite shocking. Arsène is a decent, normal guy and I’m sure he’s the first one who wants to win trophies.”
So not the announcement about coming back to replace Liam, but perhaps something even more dramatic. Henry as a forwards coach. Vieira coaching the midfield. Dennis coaching, well, stillness and speed.
(Stillness and speed is of Dennis’ autobiography)
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