by Christophe Jost
I feel good.
Yep, that is how a feel about Arsenal. Really. No kidding. No sarcasm. And I am not day-dreaming either, I think.
Let me explain.
As I mentioned the other day, Arsenal have 4 contracts expiring this summer. One is an Arsenal player, Matt Macey. the 3 players on loan are Dani Ceballos, Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari.
There are 5 players loaned out: Saliba, Elneny, Mavropanos, Mkhitaryan and Smith Rowe.
Except for new player Aaliba, all the others have played with the Arsenal shirt on.
So one important thing stands out: stability.
Our coach, Arteta knows the club and has started to remodel the team and in a couple of months, it must be said that his style has started to become much more visible, along with results taking an ascending curve in terms of points.
He is in for the long term. His football philosophy is not so different then M. Wenger’s, and also has a Guardiolan input, so we are in good hands.
The second important thing that stands out: continuity
Young Gunners, under the management of Per Mertesacker, have shown promise and are seeing that the road to the first team is possible. Better still, Arsenal does not hesitate to get them hours on the field in other teams and leagues in the hope that they will come back that much better for the experience.
There is a home-grown succession path already existing and looks not just promising, but realistic.
Third important thing: sustainability.
Team and support staff operate in an environment at the centre of which we have the Emirates.
The stadium has been paid for. The training infrastructures are high level. And all have been operating for years without a problem. Indeed the infrastructure is first class, it does not need ironing out and it doesn’t have the discomfort of a building site around.
Fourth element: solidity
The management structure has been growing and they have professionals who know their stuff.
It is self-evident that they know how to handle contracts, are capable of finding solutions to stay within budget, are not afraid to invest. They also have top class analytics, medical staff, youth staff.
Fifth element: professionalism
Now comes the one cloud on the horizon.
All that is pointless unless the club has money coming in. And Arsenal’s ambitions are visible considering their wage bill, the 4th highest in the PL. followed closely by Chelsea and Everton.
For all the pseudo commotion about players being asked to accept pay cuts in this period, I have my doubt that it will not happen. Most, if not every club will get a reduction of wages, whichever strategy is chosen. Their survival is at stake.
And while players may hear their agents telling them that so many clubs are waiting… they will also notice that most clubs, (except Bayern…) are facing a difficult situation and may not be so prone to hire expensive PL players.
I mean, has anyone read what happens at Barcelona?
I think the issue will be settled, the English media will present it as a total catastrophe, meltdown, rip-off, hold-up. Wanna place a bet?
But don’t worry, we’ll give you the explanations here in Untold – based on known facts.
I cannot say if the 12.5% pay cut Arsenal proposed to their team is outlandish. Nor if the promise to pay it back if the team qualify for the Champions League or whether paying half of it for EL qualification is fair.
I am not a player, nor an agent, nor the players’ union manager getting a huge salary. But if that huge salary comes with just a ‘don’t accept any cut’ negotiation strategy, I’d say the justification of that salary evades me.
But then, competence in the PL and FA is rarer than oxygen at the top of the Everest.
So for now, I believe Arsenal is in a far better situation than many other clubs. Not that it will be easy going. But they have decent cards in their hand. And they will see to resolve the issues.
When playing resumes, Arsenal will have to fight their way to the 5th place. Can they do it on merit? I believe so.
Ghost games will be a new experience for all teams. They will adapt. It will be more a one on one game then when played in front of tens of thousands of spectators. But the team will have had more time to get inside Arteta’s teaching and his methods. So it will be like a new season, with most of the injured players back in the squad.
And so, as I said, I feel good.
Take care and stay safe all of you
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