By now, Regulars on BK will know about my reservations re Emery being the man we need to take us forward. It is sensible to say that we need to give him at least another season, and this very much sits with the club’s values, but the BoD will have to look further than the virtue of loyalty alone. Only if the BoD believe Emery is our man for the long term they should hold on to him. Does he have the vision, persuasion skills, tactical nous and ability to develop, and win over, our players to be that man? You tell me.
Unai was of course Gazidis’ man. From experience I know that if your boss leaves soon after your appointment it very often will become hard to hold on to your role. But I am going to assume that Kroenke will give Emery another year to show us what he really is about. As long as he also forces him to keep working with the established stars in the team, I am fine with it. I am sure Kroenke will not allow the absolute doom scenario of having to sack Emery in 5-10 months whilst having let go already the likes of Xhaka, Ozil, Laca or Auba. Midtable football will beckon then.
It is important that we reconnect with the legacy of Wengerball before it is too late, and the appointment of Freddie is a step in the right direction. Ljunberg was a reasonably talented midfielder but also gifted with a great work rate and a fox-like brain, and those three qualities led to a very successful career at Arsenal. I reckon it is a good sign that Emery will have an Invincible next to him on the bench next season. But Freddie is relative inexperienced and we cannot expect too much from this change by Emery in the next one or two seasons at least.
What we really need is an experienced number-two manager to Emery: somebody who gets the best out of the players on a one to one basis and is seen as an absolute authority; somebody who is passionate about getting the best out of our young talent and is a big proponent of playing total football/ Wengerball, and; somebody who is happy to work as a Nr2 to Emery for a long time.
This can only be one man and, as far as I am aware, he is not employed at the moment. Dennis Bergkamp was sacked by Ajax at the end of 2017 after a fallout with Directors vd Sar and Overmars. These things can happen but I have no doubt that Bergkamp had a big part to play in the current large group of talented youngsters at Ajax who made it to the semi-finals of the CL and won the Eredivisie in style last season. Such talents do not just arrive but need to be developed over a number of years, and Bergkamp played a big part in this (so I have been told).
At Arsenal we have a number of talented players coming through and it would be wonderful if Dennis could work with them and give them the confidence, skills and attitude to succeed at the top. Imagine Dennis working with the likes of Iwobi, AMN, Smith-Rowe, Nelson and Eddie: how much better would they become?!
But there are also the likes of Ozil, Auba, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Torreira and Laca who would really, really benefit from Bergkamp working with them and get the very best out of them in the next few seasons. Just thinking about this makes me excited!
Finally, I also believe that Bergkamp has the ability, persuasion skills and perseverance to work closely with Emery and establish the style of play and tactical disciplines required to compete again with the likes of Citeh and Pool. Dennis is calm and both humble and dominant when it matters, and this might just work well with the fiery, constantly tinkering Spaniard.
It is about time we bring him home. It probably will not happen but that does not stop me dreaming.