The very structure of the club is in question with problems mounting for head coach Mikel Arteta as he bids to return them to where they believe they belong

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It was well before these farcical last two games that Mikel Arteta was feeling “let down” by senior Arsenal players. Problems that had been growing from before the coronavirus crisis became worse during the break. Arteta had been especially angry at some players saying they couldn’t join conference calls on safety protocols.

That helped make up his mind that he was going to have a clear-out. That, however, is where the problems only begin.

There are very few takers for the players who occupy the majority of the wage bill. Who, for example, who is going to go anywhere near matching a 31-year-old Mesut Ozil’s pay, or a 29-year-old Alexandre Lacazette’s? There’s little resale value in any of them.

That means that Arsenal can’t bring money in at a time when their finances are notoriously tight, which will pretty much ensure Arteta is stuck with the same squad. Hence David Luiz has been re-signed.

Arteta is becoming a victim of years of poor planning. Those who know the Basque say “he’s beginning to realise just how big this job is”.

Other figures within the Arsenal structure have been talking about something else related to finances throughout the break. They believe squads have to be looked at in new ways, and that they may have to follow “the Borussia Dortmund model” of younger playing pool. “If they can do it, why can’t we,” was one comment.

Well, there are actually a few reasons.

Arsenal had literally the perfect person to implement a Dortmund recruitment model in Sven Mislintat, since he did exactly that … at Dortmund. He quickly left in frustration, for reasons that represent so many of the current problems.

Mislintat has told people Arsenal are an “absolute mess”, “dysfunctional and with no clear plan”. While some of this should be caveated with the fact the German himself is emotional and can be difficult to work with, his complaints ring true. Mislintat felt the scouting structure was way too bloated, and that not enough of the many individuals involved were working towards any unifying idea. He tried to considerably trim it down, only to be blocked by head of football Raul Sanllehi.   Continue reading

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