Arsenal’s problems go way beyond who their next manager will be

first_imgARSENAL need to scrap the emotion — it is at the centre of all that is wrong with the club.It is why the Gunners’ greatest ever boss Arsene Wenger was allowed to remain in the top job far too long.1 Ljungberg has made a poor start so farCredit: Getty Images – GettyBut managers, like players, grow old and have to step aside.It’s not easy to part ways with a club icon but if they are not willing to move, they must be pushed.That takes strong leadership and, unfortunately, that is what has been sorely lacking at the Emirates for a number of years.And the club only have to look down the road to see what decisiveness looks like.SPURS CONTRASTSpurs’ chairman Daniel Levy made the controversial decision to sack Mauricio Pochettino last month, knowing full well that the highly-rated Argentine would be courted by Europe’s elite.Such a decision was sure to attract intense scrutiny yet he knew it was the right call for his club — and I’m in total agreement despite being a big Poch fan.Gunners supporters groups have accused their hierarchy of being ‘rudderless’ — which is fair.The fact that club greats are now being identified to restore Arsenal to their past glory only compounds such frustrations.Such romantic notions are nonsense.PRIORITIES MESSED UPIf the right manager has a connection to the club then great, it’s a bonus, an add-on.It should never be a high priority.Freddie Ljungberg is at the helm now but has already proved in just two games it must only be temporary.The fact that a single point was taken against Norwich and Brighton says it all but his team selection and thought process further compound it.To bring Shkodran Mustafi back at the Canaries, only to discard him against the Seagulls, shows he’s for the birds.WISHFUL THINKINGAnd the Swede’s statement of being “100 per cent” sure of a top-four finish is wishful thinking, Arsenal are 10th — 10 points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea.The Gunners are on their worst run in 42 years and a battle for the top six seems beyond them.There has been no upturn under Ljungberg and I can’t help asking, ‘Why would there be?’He was under hapless Unai Emery but I never understand why the assistant of a failed boss is given the job after his sacking.Surely he is culpable to an extent?INVINCIBLE REUNION?The ex-winger may be getting by on the fact he is an Arsenal icon.And that trend could continue with Ljungberg’s fellow Invincible Patrick Vieira linked with the vacancy despite uninspiring spells with Nice and New York City.Or it might be Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta who could also make an Emirates return even though he has never managed before.His association with Pep Guardiola has surely given him an intense footballing education.Like it has been for coaches and players under Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp.ARTETA QUESTION MARKSBut Arsenal must be sure Arteta is special in his own right and not just a Pep Jr.That he’s his own man who has tapped into genius of those around him.The Gunners have been down this road before, discarding their template for a successful team in imitation of Pep’s Barcelona that saw them uncompetitive and embarrassingly labelled ‘Barca Lite’.Brendan Rodgers has extended his Leicester contract, Max Allegri has distanced himself and why would Diego Simeone leave Atletico Madrid for the Arsenal mess?SMALLER PROFILE CANDIDATESManagers who have been successful in lower leagues are unlikely to be given the chance George Graham got from Third Division Millwall back in 1986.Yet the likes of Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe and Sheffield United gaffer Chris Wilder have their sides playing in an Arsenal-esque fashion but with the accountability that has been lacking at the Emirates.David Dein previously set the standard for the Gunners.And it was no coincidence that the former owner’s departure in 2007 coincided with Wenger’s mid-decade decline.BLINKERED THINKINGThe fact that ex-chief exec Ivan Gazidis left north London post-Wenger was failing to learn from Manchester United’s troubles when boss Ferguson and David Gill left back in 2013.And recent rumours of David O’Leary travelling to games with the board once again show the same blinkered thinking regarding an icon’s association to the club.Although a hero of mine growing up as an Arsenal fan, it’s difficult to forget his OTT celebrations when his Leeds team ended Arsenal’s title hopes in 1999!MOST READ IN SPORTTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battle’I ACCEPT’McGregor accepts Silva fight at UFC catchweight of 176lbs in huge super-fightTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedA CUT ABOVEMike Tyson shows two-inch cut ‘picked up in training’ ahead of boxing returnPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidThe Emirates hierarchy have to look past club ties.Wenger didn’t have any connections when he took over — nor did Klopp or Pep. It’s a massive call Arsenal have to get right.Will they? I’m not convinced.last_img read more