Is it Possible for Arsenal to keep falling until a state of Oblivion is reached?
By Daniel Finton (Deputy Editor)
Since Arsene Wenger was rightfully forced to step away from the role of Arsenal manager, the gunners have been enduring a steep downward trajectory. Unai Emery was hired to fill the massive shoes left by the club’s greatest ever boss and failed tragically. In all honesty, it was quite reminiscent of David Moyes’ time at rival club, Manchester United. Like Moyes, Emery was a really underwhelming appointment from the off (but was initially held with a bit of optimism) and the pressure seemed too much for the Spaniard, just like it was for the Scot with the red devils.
That was very obviously a poor decision from the previous board, although now there are new people in place. Nonetheless, that begs the question, are our new, current regime, intelligent enough to steer us through these treacherous waters or will we sink into oblivion and be forced to watch them die trying?
The likes of Chelsea and Liverpool have been in similar positions to the one which the gunners find themselves presently, and all managed to escape. Chelsea were in a relegation battle for a small part of the 2015-2016 season, but used their tremendously vast financial resources as a metaphorical life boat and also sacked Jose Mourinho and appointed Antonio Conte. The Italian won them the Premier league the next season and the blues have been on the right side of the table ever since. Obviously, not quite as steady a decline or too similar to our position, but their horrific season does demonstrate rapid improvements can be made.
Liverpool did not break the bank like Chelsea did, or at least not in a similar fashion. The current Premier league champions and previous Champions League winners found success with a similar style to the one Arsenal are trying to figure out; a self-sustainable model. They sold the likes of Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho and used the funds to purchase good players and turned them world class. Sadio Mane, Mohammed Salah, Alison and Van Dijk were all very, very good players before Jurgen Klopp signed them, but not quite world class. Klopp got and continues to get the best out of them and has developed them into some of the best in the world.
The fact is, Arsenal will not splash the cash like Chelsea did. One of the very few things our board has been honest and candid about is that we are going to move forward self-sustainably. The club say they’re keen on doing things the “right way” but in reality, Stan Kroenke just does not want to inject sufficient funds into the club- that’s just not him and it never will be. So from my pretty pessimistic view, that means that if we try to emulate Liverpool’s incredible revival and fail doing so, we will continue in our fall from grace.
Chelsea and Liverpool refused to fall into oblivion, but I’m not sure Arsenal’s hierarchy will be able to pull off the mesmeric turnaround that each of the aforementioned sides managed to achieve. KSE has shown they really do not care to take matters into their own hands and will delegate all responsibility onto the likes of Raul Sanllehi and Edu. If he does not do his job right, there is potential for Arsenal to keep slipping down the table. And while I’m sure Sanllehi is better at his job than Ivan Gazidis, we saw from the latter that the job is far from an easy one. If Sanllehi can't get the job done, then what? There is so much pressure on the former Barcelona man to get us back to our best that it would be unsurprising if he crumbled under the substantial pressure.
Anyways, I’ll be honest. I think Arsenal is too big a club to fall into an oblivion state. In today’s day in age, traditional big sides like the gunners are safe from that, given the status it has worldwide and thus the commercial revenues. If the North London side were to fall into such a state, it would of course be a travesty for the club and the supporters, but it would also be a catastrophe for English football and moreover the world game as a whole.
The powers that be in the game just will not let such a tragedy occur, and copious pressure would be mounted onto KSE from external sources that aren’t even Arsenal fans to ensure the protagonists of London stay relevant. Arsenal earn UEFA and the FA billions of dollars from TV viewership and various other avenues, so luckily we won’t reach non-existent, but these are the thoughts that go through a fans head after such a terrible season.
After such a torrential season in the league, the FA cup final is coming in just four days time. The fact that we can somehow win silverware on the back of this atrocious season is somewhat of a relief, but the board must acknowledge that this team needs a lot of work done.
Maybe Arsenal are too big to fall into obscurity, but the fact remains, we are still way too far below where we should be. Arsenal are the biggest club in London and us being in competitions like the Europa league rather than the Champions league is like a Great White shark in a kiddie pool, it’s just not right, we're too big for the off-brand competition. This upcoming transfer window is massive, changes must be made.