• Analysis

The boardroom struggles at Arsenal Football Club

Unai Emery, Jost Kroenke, Arsenal, Aaron Ramsey
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Unai Emery was shown the door partially after losing the dressing room but it was the Arsenal boardroom battles that cost him the job.

There is no denying the fact that Arsenal were in a trouble. They have been for quite some time. Their failure to win games at the end of 2018/19 season. It seemed to be the template in north London, as alongside Tottenham struggles, they allowed Chelsea to sneak in top three.

The Europa League was supposed to be their saving grace but the Blues would not let them have it. In the end, they were consigned to another season in the second tier European competition.

The squad’s makeup was strange and it was not helped by their summer recruitment strategy. Unai Emery wanted reinforcements at the back. But he only got Kieran Tierney at left-back, which was supplemented by the arrival of David Luiz on deadline day.

Still, Arsenal had a competitive squad. But was it enough. Looking back at it, it does not seem to be. The squad needs an overhaul but the coach (not manager) did not get the support from the upper echelons of Gunners hierarchy.

And it is here that most of Arsenal problems arise. In Emery Arsenal got a manager ill suited for the job as they opted for experience over compatibility.

Mikel Arteta or even Patrick Viera, both were nuanced about the hierarchy at the club but could not make it to the top of managerial shortlist to replace Arsene Wenger. In came Emery and the rest is history.

Josh Korenke is at the helm

Josh Kroenke’s understanding of the beautiful game hamstrung the club from the beginning. And his battle for control as Wenger was ousted is interesting. Ivan Gazidis’ departure meant Josh had lackeys in all the right places as he looks to replace chairman Chips Keswick when he steps down.

Head of Football, Raul Sanllehi, is his right man. Vinai Venkatesham is Sanllehi’s man occupying the Managing Director role. Add Huss Fahmy and Edu to the ranks and you get the power circles at the Emirates.

There is turmoil every where at the club. And Per Mertesacker has used it to become the de-facto power in the youth academy. Perfectly aided by the departure of Sven Mislintat.

Fahmy’s reluctance to give Aaron Ramsey a new contract meant Emery would lose on the key players at his disposal. The Welsh international gave a good account of his abilities but to no avail.

The writing was on the wall. And Ramsey’s departure would mean the end of an era. Emery struggled around but lost the battle in the end. He had to go.

This is a new Arsenal. In stark contrast to the one built by Wenger. And one hampered by problems on and off the pitch.