As the new season is at the horizon, let’s take a look at the lay of the land.
Just at the end of the season, Arsenal’s most successful manager, Arsène Wenger, decided it was time to leave The Emirates after 22 years at the club, winning three league titles and a record number of FA Cups (7) among other things. The rest of the season was more ceremonial than anything else. The league was done, and the clash with Atletico Madrid could be the icing, but in the end we finished sixth in the table and the European dream was all over with a bang.
Even though some of us, well, most of us, shed one or two tears at Mr. Wenger’s sending off, after the trashing against Burnley at home, more of us gazed upon the future with open arms. We looked towards a new beginning, a new seasons without a French gentleman struggling with his zipper at the sidelines. Thanks Arsène, it’s been a pleasure. Best of luck, cheers. Au revoir.
The managerial circus started almost instantly, with tabloids, agents, nannies and Italian janitors “linking” us (oh, how i love that word come Silly Season, linking that is) to most of Europes top and up and coming coaches. From Ancelotti, to Allegri, to German wonderboy Julian Nagelsmann and Barcelona’s former triple winning coach, Luis Enrique. When Brendan Rodgers’ name popped up, i just decided to wait for the official statement. I’m sure I read something about Sven-Goran Eriksson too (well, not really, but it could have happened).
In the mist of all the gossip linking us to all the managers in Europe and beyond, the man that would most likely stand at the sidelines at The Emirates come August would be former Arsenal captain and current Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta. The deal was almost set in stone and most of us slowly but surely grew a bit fond of the idea, and many of us managed to live with it. Even if you wanted Arteta or not, it was almost about to happen and I don’t think a single eyebrow would have been raised. But then came the bomb! Former Paris Saint-Germain coach, Unai Emery, was set to get the job as Arsenal coach, taking charge over Arsenal after 22 years with Arsène Wenger.
Unai Emery joins Arsenal with a well earned reputation as fine tactician and one of Europe’s most exciting coaches. After a job well done with Valencia during the years 2008 to 2012, reaching fine positions in the league during an economic struggle at the Spanish club. He later joined Spanish top club Sevilla in 2013, after a few months or so in Spartak Moscow. Some months I’m sure he’d like to write of his Wikipedia page.
During his three year tenure with Sevilla, he managed to lead the Seville side to a record of three Europa League wins in a row. He later joined PSG where he won the Ligue1 and a few domestic cups.
And on May the 23rd this year he joined Arsenal on a three-year deal.
This summer has been a pleasure for most Arsenal fans, at least that’s what I’d like to think. We haven’t been this bussy in the transfer window for many years, completing some really exciting signings a good time before the start of the new campaign.
On June 5th Arsenal signed the 34-year-old right back Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer from Italian champions Juventus. The Swiss international will bring routine and much-needed experience to Arsenal, as well as giving Bellerin some healthy competition for the spot. The German goalkeeper Bernd Leno,26, from Bayer Leverkusen joined Arsenal on a five-year deal June 19th.
After being linked with Arsenal for a long time, the Greek defender Sokratis Papasthathopoulos, 30, joined Arsenal on July 2nd, signing a five year deal with The Gunners.
And this just in today; on the 10th of July, Arsenal officially announced the signing of the Uruguayan midfielder Lucas Torreira, 22, joining The Gunners after two years with the Genoese side U.C. Sampdoria, as well as being part of the fine Uruguayan side who reached a quarter-finals before being knocked out by France in this years World Cup in Russia.
Exciting times ahead for us Arsenal fans, no matter what one thinks of the signings and the managerial choice; a new coach will take the hot seat and the players will have to prove their worth once again, as well as some new players who will have to settle in. Unai Emery will have the entire Emirates Stadium breathing down his neck. No matter what, at least it will be fun.
After 22 years of Wenger, bringing us glory, titles and invincibles, is the best yet to come for an Arsenal fan?