Mikel Arteta is under considerable pressure. It’s pressure that isn’t new; pressure that isn’t surprising; and pressure that while boasts many variables has been prevalent at Arsenal since October.
Arteta finds themselves in a compromising position. Having declared his desire for financial backing to build the squad he feels he can mould into a winning side challenging for European and domestic honours again, he’s been granted that wish.
Spending the most money of any club in Europe so far this summer to the tune of over £130m, any valid mitigation he may have had previously in regards to the swamp of deadwood at his disposal and mediocre players floating elsewhere, there is now nowhere to hide.
The Premier League campaign has kicked off in dreadful fashion with two losses and zero goals scored from the opening two fixtures. Arteta had been dealt a poor hand with injuries and COVID-19 absences hindering his chances of success, but once his stars return then it’s deliver or be posted elsewhere.
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Fans are losing patience, this despite the squad overhaul clearly being undertaken with an eye on what it can be, not what it is right now. Ben White at 23 years old is the youngest addition of the five to arrive.
Who could replace him in such an eventuality? All associated with Arsenal want Arteta to succeed. Nobody yearns for his unwarranted dismissal. Should the situation turn so dire, however, then contingency plans must be made.
Antonio Conte falls neatly into the ‘elite’ bracket of managers. Success follows in his charging and animated touchline footsteps.
Champions League proven Premier League savvy, he is many supporters’ pick. As per Miguel Delaney of the Independent, those harbouring such ambitions may be best bottling them up for another era.
It should come as little surprise that Conte does not favour taking over the, potentially vacant, Arsenal hotseat. In the belief that the squad can’t compete as is, he has little interest in the role. Only Manchester United may tickle his tastebuds in England.
Does that say a lot about the club? Indeed. Yet any appointment of Conte would also banish what work has been undertaken and outlay parted with over the past 18 months to the history books.
Accumulating the third highest spending of any manager in history, a similarly substantial warchest would be demanded by the Italian in north London. He spent £250m during his 102-game spell in charge of Inter.
An equally eye-watering salary would need scribbling up, while the current focus on a youthful squad with individuals aimed for similarly timed career peaks would be abandoned in favour of experienced heads. One need only look at his acquisitions at San Siro to get a grasp of his mantra.
Among the finest in world football, a move to Conte would demonstrate a return to short-termism with everlasting scars only finance can heal. Chelsea’s model works for them as their leftovers can be swept under the rug and replaced with the next dish of the day. Arsenal can’t afford that. Not again.
Thus, while some may weep at their pipe-dream appointment of a manager who is still being backed to succeed with a squad he’s only truly got his grip on, it was as much of a non-starter as the league campaign currently unfolding in north London.