Pain In The Arsenal

With reports that Edu will return to north London as Arsenal’s technical director, we look at what he is poised to do alongside Unai Emery and how he could be the ideal hire.

About a month ago, I stated my belief that an ‘Arsenal man’ should be in line for the technical director job. It was right after Monchi decided to rebuff the Gunners for a return to Sevilla. With the team’s poor form starting shortly thereafter, little more discussion was heard on the topic. Some of our readers did not have the kindest of thoughts to my suggestion, saying that it was meritless to do so. I had mentioned Edu alongside names like Denis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry. Well, apparently, it will be the Brazilian.

According to multiple reports, it would appear that Edu is leaving his post in the Brazilian soccer federation to join Arsenal in the technical director position. The Brazilian general manager will be taking over after a year that saw the Gunners lose Sven Mislintat and lose out on Mochi to Sevilla. Not only is it a welcome relief for a team that needs direction and inspiration at the top to accentuate the vision that Unai Emery has, but it is a proper mix of the former glory days and the new invigoration of fresh inspiration. Edu knows Arsenal and he knows talent, just look at Brazil.

While Edu has been at Brazil, he has only been able to further build on the prodigious knowledge and spirit that he played with. Being around players like Neymar Jr., Jesus, Casemiro and Allison, among others, is the type of environment that influences how even a masterful player like Edu looks at talent and building a squad.

The signing of Brazilian 17-year-old Gabriel Martinelli, allegedly signed off by Edu as he was understood to be the new man in North London, demonstrates as much. Furthermore, it instantly provides youth, pace and width to an Arsenal squad that needed greater versatility in these regards over the recent campaign. Financially reasonable and brilliant as a talent, Edu’s first signing may indicate much for the future.

The new inspiration of Emery, mixed with the classic ‘invincibles’ mentality and skill garnered through his time in Brazil should positively effect Arsenal from top to bottom. From the types of players that Arsenal will be looking at signing and transferring for to the way in which the youth are trained and recruited, the whole running of the club should continue to evolve under Edu’s watch.

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Emery’s player preferences don’t clash too differently from that of Arsene Wenger’s, hence the increased success of players the former boss handpicked under Emery. With the further accession of players like Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in this campaign, it will be the job of Edu to provide for both strikers, Emery and mercurial number ten Mesut Özil, who is seemingly going nowhere.

Edu will have some money available, estimated at around £40 million in his first window. He’ll also be losing Stephen Lichtsteiner, likely transferring Shkodran Mustafi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, with young talent burgeoning from the academy and returning from loan spells, Emile Smith Rowe and Reiss Nelson chief among them. Replacing Aaron Ramsey while adding further width on the wings and bolstering the defence are the main objectives. And there may be greater incentive still to come.

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With a victory against Chelsea in the Europa League, Arsenal would also sneak into the Champions League despite finishing fifth in the Premier League. The financial incentive of gaining entrance to the Champions League alongside winning the Europa League would give the club greater fiscal and practical lures for the top-tier talent to make their way to North London.

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This search for Technical Director came out of nowhere with the resignation of Sven Mislintat after just fourteen months at the club. Having dragged on far longer than any pundit or fan would have suspected, the end of such a storyline is welcomed. Following Monchi’s rejection and the swift (and negative) response by Marc Overmars, the position floated in purgatory for the rest of the Premier League campaign. While other scouts and Arsenal faithful held down the position in the absence of a captain, the true volition can now be set into motion.

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History demonstrates to us that new energy and new ideas are essential for growth, but those days of glory can still be utilized if understood, nurtured and grown in turn. Edu has the experience of the Invincibles, the legendary Arsene Wenger, and that of managing Brazil’s greatest talents. With that and the inspiration of Emery’s success and creativity, one can see the path forward as fresh and new, while still familiar and most certainly Arsenal.