Unai Emery and Ivan Gazidis held their first press conference today and the pair spoke about the players, the future, and how the selection process worked.
First, on the process, Gazidis said:
“We formed a three person committee – led by me and supported by Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi. We had clear criteria that we were looking for. Entertaining football, values and developing young players. We created an eight person list. All eight took part in extensive interviews with the three of us and none of them withdrew their interest. We were in the fortunate position to be able to make our choice.
Our first interview was on 25 April and our last was on the 15 May. A formal recommendation to the board was supported by a 100-page dossier with a great degree of background information.
All of the board members were energised and enthused by our decision.”
This contradicts what all of the reporters, including David Ornstein, said about the selection process and who the board were hiring. I want to stop here and say that reporters like Ornstein should not be confused with click-bait merchants. If Ornstein said that the club were selecting Mikel Arteta as the next manager then he verified that information from a direct source and typically reporters at the BBC have to verify with two sources or more.
So, I’m still not sure what happened but according to the manager,
there was only ever one choice and it was never Arteta. (edit) I think it’s possible that there were two unanimous options sent to Josh Kroenke and that he was given the choice and chose Unai (edit). Ivan spoke about the chemistry between them and Emery’s extensive preparation as being the main reasons for the selection.
Unai apparently had complete dossiers on every player with specifics about how he would help them. That’s very exciting from my perspective because I think that’s been missing from Wenger’s team for a while – Bellerin was the best right back in the League three years ago, Mustafi clearly has problems, Cech has been sliding backwards for three seasons, Xhaka has talent but lacks defensive awareness, Iwobi is a talent who needs coaching, Wilshere never reached his potential, Ramsey is a superstar in the making, and Ozil often doesn’t bother with both ends of the pitch. Plus Chambers is raw, Holding is raw, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, etc. I can imagine that from a CEO perspective this is also highly attractive: here you have a man giving specifics about how he is going to increase the value of your main products.
I just want the team to play better football and Unai promised that:
“I believe we can grow with the players we have. The objective is to work hard together and with these talented players. It’s very important for the club, after two years outside the Champions League, to work to be the best team in the Premier League and also in the world.”
He was also asked directly about Ozil and said:
“He’s one of the biggest talents and I want talented players here. I want to spend time with him and the players. I want them to feel inspired to be here. We all need to give 100 per cent, that’s what I’m looking for.”
I’m not going to read too much into this other than to take it on face value that he wants all of the players to give 100% to his new system and to the coaching that he will offer them. And what is his new system?
“My idea is to be protagonists all the match. We play against all the teams with this personality, with I think the history here is one. They love playing with possession of the ball. They like this personality. I like to be protagonists with the ball.cAnd when you don’t have possession with the ball I want a squad, very very intensive, for the pressing.”
To recap: Emery is promising to make the players better, to get the team playing possession football, and to have them pressing intensely when they lose the ball. Yes please, all of that.
Finally, Unai spoke in English for parts of this interview and kudos to him doing so. I speak Spanish and wouldn’t dare to give an interview in Spanish!
P.S. he was already asked about his record of never winning against Pep and Mourinho. Expect that to be a running theme allllllllllllllyeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaarrrrrrlooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong.