I will be the first to admit that I know nothing of the inner workings of Arsenal. I’m in no way connected to the club, I don’t know anyone that works there, and I haven’t the foggiest idea how they actually go about doing what they do. All I know is what I see on the pitch.
I do know, however, that Arsene Wenger is increasingly a lone figure at the club these days. It’s been several years since his consigliere David Dein left the club, and in those years Wenger consolidated more or less sole control of all the playing and recruitment aspects of Arsenal, aided by Dick Law, Arsenal’s fantastically named chief transfer negotiator.
Well, that relationship is about to be a thing of the past - Law today announced he is leaving the club at the end of the month. As I mentioned, I have no idea how Arsenal works, so I don’t know what impact this will have - I assume that “chief transfer negotiator” is basically a lawyer, and last I checked there were a lot of those, so I don’t think, functionally, this is a big setback. Law was very well regarded both at Arsenal and around the game, though, so while the function of negotiator can be filled fairly easily - and in fact, Arsenal hired Huss Fahmy, a much less awesome name, over the summer to do just that - the relationship-building aspect might be harder to replace.
But in terms of internal office politics, it may be a bigger setback than we’d want - Law has been probably Wenger’s closest ally since Dein’s departure. With Law departing, Wenger is increasingly alone at Arsenal these days, which seems to be how he likes it, as far as running the show goes.
On that same front, though, Ivan Gazidis has set up an office at Colney, where he will now presumably spend more time and energy on a daily basis than he has done in the past. I have to fall back on “I don’t know if this is a good or bad thing” here, but if reports of a power struggle over the last year or so at Arsenal are true, the fact that the two opposing sides of that struggle will now be sharing the same patch of real estate a lot could get interesting.
Overall, I’m not sure any of this will have a hugely visible effect on the team. The two things that remain to be seen are whether Arsene will work as closely with the new negotiator as he did with Law, and if not, how that fact sits with Gazidis. I don’t think Arsenal are going to turn into a daily soap opera, but it’s worth keeping an eye on how the next couple transfer windows go as we try to get some insights into the power structure at the club.