This is our life now, Arsenal fans. Until a contract is signed and a scarf raised above a head, expect that every day there will be a maelstrom of stories, some credible and some less so, about the people in line for, rumored to be in line for, or somehow otherwise tangentially related to the vacant Arsenal managerial gig. It’s hard to keep up, but as much as possible we will try to keep you up to speed at least as we see the current state of the playing field.
Today’s swirl involves, as does many things in England, bookmakers. And those bookmakers have installed Max Allegri as the favorite to succeed Arsene, with Mikel Arteta at second favorite. Not exactly going out on a limb there, but it’s interesting to see how much that bookmakers, at least, see Allegri as the clear next choice.
On the other hand, he said, acknowledging he’s really bad at transitions this morning, we have a story that illustrates the divide between the journalists that write these stories and the editors that write the headlines. The headline of this story is “Patrick Vieira should replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, says Robert Pires”. Which, wow! An endorsement from a former Arsenal player! A stand being taken! That’s big, right?
Well, sure, but that’s not what he said. What he said was:
We talk about Allegri, Ancelotti, Luis Enrique… My two friends Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta too. I don’t know who the next manager is for Arsenal but they need to find the right philosophy. They can’t have the same philosophy as Arsene Wenger. My choice? If the board want a manager with a lot of experience, it’s maybe someone like Luis Enrique or Ancelotti. But if they want to start with a new project, it’s Vieira or Arteta. Comparing them, Patrick has a small advantage because he is doing very well with New York this season.
So basically, Pires was outlining the options in front of the board and giving a couple “what if” scenarios, and his candidates for each. Like others, he’s not going out on a lot of limbs here, and nothing he’s said is bad or wildly speculative, but it does, once again, illustrate the need for all of us to read these things a little more critically and determine what they’re really saying, rather than just accept them at face value.