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Unai Emery in London, probably not going to the Tate Modern

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Ain’t no minute like the last minute!

Paris Saint-Germain v Real Madrid - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

We’ve all been waiting for the seemingly inevitable announcement of Mikel Arteta as new Arsenal coach, an announcement that we’ve been thinking would happen every day since, like, Thursday. But no! No announcement Thursday, nothing over the weekend, nothing first thing this morning.

And now maybe there’s a reason why. Unai Emery, late of Paris St Germain but currently of no job, is reportedly in London today. Considering that the big wedding thing was on Saturday, and considering that Emery’s not likely in London to take in some tourist sites, it can be reasonably concluded that he’s in London to talk with Arsenal about their vacant managerial position.

Why is there another candidate in the running now, when it’s been seemingly all over but the signing for a week? Well, reports are also emerging today that Arteta might actually reject the Arsenal job, because of a concern rising from how much control the new coach will have over transfers. It really appears that Ivan Gazidis, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi are going to exert most of the control over staffing and they might be looking for a coach that will just accept what he’s given and not make waves.

Granted, that’s 100% speculation on my part, but given that it’s seemingly the restructuring of power at Arsenal that convinced Arsene Wenger to jump before he was pushed, it’s not terribly far-fetched I don’t think. I don’t really have a strong opinion on whether Emery or Arteta get the job, but I will say this: if the new coach’s job is to just deploy the chess pieces he’s given, it is absolutely vital that said coach be given the absolute best chess pieces he can, and not be given the chess set from a couple years ago with the dinged-up pieces that you can get for cheap at a yard sale.

Emery’s done well at PSG, but he’s mainly done well in a French league that isn’t very good; he was hired to take them deep into the Champions League, and he hasn’t done that. They exited that competition in the round of 16 both seasons under Emery, which for a squad that spent €300 million on two players, really isn’t good enough.

Honestly, if my choices are down to Arteta and Emery, I’d hope Arsenal would go with Arteta; if Emery couldn’t wrangle a collection of the best players in the world into a Champions League threat, what can he do with Alex Iwobi, Jack Wilshere, and Granit Xhaka?