We're coming up to a huge moment in Arsenal Football Club's modern history. Two weeks ago Arsene Wenger finally departed the Emirates Stadium which has put down the foundations for a new and potentially exciting era, but it's so important that the Arsenal board get this appointment correct. Wenger's position at the club has been under scrutiny for some time and there's no doubt that sentiment came into the boards decision to delay his departure for so long.
But now with him out the door, someone has the chance to write an exciting new chapter in the clubs history and that someone is Unai Emery. The Emirates hot seat has looked destined to be filled by Mikel Arteta for sometime, but the availability of Emery following his departure from PSG has earned him a move to the Emirates Stadium. The 43 year-old was as big as 40/1 to replace Wenger a couple of weeks ago so it's a move that's really gathered pace very quickly. With his appointment now confirmed we've taken a look at just why Arsenal have gone for him and what he can bring to the club.
Ten trophies in five years
Due to the nature of Arsenal's last few seasons it's essential that they appoint someone who has a track record of winning trophies. The Gunners have only won three FA Cup's over the last thirteen years which has seen them fall significantly behind their domestic rivals. Their last Premier League success came back in 2004 and they ended this season a huge 37 points behind eventual Champions Manchester City - so Emery has an awful lot of work to do. No one will be expecting them to turn into Premier League winners instantly, but a return to the Champions League is a huge priority.
In Emery they have someone who knows what it takes to succeed at a very high level, with him fresh from enjoying trophy laden spells with Sevilla and PSG. In his homeland he won three successive Europa League titles which had previously never been done, and it's something Arsenal fans would be desperate for as it would ensure that they return to Europe's top table. With PSG he won seven pieces of silverware in two years and despite the job being somewhat 'easier', he still enhanced his reputation in the game. Arsenal need someone who knows it takes to perform at a big club and Emery's CV suggests that he's ready to move to the Premier League.
An extremely important part of the job and it's something that needs to be spot on if he's to achieve success in North London. Arsenal's squad does contain quality but there's some huge holes that need filling, mainly at the back. The Gunners conceded a huge 51 Premier League goals this season, the highest of any side in the top seven and if they're to compete again it's essential that they address this problem. Reports claim that he's 'only' going to be given a budget of around £50m to try make Arsenal competitive again - peanuts when you see the money that Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs throw about.
The two club record outlays on Alexandre Lacazette (£46.5m) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£55m) over the last twelve months proved that they do have the cash to spend but those captures have evidently hit them hard if the £50m budget is correct - meaning Emery has to sell to buy. That's going to make the job much tougher but he has an excellent record of bringing in players for decent fees and getting the best out of them. Players such as Carlos Bacca (£7m), Aleix Vidal (£3m), Ever Banega (£2m) and Grzegroz Krychowiak (£2m) were all sensational for him in Spain and he needs to replicate his transfer success here if Arsenal are to improve on their disappointing 17/18 campaign.
However, whether he has that much say in actual player movements is another matter. The appointment of former Borussia Dortmund scout Sven Mislintat as the clubs head of recruitment was reportedly a big factor in Arteta's move to the Emirates being called off. Mislintat has a lot of power behind the scenes at the club and played a big part in the arrivals of Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang in January. At PSG Emery didn't really have too much of a say in transfers, with the likes of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe brought in on mega money & clearly orchestrated by the board.
One of the most crucial aspects of any managerial role is being able to guide and inspire your players in the right way. If he isn't to have the final say on players coming into the club then he needs to be able to motivate them and get them playing to the best of their ability. His time in Spain with Sevilla shows that he can do this, but over in England it's a different matter. There's essentially six teams competing for four Champions League spots so the margin for error is much smaller. Arsenal do have some talented players and with the right guidance you'd like to think that they can produce the performances that we expect from them. The likes of Hector Bellerin, Saed Kolasinac and Granit Xhaka have so much more to offer based on last seasons performances & if he can get the best out of what he's got it will make his life much easier.
He arrives in London from Paris and his time in France was fairly mixed to say the least - which seems strange considering that he won seven trophies in two years. The sheer number of egos on the books at the Parc des Princes tested his man management skills to the max and it's pretty fair to say he had a tough time. Player power behind the scenes mainly revolving around Neymar questioned his leadership and he can't afford to let that seep into the Emirates dressing room. If he gets this right there's no doubt he will do well with the Gunners.
Will he be a success?
The million dollar question. The end of Arsene Wenger's tenure at the Emirates turned pretty sour but there's no doubt that Emery has absolutely massive boots to fill. We've all seen how tough it's been for Manchester United to replace Sir Alex Ferguson in the years since he retired, so the grass isn't necessarily greener for the Gunners. However, no one can argue that the change at the Emirates was needed and it's going to be an interesting - but exciting - season for Arsenal supporters. Emery has all the credentials to succeed in North London but it's not going to be an overnight job. He needs time to succeed and his CV suggests that if they're patient with him it could well pay off.
His time in Paris was a huge step up in what he's been used to over in Spain and the being in the spotlight alongside stars such as Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe would've only improved him as a manager - despite the difficult issues behind the scenes. If he can have some say in recruitment and can get the best out of some Arsenal players that have clearly lost their way recently, we can see him being a breathe of fresh air at the Emirates. For too long Arsenal players have had things too easy so a new man to impress should surely improve performances on the pitch and in time restore that winning mentality back in North London.