The mantra at Arsenal now is ‘trust the process’. On the back of 17 years of not winning the league title, 4 years of not playing in the UEFA Champions League and finally failing to make European places entirely last season, there should genuinely be a process to be trusted. The Gunners are only still tagged a top-six side based on reputation. The post-Wenger era is particularly not going well. In the little time that Wenger left, Arsenal have had three people at the helms and are on their second substantive manager. A section of the fans are already regretting that they called for Wenger to leave. While things are not going well under the present Manager – Mikel Arteta, there have been calls by the Manager and the club management for fans to trust a certain process. Should they really trust the process?
The first question is, what is the process? In truth, there are no clear evidences of a process.
Style of play
For a process, there should be a style of play or signs of a style of play. At Arsenal presently, it is not the case. One of the reasons Arsenal hired Arteta is probably due to an expected style of play. Being a former player at Arsenal and having spent time under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola, Arsenal fans expected to see an exciting style of play, that has not been the case. The style of play has not been defined, at times they have been defensive and counter-attacking, at other times they labour to be expansive. The excuse has been that the team does not have the players to play an expansive style but even majority of the players they are linked to in the transfer market does point in the direction of a style.
The recruitments in the past few years does not point to any process. There seems to be lots of trial and error and merry-go-round in player’s recruitments. Some of the so-called promising players they have signed in the past few years have become surplus to requirements and there are already plans to replace them with new promising players. Reports linking the Gunners to Brighton and Hove Albion defender – Ben White has refused to go away and it appears there is a genuine interest in the English defender. This is the same club that has spent big money on the likes of Calum Chambers and William Saliba as promising defenders, with no logical results yet.
There are also reports of a bid for Abderlecht promising midfielder Albert Lokonga, few years after investing in promising midfielders – Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, who have both become surplus to requirements. The aforementioned are just some of the merry-go-rounds Arsenal have been doing in the transfer market. For a process, there has to be deliberate investments in quality footballers.
When trusting a process, there should be a manager that has the track record of a process. At Liverpool, they trusted a process and came good but it was with Jurgen Klopp, a manager that has the track record of a process. Arteta has shown signs that he could end up becoming a top manager, especially in leading Arsenal to FA Cup glory in his first season, but getting Arsenal back to the top may be asking for too much. It looks like the club’s management wants to trust Arteta to do the job but the problem is they may have gotten deeper into the abyss before they realize they need a more experienced manager.
Arsenal’s drop has been gradual and consistent and can’t be said to be a co-incidence. From contesting for the title, to becoming a top-four side, to becoming an Europa League team, to completely dropping out of European places. Arsenal’s management must realize they are in a dire situation and should take dire actions, but their approach in the transfer market so far betrays that. Arsenal fans can’t trust the process because there are no signs of a process.