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Get Monchi! The Arsenal compromise to satisfy fans, Wenger & Kroenke

COMMENT: So let's get practical Gooners. As things stand today, Arsene Wenger will stay. As will Stan Kroenke. And an emphasis on money making over title glory will continue...

Cue the groans world-wide. But even with the same personalities and the same approach, next season - and beyond - doesn't have to be as frustrating as this one. It won't take a sacking. Nor a player sale. Or even a resignation.

What Arsenal need, if we are to take a practical approach, is an addition. A new hire. The Gunners need to find themselves a football director.

But not any old appointment. Not a vanity project for an ex-player. Or a token name to roll out to the media when things go wrong. Arsenal need to find an experienced, successful dealmaker not just to lift the standard of player the club is attracting, but to put a rocket up those already on the books.

This Arsenal squad has top four quality. At full throttle, it could genuinely challenge for titles at home and abroad. But something is clearly broken within the culture of the club.

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If any of the current underperforming XI became available, there'd be no shortage of giants ready to whisk them away. Laurent Koscielny wouldn't be short of takers. Nor Hector Bellerin. The Ox, courtesy of contract rumours, knows he's admired by top four rivals. And Pep Guardiola is a member of the Jack Wilshere fan club. It even broke yesterday that Ottmar Hitzfeld, the former Switzerland coach, had received word that his old club, Bayern Munich, were keeping a close eye on Granit Xhaka.

So Wenger has assembled a group of top drawer footballers. The envy of major clubs across Europe. But something has held them back...

We'll try not to go over old ground. But it's clear it has become all too comfortable at London Colney. Steve Bould can shout and rave. Throw bottles at dressing room walls. But the big man has no real power. And Wenger? The players know he's a soft touch. He'll forgive them. He'll defend them. Just look at the carry on after victory over Lincoln City. Sod the Imps, Wenger, without any prodding, wanted to revisit the Bayern debacle at post-match. He insisted his players had produced a "great performance". It was loony tunes stuff. But this is the man. He loves his players. And they know this.

No-one is bigger at Arsenal than Wenger. Who's going to challenge the manager about bombing out a player? Ivan Gazidis? Do us a favour. The players know the CEO wouldn't dare challenge Wenger's football authority. They know they're safe with him. But that would change with the arrival of an experienced football director.

All of a sudden, the sands would shift. Every position. Every player. Everyone would be in play. That new face. An outsider. A man who's own job security is dependent on the players - with the power to buy and sell as he likes... that's all the motivation this lot would need.

As it currently stands, the players know they have Wenger in their pocket and no threat from the higher ups, whom (some would say conveniently) have zero credibility when it comes to making football decisions.

But that would dramatically change with the right football director appointment.

Which is where the 'practical' side comes into play. Kroenke is a businessman. He just wants to make money. Wenger is a manager who loves to develop players. Finding the right compromise between the two most powerful men at the club doesn't have to be rocket science.

At Sevilla, it's accepted Monchi, Ramon Rodriguez Verdejo, will leave his role as sporting director at the end of this season. After 17 years at the helm, he will walk away - a free agent - into his next challenge.

Real Madrid are now regarded as favourites to land the transfer guru ahead of Roma. But Arsenalreally should be making their interest known.

Monchi took charge of transfers at Sevilla in 2000, with the club languishing in the Segunda Division. Today, he boasts a global network of over 700 scouts. Has built team after successful team for the club - and on a shoestring budget when compared to Arsenal. What's more, he knows England. Particularly London. In 2014 he based himself in the city, hiring himself an apartment, to learn English and to experience the Premier League. All done with an eye on improving his own negotiating skills.

He buys low and sells high (watching Stan?). He can be ruthless. But he also never goes over the manager's head. Every signing and sale made by consultation. But wait there's more... he speaks English. He wins trophies. He's a free agent. And he's wanted by Florentino Perez, at Real Madrid.

For the three biggest players in all this Arsenal angst: Wenger, Kroenke and the support - Monchi is the practical compromise capable of keeping the place from melting down.


Need to know what Monchi is all about? Just consider the case of Steven N'Zonzi.

From Amiens to Blackburn Rovers to Stoke City. Those inside the English game knew the lad had genuine quality, but no major club was willing to take a gamble.

But Monchi did. Two years ago Sevilla paid 7 million quid for N'Zonzi. This summer, they're resigned to losing the midfielder for his £25 million buyout clause - and to a Champions League club. That's more than trebling Sevilla's investment in two years.

For both the club and player, Monchi's intervention two years ago has paid off handsomely. As it has for countless footballers over the 17 years this transfer guru has been in charge.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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