‘That Greek boy’. That’s how Arsene Wenger referred to his newest addition, Kostantinos Mavropanos, during his post Nottingham Forest press conference.
‘That Greek boy’.
He could have said ‘we’ve already signed a defender’ when asked about his likely transfer dealings during the January transfer window, or even simply said ‘we’ve already signed someone’.
As far as Greek names go, it’s one of the easier ones to say but even if Wenger thought he’d make a hash of it, there were plenty of ways he could have referred to Dinos (see, there’s one) that would have showed far less disdain for the 20-year-old’s arrival.
Wenger has been very clear on that and it’s the first time that I remember the manager admitting that a player has been brought to the club that he didn’t pick.
If I had to bet money on it, I’d tip Dino to have a similar career at Arsenal under Wenger as Joel Campbell.
Behind the scenes at Arsenal there have been a host of changes.
From the new sporting-director-in-all-but name, Raul Sanllehi who starts next month, to Sven Mislintat, a new scout dubbed an ‘impresario’ in his home country, fitness coaches and more, the support network being put in place around Arsene Wenger is exactly what the club has been screaming out for since they lost David Dein and moved to the Emirates.
These are the people who can lift the pressure from an overwhelmed manager who has done everything himself for far too long and free him to focus on the most important thing at the club – the team.
Why, then, does it feel like all these changes are taking place despite of Wenger instead of because of him?
The club at present has a weird air around it. It’s a subtle whiff of chaos with everyone running in circles while Wenger stands perfectly still at the centre.
As the spinning intensifies he somehow seems to be loosening his grip on the reigns little-by-little.
With the manager planning on seeing out the full two years of his contract, quite how much spinning it takes to get his hands off them entirely is anyone’s guess.