Arsenal hiring Carlo Ancelotti before Unai Emery would have felt like a step sideways but the Italian is exactly what Arsenal need at this moment in time.
Listen, I know it’s not the most exciting prospect.
Carlo Ancelotti is one of those names that elicits no excitement because he’s been around so long. But, because of that, we have a lengthy track record to point at and a very clear idea of what we will get if we hire him.
Until Gabriel Martinelli netted for us against West Ham on, Monday night, I was becoming more convinced Ancelotti was the man Arsenal needed, things had got that bad. We don’t need a manager with a vision or a young buck looking to prove himself. Arsenal are in far too much trouble for that sort of nonsense.
At one point on Monday night we were in 12th place, just four points from the relegation zone.
There was a change with that goal, however. A small one, but it seemed to lift some of Emery’s weight from the player’s shoulders. They became looser and freer and started to remember they knew how to play football.
It is not enough, of course, to base what you do for the rest of the season on half a half. Arsenal waited so long to sack Emery that they now have no choice but to opt for pragmatism in Ancelotti, hope that a gamble with Freddie, Mikel Arteta or Patrick Vieira pays off, or give in to one of the Jorges Mendes’ managers he’s trying to force down our throats.
When the stakes are as high as they are for a club the size of Arsenal, what do you think is the right move?
Perhaps we should have looked to Ancelotti before Emery and not been so arrogant about it all. Brought him in to handle the transition from Arsene Wenger to future Arsenal.
Who else can you think of that you could have handed that role to and just knew they’d do it well? Hindsight is wonderful for its clarity.
That’s what you get with Ancelotti, a known-entity.
He is a professional manager who does his job well, no matter where he goes. And he wins things. The World Cup with Italy, the Champions League with AC Milan (twice) and Real Madrid, leagues with AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG, and Bayern Munich, Association cups in Spain, Italy, Germany and England, and much more besides.
This is no three-Europa-Leagues-in-a-row midtable cup manager. Ancelotti has shown his pedigree everywhere he has went.
I love the idea of Freddie turning this ship around and guiding us back up the table, but that is a dream – for me, you and for Freddie and the club. There is no guarantee of that, as romantic as it would be. And do we really want to blow Freddie’s Arsenal chance, long before he’s ready, on him trying to fix Emery’s mess?
Of course, there are no guarantees of anything in football.
If you’re honest, though, you know Carlo Ancelotti is the closest thing out there to one.
Bring him in, let him steady things and then let him hand it over to an exciting new captain for the next journey…