Something has changed in our fanbase – and it is deeply unsettling.
During our 3-2 win over Portuguese outfit Vitoria SC in the Europa League, a picture emerged of Jose Mourinho sitting in the stands alongside Arsenal powerhouse, Raul Sanllehi.
Yep, that particular combo of people should send shivers down your spine.
Sanllehi is Arsenal’s puller of strings, the man in the know, the guy who has the golden handshake – you get my meaning. He gets stuff done and he knows who he needs to know.
Then there is Jose Mourinho. There is no other manager who has enjoyed kicking Arsenal when we have lain stricken than the self-proclaimed ‘Special One.’
The Portuguese manager in his various positions has always taken great pleasure in talking of Arsenal, Arsene Wenger and our struggles in the most derogatory way. In short, he has set himself up as an enemy, and we too have relished the battle.
After his two spells with Chelsea, Mourinho has struggled quite a bit, and his tenure at Man United was a rather large blemish on his copybook. He was unable to lift the Red Devils out of the mire they were in. In fact, he was responsible for some pretty terrible recruitment and left the squad severely unbalanced, with some players left alienated by his approach.
It was quite glorious for us Gunners to see it unravelling, for the lustre that Mourinho had to be smeared.
So what has changed for a photo to leave a large portion of our support to be lusting after Jose taking charge of our side – even in the short term?
The photo left ripples throughout social media and sparked polls, questions and general speculation surrounding Mourinho’s presence at the game. It was the fact that he was sat next to Sanllehi that really set the cat amongst the pigeons.
Sanllehi makes decisions behind the scenes that make Arsenal tick. He was one of the men who decided on hiring current managerial incumbent, Unai Emery – and he will be one of the men who decides if Emery should leave.
So to see him next to Mourinho, a current free agent, makes it easy to put two and two together and come up with 22.
This Is a move that shouldn’t happen though.
And it probably won’t.
Jose Mourinho made a career from defensive football. Four physically imposing defenders, two diligent and uncompromising central midfielders to act as a second layer of defence. They were set in stone, difficult to crack and it was the bedrock of everything he achieved, especially at Chelsea.
There were no free-flowing goals. There was precious little buccaneering play, scant opportunity to enjoy the football on show. What he guaranteed was a win, and to make his side difficult to beat, whether it be on the road or at home.
Has it really become that bad under Emery that we would welcome this at Arsenal? Have things descended to such a level that we would want a manager who goes against Arsenal’s grain?
He is the antithesis of everything Arsenal stand for. Some will say that the football we currently play under Emery is also far removed from what we should be playing – but Emery’s football is poetry compared to the trudging football that Mourinho specialises in – just ask a United fan.
Some would say that a short-term hire of the Portuguese man would work wonders, while Sanllehi and his team work behind the scenes to get their ideal candidate.
It still is so wrong though, to want a man who talked so much trash toward us. When at the helm of a club, respect isn’t one of Mourinho’s priorities. He fosters a siege mentality at his clubs, and will do anything to come away with a win.
That is certainly not The Arsenal Way.
What we should be doing is hoping that Emery’s methods start to take. We should hope that Emery begins to get the results we all hope for. We should all hope that Emery starts to select the right team.
Jose Mourinho is not the answer to our woes – and never has been.