If there is one accusation that cannot be levelled at new Gunners boss Unai Emery it is a lack of resolve.
Removing Colin Lewin, Boro Primorac, and Jens Lehman from the coaching and backroom staff is one thing, but allowing Jack Wilshere to move on (effectively telling him he wasn’t key to his future plans) is quite another.
For a certainty, all managers should be decisive and should stick by their beliefs but there is a fine line between audacious and foolish.
Has the Spaniard strayed a little too far into the latter with his decision to allow Wilshere to leave? In truth, only time will tell.
What we can say right this minute is that it is something of a gamble. To allow a man of undeniable talent, of unquestionable loyalty and character, to walk away from the club for nothing after a generation is gutsy. After all, Wilshere is more a part of the furniture at Arsenal than the seats at the Emirates.
It is understood that Jack agreed to take a pay cut in order to remain at the club, he implied as much himself, but the assurances he was looking for in terms of playing time were, by all accounts, not met.
It is right that no player should ever be guaranteed football at any club, only consistent performances can merit a spot in the team, but setting aside a man whose blood runs redder than almost anyone else at the club is a big signal of intent. Huge, in fact.
Clearly, Unai is nobody’s man and no sentimentalist.
While that is to be admired in some respects, it is also as far away from Arsene Wenger’s more fatherly approach as one can get. We’re just not used to that sort of audacity as Arsenal.
After a generation of management by stealth, in which business was conducted in a sensitive manner and with a quiet, calm sort of dignity, this feels like a whole new, more brutal way of doing things. It’s as if Gandalf has been replaced by Voldemort.
Is it just what this team and this club needs? It’s difficult to say, but it certainly feels as if the temperature has been ratcheted up a few notches. It’s not quite volcanic yet but it’s enough to make the milk boil for now.
I hope this isn’t a gamble that backfires on the new boss. We all want him to bring success back to the Emirates and, if he wants to put his stamp on this team, so be it. In order to do so, however, it would seem to me that gradual, considered change – as apposed to wholesale upheaval – is the best way to go about business.
Allowing Jack Wilshere to leave Arsenal is a bold first step in this new era. All we can do is hope that it turns out to be a wise one, and that a great servant of north London’s foremost exponents of football has not been made a victim of one man’s desperation to impress.