Arsenal have officially confirmed they’ve parted ways with Unai Emery.
“Our most sincere thanks go to Unai and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand. We wish Unai and his team nothing but future success”, Josh Kroenke said, speaking on behalf of the Arsenal board and the club owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment.
Kroenke went on to explain that the decision, which appeared imminent after the home defeat at the hands of Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday, as the consequence of the results as well as the performances not being on the level expected.
Emery replaced Arsene Wenger in the Emirates dugout after the Frenchman spent 22 years with the club, winning numerous trophies and turning the Arsenal team into an extremely formidable one for long periods. However, Wenger’s grip on things towards the end of his reign seemed to be slipping and the decision to have him replaced was made. Emery’s tenure began on May 23, 2018, and now, 18 months and three transfer windows later, things don’t look any better. In fact, it could be argued that they’ve slipped further down in that time.
The Spaniard has been reasonably backed in the transfer market both in 2018 and this year, with goalkeeper Bernd Leno, defenders Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz and Kieran Tierney, midfielders Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira, as well as attackers Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli all arriving during his stint in charge. Admittedly, there have been a few moments that probably acted in an undesirable way on the morale of the team about which Emery couldn’t do much, such as the robbery attempt involving Mesut Ozil and Sead Kolasinac, the antics of former captains Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka.
But the fact remains that he failed to steady the ship, improve the team and the results with it, which why he had been brought in in the first place.
Freddie Ljungberg will now take charge on a temporary basis, and according to Miguel Delaney of the Independent, Mikel Arteta tops the club’s wish list for the permanent job.