Pat Rice is to be succeeded as Arsenal’s assistant boss by youth team coach Steve Bould. Is this a good appointment?
From a stability point of view, it’s hard to fault the appointment. As Arsene Wenger said today, it offers the club ‘continuity’. It’s true that Steve Bould knows the club’s football philosophy and the way the club works.
However, some would say if you try to keep things the same for too long you will go backwards. The ambition of the club seems limited to getting Champions League football. Based on that criteria, Arsenal have been hugely successful! Fifteen years of continuous Champions League football!
Let’s make no bones about it, however, some fans will see Rice’s resignation as a missed opportunity. Some will say we should have brought someone in who would challenge Arsene Wenger’s authority. Although, Wenger joked that Rice ‘kicked’ him a ‘few times’ during games, we knew that was tongue-in-cheek. Wenger is right to praise Rice as a ‘fighter’, but few can imagine him standing up to Le Boss.
The question is will Steve Bould? I think he will to a greater extent than Rice. But I don’t think he’ll put Wenger’s nose out of joint, so in that sense it’s a good move by the club. There won’t be any in-fighting after Bould gets his promotion at the end of the season.
It is a safe appointment but is NOT an exciting one. It seems to be the club’s policy to recruit from within. That’s understandable. Stable clubs usually do well. But sometimes, we have to grasp the nettle. Take the opportunity to shake things up. Like we did in the summer with the squad.
How will it affect Arsenal’s performance at WBA this weekend?
I think the players will want to give Pat Rice a good send-off. Theo Walcott could be back, if he passes a late fitness test on his hamstring, so that will strengthen the team. Park, Squillaci, and Santos are slightly doubtful for the game, but none of them would be expected to start anyway.
Meanwhile, will Rennes defensive midfielder Yann M’Vila sign for Arsenal?
It seems as if the news leaking out of France saying the two club’s had already agreed a deal was just a ruse by the player’s agent to drum up some interest in his client. So right now, I’m not optimistic that Arsenal will sign him. And if they do, it won’t be for a record transfer fee of 22m euros, that’s for sure!