The 2020 summer window was like no other.
Of course, the current global climate and the resulting financial implications ensured it would always be. What made it more unique, was that is was Arsenal’s first with Mikel Arteta officially as manager, working alongside Edu Gaspar as technical director.
Even 12 months ago the scenario was totally altered, with head of football Raul Sanllehi, head coach Unai Emery and chief scout Francis Cagigao the key figures in operations.
The wool was pulled over our eyes with the mouthwatering sum paid for Nicolas Pepe, as we still, as fans, were left mostly in the dark about the rumblings on behind the scenes. For too long, under the recent regime as well as the cursed reign of Ivan Gazidis, the disconnect between club and fans had been growing ever distant.
More from Pain in the Arsenal
Summer business wrapped up and marquee signing secured, the situation couldn’t be any more different. Throughout the window we were kept in the loop with Arsenal’s intentions.
Arteta’s official title was changed, not by some short statement with no follow up, but backed by an interview with Edu and Vinai Venkatesham that provided absolute clarity on the decision. Why they made the change, and what it spelled for the future.
How he and Edu would work in tandem; how the lines of communication between themselves, the board and the owners would progress, with the end goal of improving the squad and operations.
With the window in full swing, Arteta spoke with openness, as did Venkatesham, about paths to take and how to pave them.
Most recently the technical director – who completely reconstituted the scouting department over the summer – spoke at length on the Arsenal website about how the process of securing Thomas Partey, among other topics, took place. Mention of KSE’s involvement, how long they tracked the midfielder for and insisting that mentality was crucial in all their summer business were all mentioned.
Transparency behind the scenes at football clubs often remains a mystery. The unavoidable feeling of being left in the dark by those running your beloved side is what has pained Arsenal fans for years. The discontent from the fanbase has been voiced on numerous occasions.
Now, we’re seeing that voice be heard. Edu, but importantly the club as whole, are being open with us. Football can go right or wrong on the pitch, but if there is a connection between those in the stands and those in charge, the animosity when it does take a turn for the worse is lessened in severity.
When the turnstiles open again the Emirates will be packed weekly by those paying a small fortune. Seeing a return on that expenditure, not just with results on the pitch but by feeling as though you’re part of the club itself, is the least Arsenal fans ask for.
Direct conversation with supporters and feeling involved in the process, as we are now, is a big step in the right direction.