So, after a brazen summer flirtation, Juande has left his pretty wife, for a more difficult woman. Bottom three and struggling, the majority of Arsenal fans have revelled in the mess going on at the Lane, especially after such mighty proclamations of glory before the season started. However, will the appointment of such a high profile, and respected coach finally change the dynamics in North London? The answer depends entirely on whether they can keep hold of him.
Ramos’ initial concern will be survival, transforming a shell-squad into one which has belief to win matches. This is a tall order as he will not have access to new players until January, by which time Spurs could be seriously adrift and St. Totteringham’s Day will also be drawing near.
After January, we will start to see the beginnings of a Ramos team emerge. This will be Wenger-like in terms of formation and passing, and the new man will probably steer them to a mid table finish. By that time Arsenal should have fulfilled their early-season promise and collected a trophy or two.
While both sets of fans will then look forward to the 2008/2009 season with differing levels of expectation, Arsenal also know full-well it is when the practised forces of destabilisation will begin.
For the last ten or so years we have fought off interest in our manager and top players who are blatantly tapped up by the Spanish, and to a lesser extent, Italian giants. Next year Arsenal are already bracing themselves for a massive assault on Fabregas from Real Madrid, who have started their campaign early, through Schuster, Sergio Ramos et al, informing us how easily Cesc will slot into their system. Further unwanted attention this summer is also expected in improved players such as Van Persie, Hleb and Adebayor.
Now, it is Spurs’ turn to find out what this feels like, and in many ways they’re in a weaker situation. There is no manager transfer window and that means Ramos becomes an aggressively chased man the second a European force starts struggling. These same clubs relentlessly pursued Wenger, who to his eternal credit, never showed any real interest. However, Ramos’ CV shows him to be a ‘mover’, and the powerhouses around Europe will have taken note that his head can be turned. It will be interesting to see how Tottenham cope with this when the first offer comes in.