The Gunners are looking for a new boss after Unai Emery was sacked on Friday, with the club winless in their last seven games, their worst run since 1992.
- How Emery was sacked: The full story
- Where it went wrong at Arsenal
- Analysis: Emery was out of sync with Arsenal
- Emery: Players always honoured shirt
Emery was sacked just 18 months into the job, having replaced long-running manager Arsene Wenger in 2018. But his position became untenable in recent weeks, with the final straw coming in a 2-1 defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday.
However, according to Law, Emery is not entirely at fault for Arsenal’s demise, saying the owners and the decision-makers at the Emirates Stadium are “slowly chipping away at the club”.
“I don’t think Unai Emery was the problem at Arsenal, you can have a short-term fix by replacing the manager but the ownership at Arsenal is slowly chipping away at that club,” Law told Sunday Supplement.
“The ownership of the Kroenkes has been terrible. The executives they’ve now appointed: Raul Sanelli, has he done a good job? No. I don’t know what Edu does. Vinai Venkatesham seems to be involved and I have no idea what he does.
“They put out a statement a few weeks ago backing Emery, but there was no name on it,” he added. “The most pointless statement in the world. Nobody would put their name to it. Josh Kroenke, Stan Kroenke, Raul Sanelli, nobody.
“Why put it out? It was the most pointless statement ever. Nobody had it in them to put their name to it. Who is picking the next manager? Is it Sanelli? Is it Josh Kroenke? Is it Edu? Is it Vinai? Is it a football agent? Who is picking the next manager at Arsenal? They don’t know [the criteria, or what they want].”
“The ownership and people making the decisions have been shambolic.”
‘It’s a horrible job’
Law went on to say that Arsenal are paying the price for a number of poor decisions from the top, starting with signing Nicolas Pepe for a club-record £72m above rebuilding the team’s shaky defence.
“It’s crazy. It’s is going to cause them so many problems because they’ve still got to rebuild their whole defence and yet they spent £70m on Pepe, a player they didn’t really need,” Law said.
“You’ve got (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang, who will be 31 in the summer and might want to leave. (Alexandre) Lacazette is 29 and might want to leave.
“You might have to replace two strikers, or get at least one in, and it’s going to cost massive money. Probably not going to be in the Champions League. It’s a horrible job.”
‘Arsenal need to look at Man Utd’
Meanwhile, former Arsenal player Freddie Ljungberg, who was Emery’s assistant, has been put in interim charge of the Gunners ahead of their trip to Norwich on Renault Super Sunday.
However, ESPN‘s Mark Ogden insists the Gunners should avoid doing what Manchester United have done with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, even if Ljungberg is a success in the short term at the Emirates Stadium
“Ljungberg can be a great interim manager but what Arsenal have to be careful of is avoiding what Man United did with Solskjaer,” he said.
“Arsenal should look at Man United for a lot of reasons. Succeeding Ferguson and succeeding Wenger – Moyes was a bad one, Emery has been a bad one.
“Watch Man United, look at Solskjaer and realise that the immediate bounce you get from a caretaker manager shouldn’t be enough to convince you he’s the guy for the job.
“Solskjaer may prove to be, but there are doubts over that at the moment. If Ljungberg gets them to the top four, is that enough? Does he have the credentials to manage a club like Arsenal? I don’t think he does.”
If not Ljungberg, who next for Arsenal?
Max Allegri and Brendan Rodgers are among the names on the shortlist for the vacant Arsenal manager’s job, Sky Sports News understands.
Joining Allegri and Leicester manager Rodgers on the list are Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta, Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti and Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo, while former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and Rafael Benitez have also been linked with the role.
Here the Sunday Supplement panel of Law, Odgen and head of sport at the Sun, Shaun Custis, debate Arsenal’s options…
LAW: “I think Pochettino would be crazy to take it. He’s got less chance of winning a trophy at Arsenal than he had at Spurs. Walking into a world of problems, ruin your legacy at Tottenham. If he sits tight, he’ll have Bayern Munich maybe offering a job, Manchester United, Real Madrid. Why would you jump straight in at Arsenal? I think his Spurs legacy matters to him. Having covered Tottenham and Pochettino for a long time, it genuinely matters to him. I can see him being Spurs manager again one day – easily. Going off and managing another club and coming back and being Tottenham manager one day. I think he’ll feel he’s got unfinished business there.
“I think Rodgers would be the best pick, but I’d be surprised if they could get him mid-season. If Arsenal came to him and said end of the season it is yours, I’d be very surprised if he turned it down. I don’t think he’d take it mid-season. I don’t see him walking out on Leicester and the way the season is going.”
OGDEN: “He left Celtic mid-season and got a lot of criticism for that, people asking why he has walked out on a treble treble. I don’t think it’d suit Arsenal now, going in with the mess he’d have to sort out. I think if he came up in the summer, of course, he’d take it.”
LAW: “He’d be the best pick. He would communicate a message, he’s a very good communicator. He’s proven in the Premier League.”
CUSTIS: “Arsenal think very highly of Arteta, they think he can do a good job and it’s why Guardiola made him a coach. He thinks highly of him as well. If Ljungberg gets off to a good start, would you see Arteta as a better option than Ljungberg? He’s steeped in Arsenal, he’s done his bits of coaching, what’s the difference?”
OGDEN: “Another man who should be a candidate is Benitez. Are they prepared to change the model and go back to a more George Graham style of football with a guy that will get them organised? Is Benitez too much of a risk? I think he again would be a decent candidate because of his track record in the Premier League and in Europe.
“Southgate be a good fit for a long-term strategy, a long-term plan. His club record at Middlesbrough wasn’t great but I think you have to look beyond that. Next summer if he does well with England he might decide it’s time to go, if he doesn’t do well it’s time to go.
“Next summer could be a good time. Arsenal would be perfect for Gareth Southgate. But a lot of clubs have this idea that they need to have a continental manager and look beyond that. But look at what Chris Wilder has done, on a smaller level, at Sheffield United. I think this trend for going to coaches who are pure coaches, like Pellegrini and Emery, it seems to be moving towards people with a feel for the club.
“Like Chris Wilder, or Jurgen Klopp. Guys that invest in the club and the fanbase, show they’re there for the right reasons rather than passing through. And there have been a few coaches in recent years who have just been passing through and left no real imprint. Arsenal need somebody, like George Graham or Arsene Wenger, who will embrace the club.”
Watch Norwich vs Arsenal on Super Sunday from 1pm on Sky Sports Premier League; Kick-off 2pm