News is making the rounds that you want to sign Jack Wilshere this summer. All due respect, but this had better be little more than a bunch of b.s. cooked up by amateurish publications desperate for ad revenue (and yes, I know that I’m little more than a part-time amateur who gets no revenue to speak of for his efforts). Pep, if there’s anything to this rumor, I will find a way to set you straight. Quick hint: it involves your ability to taste my shoe leather for weeks.
Pardon my French, but just what the hell is this even about? Have you checked the Bundesliga standings? Bayern is 22 points ahead of Dortmund and won the league so long ago that van Persie still had black hair. Boom. On top of that, y’all just signed your chief rival’s best attacking midfielder, or had you forgotten? Mario Götze joins the likes of Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Müller, Ribéry, Mandzukic, and Robben in a very already-prolific attack, so what the fudge are you on? They’ve tallied 94 and conceded 15 in the Bundesliga. Just what is it that you think Bayern needs?
Do you have something against Arsenal for playing a style similar to Barcelona’s but at a fraction of the price and in the toughest league in the world? Yes, I’m sure Real Madrid tested your patience from time to time, but let’s face facts. La Liga consists of a small handful of difficult teams and a bunch of cannon fodder. If you’re pursuing yet another Arsenal middie, it makes you look petty and weak. It suggests that your model and philosophy just don’t work without Arsène there to do your dirty work, scouting, recruiting, and developing young players for you to poach and deploy as you see fit. Ask Alex Song or Cesc Fàbregeas how their moves have worked out for them. Flashes, maybe even stretches, of brilliance sandwiched between longer stretches of mediocrity or worse. Yeah, you can blame Vilanova for mismanagement, but the reality is that you can only play 11 at a time, and a few of these have to be defenders and forwards, not to mention a goalie. There’s only so many midfielders one team can play, even on one that plays so much tiki-taka/total football.
Really, Pep, I thought you were better than this. For one, I really don’t think Bayern even needs Jack. They’ve already demolished everyone who’s stood in their way (well, except Arsenal), including your dear Barcelona. Is that 7-0 aggregate not enough for you? If it turns out that you are in fact seeking to sign Jack, I actually pity you. It suggests a certain paranoia on your part, a fear that you will be exposed as a bit of a fraud of a manager who can only succeed when he’s surrounded and supported by the best players in the world. Gone would be your reputation as a magician who can weave together players into a squad; in its place would be a little man squealing, “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”
Even as I write this, Pep, I’m hoping that I’m just over-reacting to the latest silly rumor. I fully expect to wake up Monday morning to read follow-up stories in which you fully and thoroughly discredit these stories. You owe it to Arsène, who, after all, showed you that total football could work. By the time you stepped in at Barcelona, he’d spent a decade showing all of Europe how this style of football can succeed in the long-term and against fierce opposition. If you try to swoop in to snatch Jack or any other Arsenal player, you only confirm your debt to Arsène and reveal the copy-cat nature of your success. Take his philosophy and style of play, but strip away the financial sanity, and you’re no better than Man City. Friend, any manager’s philosophy will “work” with the best players in the world deploying it. Give me Bayern’s current roster, and I’ll tell them they can only touch the ball with their weak foot. They’ll make it work. This doesn’t make me a good manager.
Long story short: show us what you can do with what you have. What you have is currently among the world’s best. If you can’t win with the current squad, if you have to raid and pillage other team’s rosters, we’re going to see you for you really might be: a charlatan who only looks to manage teams already guaranteed to win. I’d introduce you to Phil Jackson, but I worry that such a move would only backfire.
Therefore, stand down, Pep. Leave Jack alone. In fact, maybe you should loan out a few players to prove just what you’re capable of. Just an off-the-cuff, amateur recommendation.