The appointment of Unai Emery as new Arsenal head coach has been met with generally positive vibes of excitement and optimism from the Gunners’ fans and pundits. The 46-year-old Spaniard was officially unveiled as the successor to Arsene Wenger at the Emirates on Wednesday.
Emery outlined his coaching philosophy and approaches at the press conference, and his words sparked waves of encouragement for many that the Gunners will improve under the Spanish tactician and move forward following the worst season of Wenger’s 22-year tenure.
Club legend Ray Parlour has, however, sounded a word of caution in getting too carried away with expectations in amongst the excitement of Arsenal’s new managerial appointment.
In an interview with talkSPORT, Parlour, dubbed 'the Romford Pele' during his spell as an iconic player of Arsenal’s past, was questioned on whether the Gunners can once again challenge at the top of the Premier League table and compete with the two Manchester clubs under Emery.
“I would love him to do it, but I’m going to say no,” Parlour said in response to the notion of Arsenal winning the title under their new head coach.
Parlour believes that his former side should focus more on regaining their top four place as a more realistic and imperative task next season.
He added: “I think Manchester City are going to get stronger and stronger, and I think Pep Guardiola is going to stick around.
“I can’t see who’s going to challenge them. Top four is going to be important [for Arsenal]. They’ve got to get back into the Champions League, so, for me, top four will be a very successful season.”
It has been widely reported that Arsenal will have a pre-sales budget of just £50m to spend on transfers this summer, and those financial restrictions will prove to be a sticking point in Parlour’s opinion.
“Unless there’s massive investment, the same as Manchester City, [they’ll never win the league]," Parlour continued. "City will go out and buy the big players. If Pep Guardiola stays around and they keep trying to make the squad better, it’s going to be very difficult.”
Parlour’s pessimism may be shared by many, but there will remain hope among Gunners fans that Emery’s track record of overachievement with low-spending sides, including his three successive Europa League wins with Sevilla, will guide Arsenal to greater achievements than Parlour believes to be possible.
Emery’s maximising of the potential in young players, and even in more experienced players who had previously not played to their highest possible level in Seville and at PSG, will provide encouragement that the Spaniard can lead an Arsenal squad which is full of potential to higher levels next season.