Is Edu Being on Holiday Such a Big Deal?
The season starts on Friday. At the time of writing, Arsenal have so far signed Nuno Tavares, Albert Sambi Lokonga, and Ben White. Outside of Matteo Guendouzi and William Saliba both being loaned to Marseille, no major outgoings have taken place, and Granit Xhaka has been extended, presumably in lieu of acquiring a new starting central midfielder. Almost every Arsenal supporter will tell you right now that further reinforcements are absolutely critical.
However, as discovered by @Ahmed91Gooner on Twitter, Arsenal technical director Edu Gaspar posted a photo of himself on holiday in Mallorca to Instagram yesterday. This is not the first time this summer that Edu has put up a vacation selfie on social media. In mid-July, a picture of him and former Head of Football Raul Sanllehi at a Monaco yacht club appeared on the Arsenal executive’s Instagram story.
Unsurprisingly, the reaction to this by the Arsenal faithful has been rather unforgiving. With Chelsea chasing Romelu Lukaku, City having just signed Jack Grealish and still in the hunt for Harry Kane, and United bringing Jadon Sancho and Raphaël Varane into the fold, Gooners are losing patience with Arsenal, who still have much to do in the waning days of the summer transfer window. The sight of Edu strolling through a Spanish beach resort is an unwelcome one for fans who want their club to bring in more signings.
But perhaps all this ire toward Edu is a bit unwarranted? After all, it is 2021; living through a pandemic for the last year and a half has shown us that with a laptop, cell phone, and WiFi connection, one can essentially telework from almost anywhere in the world. With the right apps on your phone, you may not even need the laptop. Edu could very well be adequately conducting business on the go, and properly contributing to Arsenal’s transfer efforts.
Additionally, the club have brought in Richard Garlick, who apparently will serve as the lead negotiator as they try to acquire players. As technical director, Edu’s primary function is to set Arsenal’s transfer strategy and determine which players the club should target in the market. With only a few weeks left in the summer window, Edu’s portion of the group project might already be largely complete, aside from providing input whenever players like Tammy Abraham and Bernardo Silva become available.
Of course, a man with as much responsibility as Edu has is probably never fully on vacation. He surely still has regular check-ins with Mikel Arteta, Garlick, and other members of the Arsenal hierarchy. But if that is all he really has to do until the season starts, he can’t be blamed for going off and enjoying some rest and relaxation with friends and family. He is still human, and will need the time off ahead of what will likely be a stressful and taxing campaign.
With all that being said, however, much of Edu’s job is about perception. Arsenal has been far from as transparent as they should be with their supporters, and therefore their opinion of the technical director has mostly been built off of information from external sources. Between his various gaffes involving transfers (notably including failing to complete paperwork for Saliba to go on loan and passing on Jude Bellingham), his connection to super agent Kia Joorabchian, and his willingness to go along with corruption within Brazil’s national team, many Gooners view Edu as incompetent and untrustworthy.
So while Edu has every right to enjoy a summer holiday, his seeming tendency to broadcast to the world how much fun he is having is not a good look as the club that employs him struggles to realize the overhaul they promised. This is especially true now, during a crucial final few weeks of the window. Arsenal begin their Premier League campaign against Brentford on Friday, and the starting XI has only been marginally improved with the signing of White. Despite the simple truth that few clubs have been particularly active during a window massively impacted by the pandemic, Arsenal need to get serious if they wish to have a successful season. Beaming a photo of an extravagant double date with a man who left the club a year ago under a cloud of controversy onto social media does not help matters.
Hopefully, Edu’s vacation serves him well and he returns to north London fully refreshed for the season ahead. In what could be a make-or-break campaign for the current regime at Arsenal, he will need the rest. But perhaps the next time he thinks of posting about his holiday online, he should keep it to himself.
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