Arsenal will trust Jonas Eidevall contract extension is a risk worth taking after Mikel Arteta success


Eyebrows were raised on Thursday afternoon when Arsenal announced manager Jonas Eidevall had signed a new long-term contract with the club.

Understood to be a three-year deal, it takes the Swede’s tenure with the Gunners to 2026 following his initial appointment in 2021. But, reaction on social media suggests the fanbase is very much split over whether it was the right call to offer Eidevall a new deal.

Frustration stems from the team’s recent form. Arsenal ended last season with a 2-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa and they began the new campaign with a penalty shootout defeat to Paris FC in the first qualifying round of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, ending their run in Europe before it had even truly begun.

Matters were made worse over the weekend when the team suffered a narrow 1-0 loss against Liverpool in their opening game of the WSL season - despite setting a new league record with 54,115 fans in attendance at the Emirates on Sunday.

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The club, however, will be hoping their faith in Eidevall will pay off in a similar fashion to the way it did with men’s team manager Mikel Arteta last year. The Spaniard has been in charge of the Premier League side since December 2019 and he signed a new deal in April last year - it came as part of a joint announcement that saw Eidevall sign his previous contract, which was set to expire at the end of the 2023/24 season.

Arteta’s extension was confirmed on the back of three consecutive league defeats against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton. The 41-year-old admitted at the time he was left ‘emotional’ by the club’s decision and that they had sent a ‘serious message’ by offering him a new deal.

"The club offered me the contract when we lost three matches ... that doesn't happen in football,” Arteta told reporters after the announcement was made. “I got emotional when I saw it. That tells me, 'These guys are serious.’ I’m excited, grateful and really, really happy today.”

It was a move by the club that ultimately paid off in the best possible way given they ended the 2022/23 campaign as the closest challengers to eventual winners Manchester City. Arsenal’s form last term earned them a spot in the Champions League for the first time in six years - a significant turnaround from where they had found themselves in the years prior.

When asked by Arseblog’s Tim Stillman about the timing of his contract announcement and the parallels with how the club navigated Arteta’s own renewal, Eidevall told the media in a press conference: “We would much rather have won the last game and announced the contract of course. But I also think it’s very much like the long-term vision that we have.

“We share that, that’s the important thing. Each one of us wants to push and we want to get the short-term results right, but I feel very much supported by the club. I have always felt that and I think and hope they feel the same for me, that they feel a lot of trust in me being the right person to drive this forward.”

Arsenal’s renewed faith in Eidevall shouldn’t come as much of a surprise given they invested heavily in the squad over the summer with the additions of Alessia Russo, Kyra Cooney-Cross, Amanda Ilestedt, Laia Codina and Cloe Lacasse. There’s a group of players there capable of challenging for major honours every single year, which is understandably why expectations are so high.

The Gunners clinched their first piece of silverware under Eidevall last season when they overcame Chelsea in the Conti Cup final back in March, but chasing down their rivals in a league campaign is a different story. Chelsea dropped points in just three of their 22 league fixtures to pip United to the title last term - there is a need to be as close to perfection as possible.

The next few weeks leading into the international break will be extremely telling as to where the team is at and whether they will be in a title race this year. They face an extremely difficult test on Friday night against last season’s runners-up United, followed by the visit of Aston Villa next weekend.

It’s on Eidevall to now deliver the results and prove the club are right to stick with him and push on with the project, or fans will be left questioning why the decision was taken so soon.

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