Mikel Arteta To Arsenal Would Be Risky But Rewards Could Be Plentiful

It seems as though former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta is now the frontrunner to become the next Gunners boss. He’s also the bookies favourite, the best price you’ll currently get is 4/11.

The former midfielder spent the last five years of his playing career at the Emirates, helping them to win the FA Cup in 2014.

After departing the North London club, Arteta has spent the last two years working under Pep Guardiola and Manchester City. This season ‘The Citizens’ secured a Premier League and League Cup double triumph, playing scintillating football as they marched towards the trophies.

While Pep understandably gets most of the plaudits for his team’s performances, Arteta is always at his shoulder and seems to be learning all the time.

The young Spanish coach seems to be one that likes to analyse the team as a unit and is also a good man-manager too.

Both Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling have improved greatly this season and the City manager claims Arteta was a big factor in that:

“Arteta has helped them both to make a lot of actions near to the box,”

“The qualities one against one, we say to the wingers when you receive the ball, if the control is good, the shape is good, go, go, it doesn’t matter if you lose the ball – try.”

Now I’ve been a keen admirer of Mikel since his teenage loan days at PSG. The creative middle man would then join Rangers and I saw him up close and he always stood out.

He had terrific vision, remained calm under pressure and could craft a lovely pass. The other thing I remember about Arteta in those days, was that he was always a quiet and shy young man. Yes he’d maybe get into a wee on-field scrape here and there but nothing major and not very often.

Even as he progressed at Everton and then moved onto Arsenal, he’d usually let his football do the talking. He’d become a responsible captain but one that led by example and not one that would shout and bawl at his teammates.

I didn’t automatically look at Mikel and think ‘there’s a manager in waiting’.

But clearly that ambition was in there and he has impressed the right people. To be handpicked to help Guardiola settle into life in England, shows you how highly regarded he is in illustrious footballing circles.

Let’s not forget that as a kid, Arteta was brought up through the FC Barcelona youth set-up. That education and being Pep’s number two at City will no doubt see the Spaniard being an attack-minded  boss, who’ll want to see his players press high and keep to a fast tempo.

That style would suit Arsenal down to the ground and have the home support enthralled.

Another plus in hiring Arteta would be that fact that he obviously knows the club and can use the best of Arsene Wenger’s methods.

Wenger always appreciated the Spaniard’s leadership qualities:

“He is very influential and he’s a leader – one of the leaders of the team and he’s a technical leader as well.”

Now appointing the rookie boss would certainly be risky. He’s still only thirty-six years of age and has never managed a football club before. Even that might work in his favour. Being young and fresh can mean that you’re full of new ideas that can catch the imagination of the squad. Then there’s the fact that he also doesn’t have any other bad marks on his CV, so players can’t prejudge him on failings from elsewhere.

Also being inexperienced will probably see Arteta concentrating more on what needs to be done on the training field. An experienced coach might walk in and demand more control of transfers or the club’s infrastructure but why have people like Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat at the Emirates and not use them to their full potential?

It’s time for Arsenal to hit the reset button; to try and get back to winning ways and to entertain the Gunners support again.

As I say, Mikel Arteta would be a risky option but it would also be a bold choice that has the right pedigree to bring in an exciting brand of football that should at least tick the entertaining box!


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