Arsenal have been given permission from Man City to speak to Mikel Arteta about the vacant managerial position and it seems likely within the next 24 hours their search for Unai Emery’s replacement will be over. Emery was sacked at the end of November with Freddie Ljungberg taking control on an interim basis, however with 1 win in 5 games the urgency to name a permanent replacement is red hot.
Arteta now seems to be the Arsenal board’s answer, despite having no managerial experience on his resume. Arteta has been assistant to Guardiola since 2016 and has been touted as a future replacement for his fellow Spaniard at the Ethiad should he walk away from the City job, with some suggesting that could be as soon as this summer. With that unconfirmed though Arteta had become the front runner for the Arsenal position and as a former player is likely to be a popular choice, however just because you are a good assistant doesn’t make you a good manager. It doesn’t matter if you are assistant to one of the greatest managers of his generation, which Pep currently is, as current City coach Brian Kidd can attest for having been Alex Ferguson’s right hand man during some of Manchester United’s biggest nights, only to have a short forgettable stint as manager of Blackburn Rovers. Arteta could be different, but here are a few reasons I think it’s a bad deal for both Arteta and Arsenal.
Arsenal are in turmoil. This is possibly the worst team in recent history and is a first time manager really going to get the time and backing to rebuild this team? It could take 3, 4, 5 years and $100’s of millions of pounds to even think about challenging for a title. If Arteta is the man will the board and fans tolerate a season or two of dross? Recent history says no, which could leave Arteta’s reputation in tatters and Arsenal back to square one in their search for success. Even the great Pep Guardiola spent a season learning the trade with Barcelona’s B team before stepping up. Arteta would be stepping straight into the fire.
Add to that the fact Arteta is use to working with the very top talent at Man City. The financial clout of the Manchester club has meant he’s working with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and David Silva to name but a few. At Arsenal he’ll be walking into a dressing room in complete turmoil with the likes of David Luiz, Granit Xhaka and an unenthusiastic Mesut Ozil to work with. Not to mention Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and the drama that seems to follow him and Instagram quotes from family members. It may take 3 or 4 transfer markets to get even a resemblance of a team with his stamp on it.
Not to mention the fact he will be challenging Man City and Liverpool for transfer targets of any real quality. The reality of the drop in quality and the realization that he will have to build a team of younger players with potential will need time and patience. Neither of which are a staple of any Premier League team due to the huge monetary implications.