Mikel Arteta to Arsenal is confirmed. The Spaniard was close to being appointed in 2018 after Arsene Wenger’s departure. However, the club chose Unai Emery at the time thinking he was the better option. Regardless, the FA Cup winner with the Gunners has returned to the Emirates, this time in the dugout. No experience, no C.V, no indications of how he will fare. It’s a huge gamble by a club the size of Arsenal. But considering their current situation, do they have anything to lose?
Mikel Arteta – The initial plan
We did a whole article on why Arteta shouldn’t join Arsenal HERE. At the time, it seemed strange to leave the world class infrastructure of Manchester City and being the right hand man of one of the greatest managers of all time. Everything looked perfectly in place for the 37 year old to succeed Guardiola in the long term. A seamless transition for the club, the players and Arteta himself.
But no. The La Masia academy graduate has seen opportunity in North London to kick start his managerial career. If nothing else, the man deserves credit for taking up one of Europe’s toughest jobs. Both parties are going in blind. Arsenal are in crisis, sitting in 10th place, a feeling of unrest among a divided fan base and fingers pointing towards the board yet again. It’s a huge task for Arteta to take on, especially considering he’s going to be learning on the job. Yet could this turn out to be masterstroke?
High risk, high reward
Pep Guardiola himself arrived at Barcelona for his first job in management without any experience. He’s revolutionised football ever since with his philosophy and ridiculous trophy cabinet. Granted, you can’t compare THAT Barcelona team to this Arsenal team. Yet if a club the size of the Blaugrana took a punt on a novice at the time, who’s to say the Gunners can’t do the same? Everyone starts somewhere and the former Everton midfielder could prove to be a great appointment. Of course we have no idea yet, but it’s ridiculous to rule him out from immediately.
So why do we think this could work? Well, if Guardiola and Arsene Wenger are singing praises about your intelligence, passion and general knowledge of the game, you’re not a mug. He’s seen two great managers operate week in week out. That carries weight on its own. Management is a completely different kettle of fish agreed, but he knows the game inside out. Perhaps he has a genius tactic and new ideas up his sleeve that no one knows about. Again, I’ll stress it’s a risk. Yet, I think it’s something the club needs.
Short term pain, long term gain
Some fans wanted Carlo Ancelotti because he’s a serial winner. Agreed, the experience and C.V he has is almost unmatched in the football world. But appointing him would be short term and reactionary. The Italian hasn’t stayed at a club for more than 2 seasons since his 8 year stint at AC Milan concluded in 2009. In someways, you could say he’s been a journeyman Something that a club, which has gone from years of stability to a chaotic transition phase, doesn’t need. It would be like Manchester United appointing Mourinho. Looking for a quick fix and immediate success. But in reality, failing to take the club to where they strive to be.
Arteta isn’t in the same breath as either Mourinho or Ancelotti. Not at all. But it’s a question of timing and what’s best for the club. Arsenal need someone who understands the values of the club and can bring back the culture that fans fell in love with. They may have to suffer in the short term. No Champions League, selling some players, losing games here and there.
Mikel Arteta – Summary
But in the long term, Mikel Arteta could be looked back on as a significant appointment. Arsenal fans want to enjoy going to games again, not leaving 15 minutes before the final whistle. If the Spaniard can bring back an identity, a style of play and a good atmosphere to the Emirates, this will excite fans. If the feel around the club become positive again rather than toxic, I’m sure it will see an upturn in results. Only time will tell how successful Arteta will be in the red of North London…
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