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Wenger: ‘Arteta will need right support’

Former Arsenal boss issues warning as appointment of inexperienced ex-Gunners skipper moves closer

19 December, 2019 — By Steve Barnett

Mikel Arteta looks set to become Arsenal’s new manager. Photo: Ronnie MacDonald

ARSENE Wenger has warned that Mikel Arteta will need to surround himself with the right people if he is to succeed as Arsenal’s new boss.

As the New Journal went to press, Arteta’s arrival hadn’t yet been officially confirmed, but with talks over the former Gunners captain being brought in to replace Unai Emery at an advanced stage, Arsenal are hopeful that he will be unveiled as new head coach in time for the visit to Everton on Saturday.

Freddie Ljungberg’s spell as interim boss has failed to spark any signs of a revival on the pitch.

Arsenal have won just two Premier League games in almost three months, and go into the festive period sitting 10th in the Premier League.

Having never managed before, there are question marks over whether Arteta is the right man to turn their fortunes around. As assistant coach to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City he has enjoyed two title-winning campaigns, and also won the FA Cup and two League Cups. But Wenger believes Arteta’s lack of experience will need to be handled carefully if he is also to prove successful as a head coach.

“I am an Arsenal supporter,” said the Frenchman, “and at the moment I support the manager in charge and the manager in charge is Ljungberg.

Arsene Wenger

“When Arteta will be in charge I will support Arteta. He (Arteta) is very intelligent, he has passion, he has knowledge, but Ljungberg does as well.

“I believe that Arteta has certainly a great future, he has certainly learned a lot in his first position as an assistant coach. After that, as well, he will have to deal with the fact that he has no experience at that level [as a manager] and he will have to get surrounded well.”

Wenger dismissed any suggestions that by remaining in charge of the club for so long – almost 22 years before he stepped down as manager in 2018 – struggles were inevitable. And he also seemed to take a swipe at the club’s transfer dealings after his departure as he reflected on the struggling squad that Arteta looks set to inherit.

“When I left, the club was in a very strong financial position. They have bought many players in between – and they have not all worked out,” added Wenger.

“It’s just about the right decision-making and that’s all that it’s about in football, it’s about good players.

“We speak about the success of Liverpool, of course they have a great manager, but you have to say as well that in they last three/four years, they bought the right players.”


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