Paul Merson reacts to Arsenal’s reported pursuit of Mikel Arteta and explains why it’s going to take more than a recommendation from Pep Guardiola to clean up the mess at the Emirates Stadium…
This is a big, big gamble putting someone that has never managed before in charge of a club the size of Arsenal.
It’s all well and good saying he’s worked under Pep Guardiola, but let’s be honest, Guardiola would struggle managing this Arsenal team. Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp would struggle!
You’re only as good as your players at the end of the day and the idea of Arteta replicating Guardiola’s style of football at the Emirates just falls apart when you look at the players he’ll be working with.
I felt sorry for the Arsenal players on Sunday because they are not good enough to play for the club. They are playing for a top, top club but they are mid-table or even lower-league players that they are expected to win football matches week in, week out.
It’s not as if Arsenal are underachieving, they’re just not good enough. Sunday’s defeat to Manchester City was embarrassing, cringe-worthy even. I cannot think of a single player Guardiola would take out of this Arsenal team.
Arteta’s credentials questioned
To ask someone with no managerial experience to take charge in the current circumstances at Arsenal is a big ask. But there are also massive question marks over his credentials, massive questions.
One of the major factors with Arteta being linked with the job is that he’s worked closely under Guardiola, and he used to play at Arsenal. Other than the fact he won’t get lost on the way to training, I don’t know what else he brings to the table.
We’ve seen how out of his depth Freddie Ljungberg has been in recent weeks. What’s the difference between Ljungberg and Arteta other than the fact Arteta has worked under Pep at Manchester City?
It doesn’t mean Arteta has earned his stripes or he’s better qualified, and Arsenal won’t suddenly start playing like City if Arteta is appointed because it’s not as simple as that.
You cannot blame Arteta for considering
I’ve got nothing against Arteta, he was a top player and is a top bloke – I’ve been in his company and he is lovely. For a coach in his position, he cannot not take the job. After all, getting into management is all about timing.
How many more times is he going to be in the running for a job like this? The way football works, he may never get this chance again.
But that does not take away from the scale of the job at hand at Arsenal. It’s all about where you start in management, where you cut your teeth. As far as I’m concerned you don’t start at one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
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Whose idea is this at Arsenal?
Arsenal are in this mess because the people upstairs simply aren’t fussed.