Arteta Arsenal Manager: A Bold Choice or a Foolish Gamble?

We now appear to be on the cusp of the Mikel Arteta era. Though the appointment of the Spaniard has not been confirmed, rumour is gathering pace aplenty. Of course, it may all be a smokescreen for a ‘bigger’ name, however unlikely that is increasingly looking. Odds with major bookies have gone from 20/1 last week to 1/4 this.

So, Arteta. An ex club captain and not a name many would’ve had as first choice when Arsene Wenger’s departure was announced on April 20th. The Manchester City assistant was highly thought of and considered a very professional player when he was with the Gunners, and the inability to maintain his services upon retirement was seen as a disappointment at the time.

Now though, despite him going away, learning what can be suspected as ‘copious amounts’ and therefore being linked with the manager’s job, supporters are suddenly treating such a move with trepidation.

While some Twitter accounts stating their intent to protest are ridiculous and should be ignored in the most part (see below), having reservation over Arteta is probably fair.

There are multiple reasons. Firstly and mostly importantly, he’s a complete rookie. While ‘experience’ is often overplayed – Alan Pardew has Premier League pedigree in comparison to Darren Moore for example – hiring someone for their first role would be a huge risk by Ivan Gazidis and the board. At a time when the club desperately need to try and unite the fanbase, Arteta would surely be viewed as a divisive choice.

Arteta being the manager also has an impact on a number of the players. Many were teammates of his just a few years ago. Eight of the 14 players who featured for Arsenal in his last game are still part of the first team squad, while he himself is of course one of the other six. His already-developed relationships with these players would change completely.

For those who didn’t play alongside the 36 year old, they will be told things in the dressing room, but will have to form their own opinions of him on the training field. Did Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang join the club to play for a rookie next season? You’d urge on the side of guessing not. Arteta also has none of his ‘own staff’ that we know of, so the mass-cull of experience that’s just occurred at Colney is a big first job for him to take on.

Having touched briefly on those ‘protest’ tweets, it feels right only to say that the fanbase also needs to be considered. A slow start for Arteta could see him destroyed by Christmas. We’re a different club and it’s a different world to 1996, when Wenger started, and people will not be slow to vocalise their displeasure.

The reasons above are all legitimate and if you’re feeling one of them, I think that’s only right.

However, there is a flip side. Arteta would represent an extremely exciting change of pace – a move many have called for – for the best part of half a decade. Unlike the manager of 22 years, Arteta is a complete wildcard; a total unknown. There are snippets from interviews about what he’d expect from his players, his style and his philosophy, but ultimately we’re talking here someone who has never picked a teamsheet or signed a player.

He certainly wouldn’t be my first choice for right now, despite my own personal belief that he is a very astute man, a grafter and – having worked so closely with Pep Guardiola – most probably a meticulous detailer. I like that he’s never gone into punditry, or made a tough decision such as the pay-cut he took to join Arsenal, or in turn leaving us to learn under Pep.

Future Perfect? Arteta lined up for Arsenal role?

The experience thing is what puts me off the most. I worry that a wet-behind-the-ears gaffer mollycoddles players that were friends and ex-teammates of his. Lord knows Mesut Ozil needs a post-contract rocket up him and a manager to stamp his authority down. Can Arteta do that? Will he have the confidence? The know-how?

Personally I’d be more happy if we were Arteta’s second or third job, but I suppose timing and fate have a funny way of playing out.

Either way, the Spaniard would represent a brave new dawn, and it’s one that all Arsenal fans need to get behind. Starting out with negative thoughts about him, or failing to give him a chance, would be a really poor way to tackle his appointment, even if he wasn’t who you’d have picked. If it is him, and we move into the Arteta era, then best of luck to him. He’s going to need it.

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7 Responses to Arteta Arsenal Manager: A Bold Choice or a Foolish Gamble?

  1. Mike Walsh May 15, 2018 at 4:41 pm #

    As a supporter I can only hope that the experienced team that are tasked to select the next manager are leaving little to chance.
    If they get this decision wrong then the fans will, rightly, want their heads on the block.
    How long have the powers that be had to line up a manager to take our club forward?
    I have my doubts about appointing an ex player with very little experience dealing with the challenges thrown up by the players, fans and increasingly the media
    Good luck with that if it is Arteta

  2. chopper4001 May 15, 2018 at 5:07 pm #

    If they do pick Arteta as Head Coach, I think it’s obvious that they are completely changing the management structure to something more like that in US sport. Lots of coaches each with specialist areas. This means we will (hopefully) be employing a specialist defensive coach (why Steve Bould may have been kept on, although I’d hope for better tbh) and a specialist attacking coach (DB10?). Dennis would make a lot of sense actually as it would give the fanbase something to rally behind. We’ve already got the fitness side sorted I think, as well as all of the non-playing stuff.

    If that is the case, it would be a complete sea change, certainly to the way we work, but quite possibly to the UK game as a whole. I’d be quite excited by that.

    That said, we need a decent season next year and this sort of experiment is as risky as they come.

  3. Neil Fitt May 15, 2018 at 5:21 pm #

    Arteta is a massive gamble,a step too far and he’s too close too the existing squad as a player! Arsenal need someone to pull in world class defenders!!

  4. Victor Thompson May 15, 2018 at 5:22 pm #

    It may be too early to decide if any fan can give his support to Arteta but on the premise that theoretically he is the next manager, then I think we are duty bound to give him at least a year to show that he can do the job. The club did what the fans wanted by sacking Arsene ( he was sacked according to Wenger himself ) so lets do our part and give Arteta our full support.

    By the way we lost so many games and failed to win anything because we let in 51 goals. Our defence did its share of achieving a top 4 finish and scored plenty of goals. We have a very potent pool of attackers, but we have a sieve for a defence and if he can sort that out he has the other half already in front of him. In reality if we get a midfield enforcer and a goal keeper we should be capable of getting back to the top 4.

  5. Elias Moroke May 15, 2018 at 5:30 pm #

    I also think the board is driving our lovely team to destruction. They seem not to be knowing what they are doing. Appointing of Arteta would fuel the exodus of players. With due respect to Arteta, he was a very good captain, but not a legend. He has never coached a reserve team of any football club in the world. By working with Gardiola, does not mean he can be Gardiola. This is English Premiership and not MLS. Arsenal is a massive club to be undermined like that. What happened to coaches like Ancelotti, Diego Jardim of Monaco or even Shaktar coach.

  6. DEW May 15, 2018 at 9:17 pm #

    Hello kronke town, you are accused of systematically promoting the business man agenda.

    Having said that, It will be a total joke if Arteta is next manager. Total disaster for the club, for the fans and especially for him (Arteta). I want to remind you what Man United did to great manager like Moyes. You appoint a young potential when you have well established robust system like Barcelona or Real Madrid. Not to a team under same manager for 22 years and that needs a lot of changes and fixes. Guys this is something that goes quite beyond well wishes.

    They can bring Ancelotti for few years, he will bring other clubs’ experience, fix most problem areas of Arsene era. It would be easier to bring in new players and boost confidence in dressing room.

    Or they can go for Monaco, Napoli, Roma, Shaktar etc coaches. These coaches have good records of getting maximum result from limited resource and identifying potential target in the transfer market.

    But credit to kronke side, it is really good thing to sack some of Arsene backroom staffs, like goal keeper, fitness coaches, medec etc staffs. I am guessing you know why.

  7. Marble Halls May 18, 2018 at 11:14 pm #

    Good article. I agree totally, but we’ll see how well he can do.

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