After 22 years, change has finally occurred in North London.
Unless you live under a rock, you should know that long-time Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has served his last match as the Gunners’ boss. The last time that Arsenal has had to perform a coaching search was back in 1996 after Bruce Rioch was sacked after an argument with the Arsenal Board of Directors. In Arsenal’s current day manager search, many names have been thrown around including the likes of Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri and Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsmann.
One name that has stood out in Arsenal’s search is Mikel Arteta. Arteta is currently the assistant manager under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and was the Arsenal captain from 2014 until his retirement in 2016. Recently, many rumors have ramped up saying that Arsenal are interested in hiring Arteta to replace Wenger. Seeing as Arteta has only two years of any form of coaching, and none as a manager, experience, many believe that this would be a blunder of a hire for Arsenal.
But, should Arsenal give Arteta a chance?
The one upside about Arteta is the amount of praise that he has received from his peers. Back in 2016, before Arteta had even retired Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino, managers of both Manchester City and Tottenham respectively, were fighting over the chance to hire Arteta as an assistant manager. Yes, there is a big difference between being an assistant manager and the full manager, but the praise speaks to some volume.
Another upside is also a downside. Seeing Arteta as unproven, he could work out really well. Look at Real Madrid as an example. Before he was appointed as the full manager, Zinedine Zidane’s only managerial experience came for the Real Madrid B team. Seeing as how well it has worked out for Real Madrid hiring an unproven, inexperienced former club legend, Arsenal could think to give themselves a go. Another similar example would be Pep Guardiola, as before he was appointed manager at Barcelona, he had only spent time as the Barcelona B manager.
However, there are still many downsides to Arteta being hired. Arsenal have now finished outside of the Champions League places for the past two seasons, and are in dangerous territories of falling out of the “top 6” of England and entering what could be a long period of mediocrity. Hiring Arteta would bring change to what Wenger saw the past few seasons but it could end up being the bad change.
Overall, I do not think that Arteta should be Arsenal’s first choice at all. While he certainly has the potential to be a fantastic manager, a club of Arsenal’s stature should not be giving coaches with only two years of experience their first managerial gig. However, if Arsenal are to hire Arteta, then as a fan I would give him my full support, and not jump on his back before he even coaches one match.