Arsenal’s new manager search could be reaching its concluding stages as they are reportedly close to finalizing Mikel Arteta as Arsene Wenger’s successor.
Arsenal have been engaging with many reported managerial targets since Arsene Wenger announced his intention to leave Arsenal. The search had come down to a few names, but the Independent now reports that Arsenal are close to appointing former player and current Manchester City assistant, Mikel Arteta as their new manager.
Although the news is still raw and there has been no confirmation of it from Arsenal yet, many quarters believe it would be the Spaniard to take over at the Emirates despite the many high profile names linked with the job. Massimiliano Allegri, Luis Enrique, and Patrick Vieira are the other candidates connected with the situation.
Since then, Allegri has seemingly decided to stay at Juventus, while Luis Enrique, who was strongly linked has somewhat priced himself out with some big demands to become manager.
It is believed that Arsenal CEO, Ivan Gazidis is looking for someone who is in the mould of a head coach and not necessarily a manager material, and with Sven Mislintat by his side, the Board feels Arteta would be the ideal candidate to execute that role. It is also thought that Gazidis has more or less convinced the Arsenal board of this appointment.
With already as many as three first-team coaches released by Arsenal since Wenger’s departure, as well as long-term physio, Colin Lewin also departing the club, there could be further changes to the backroom staff with Steve Bould and Jens Lehmann’s role among others’ in doubt. Bould and Lehmann have been offered positions, but it depends on the new manager’s requirement of them.
Bould on the other hand, reportedly has reservations as regards working under a manager who might be younger to him but will make a decision on his future once an appointment is confirmed as he reportedly has a prospect in Stoke City. Arteta meanwhile could bring in three of his staff additions if he is given the job.
The Independent further continues the story claiming that Arteta is ready to offer, fan favorite Santi Cazorla a player-coach role at Arsenal, one that’s reminiscent to Michael Carrick’s role in his final season at Manchester United. Santi Cazorla’s decision to take up such a position is still not confirmed as he’s been seeking a return to action since returning from injury.
There is an absolute belief that Cazorla’s best days as a player could be behind him following his return from an injury which had him sidelined since October 2016. With age also a factor, Arteta’s idea could, on the other hand, seem appealing for Cazorla who could still contribute as a player as he could be a coach. Arteta knows the importance of Cazorla in the team’s dressing room, which could be vital in keeping the squad together.
Will Arteta be the right choice to replace Arsene Wenger or will the decision backfire as it happened at Manchester United a few seasons ago with the David Moyes appointment? The next few weeks will be crucial for Arsenal, especially as the club are looking to wrap up the managerial position and further focus on player transfers, which they would want to conclude before the World Cup.