Arsenal are set to name Mikel Arteta as their new head coach, according to Fabrizio Romano. After weeks of speculation over both his and the club’s futures, the two have reunited in a match which promises to be exciting if nothing else.
Following Unai Emery’s turbulent tenure at the club, executives have elected to take a new approach with his successor and give a big opportunity to a relatively small name. That doesn’t mean the task is anything but monumental.
Arsenal Appoint Mikel Arteta Head Coach
Unai Emery’s departure was preceded by a run of eight matches without a win across competitions. Freddie Ljungberg‘s brief tenure as interim boss then yielded just one win in the first five matches.
That left them in a huge hole which seems insurmountable. After their 0-3 loss at home to Manchester City, Arsenal were seven points off of fourth-place Chelsea for the final Champions League place.
The main issue for Mikel Arteta to sort is the defence. Arsenal have hardly kept a clean sheet this season, regardless of competition. That reckless defending has left them with the Europa League looking the likeliest route back to the Champions League before Christmas.
In order to return to Europe’s elite competition, the Gunners will have to become far more consistent and stop conceding easy goals to the opposition. That is no small deed.
Mikel Arteta will have to do so after just over three years as Pep Guardiola‘s assistant at City. While the former Everton man has gained praise from all corners of the footballing world, stepping into a job as large as this must be daunting.
Arsenal are in uncharted waters having gone adrift of the top four in recent seasons. Meanwhile, their new head coach has not yet managed in any capacity, only assisted.
City boss Pep Guardiola then confirmed on Tuesday that he was unsure whether his assistant would remain at the Etihad.
“He’s talking with Arsenal and I don’t know what will happen and when but Mikel is an incredible person,” said Guardiola.
“We were so smart to pick him up and now the others want him I’m not surprised.
“He’s a good manager, that’s why he’s done well with us. He’s an adult, he can make up his own mind about what he wants to do.
“I was aware of the meeting with on Sunday night. Mikel has been very honest with me all through this situation but for now he’s still a member of the City staff and part of our group.”
Arteta helped lead Manchester City’s training session as normal on Tuesday with Guardiola, but talks with Arsenal have continued while the two clubs have also held conversations about a compensation package.
Arsenal will have to pay over £1 million to secure the services of the Spaniard, who spent five years in north London as a player between 2011 and 2016 – winning two FA Cups – before he retired and made the move into coaching with Guardiola.
City are travelling down from Manchester this afternoon for their Carabao Cup quarter-final at Oxford United and Arteta is still expected to be on the bench for the last-eight tie at the Kassam Stadium.
But Arsenal then hope to finalise their move for their former midfielder ahead of Saturday’s trip to Everton in the Premier League.