Arsenal set to appoint Arteta as new boss

LONDON • Manchester City will not stand in Mikel Arteta's way if he wants to become the new manager of Arsenal.

While the Premier League champions are reportedly unhappy at a lack of a formal approach for the City assistant coach, they will not stop the Spaniard from joining his former club.

Arteta played for Arsenal from 2011 to 2016 before retiring to link up with compatriot and City boss Pep Guardiola at the Etihad.

According to multiple British media reports, he is in advanced talks with the Gunners, with a £5 million (S$8.9 million) annual deal on the table, although it is understood that he wants long-term assurances over the nature of the project at the Emirates before signing on.

The former Arsenal and Everton midfielder was very close to landing the job 18 months ago, before the board decided to hire another Spaniard - Unai Emery.

However, the Gunners' decision to go back for Arteta to fill the managerial vacancy, instead of experienced candidates like Carlo Ancelotti - who is seemingly on the brink of a move to Everton - has drawn mixed reactions.

Former Everton teammate Joleon Lescott told website Football London "it was a great opportunity he will relish".

However, tabloids The Sun and The Mirror yesterday claimed that Arteta faces a fight to win over senior players owing to his inexperience, with the 37-year-old yet to manage a top-flight game.

Former Arsenal midfielder and pundit Paul Merson also blasted the club's hierarchy, branding its executives as "clueless".

He told Sky Sports: "This is a big gamble putting someone that has never managed before in charge of a club the size of Arsenal.

"Other than the fact he won't get lost on the way to training, I don't know what else he brings."

Arsenal are on an abysmal run with just one win from 12 games in all competitions.

Ivory Coast forward Nicolas Pepe said yesterday: "It is not enough, we are Arsenal. It is about us, not the coach or anything else. We have to wake up quickly."


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 18, 2019, with the headline Arsenal set to appoint Arteta as new boss. Subscribe