Mikel Arteta is now hot favourite to be named the new Arsenal manager but what are the qualities that have seen him move to the head of the queue?
Arsenal officials are today in talks with their counterparts at Manchester City over the availability of Arteta as they search for Unai Emery’s replacement.
Representatives from the Gunners were pictured leaving Arteta’s Manchester home in the early hours of Monday morning with the club expected to appoint a new manager before the end of the month.
Why do Arsenal want him?
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol takes a closer look at why the Arsenal hierarchy are keen to bring the club’s former captain back to North London.
Arsenal’s chiefs have long been impressed with Arteta and it was only a last-minute change of heart that saw Unai Emery appointed ahead of him 18 months ago.
Despite his lack of managerial experience his coaching credentials are impeccable. He has worked under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City for three years and, like Guardiola, came through the Barcelona system as a player.
Arteta is seen as a modern coach, he’s very good one to one. He improves players and is noted for the amount of time he spends with players watching video and analysing performances.
He is seen as a less risky appointment than someone like Max Allegri who has no Premier League experience, doesn’t speak particularly good English (a criticism often levelled at Emery) and would make transfer demands in January.
Arteta would be happy to toe the line at Arsenal and be a head coach, prepared to work with the squad he inherits and leave transfer business to the likes of head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu.
Unlike “big name” candidates his wage demands would be more reasonable and the compensation Arsenal would have to pay Manchester City would also be minimal.
Finally Arteta would be quite a popular appointment with fans. He never achieved club-legend status at Arsenal so supporters wouldn’t exactly be dancing in the streets, but as a former club captain he would at least be given a chance to prove himself.
How is he viewed at Manchester City?
Sky Sports News North West reporter Ben Ransom on why Arteta is so highly regarded at City.
Two weeks ago Mikel Arteta received a public recommendation for the Manchester City job… from the current manager Pep Guardiola. In an interview with my colleague Geoff Shreeves, Pep said he’d definitely be a candidate to replace him at City, and in recent weeks has made no secret of the high esteem he holds his No 2 in.
But Guardiola also knows that Arteta is ready to be a No 1 right now.
In much the same way Guardiola was able to study and learn from his mentor Johan Cruyff while a player at Barcelona, Arteta has been able to work closely with one of the greatest coaches of this generation.
He was brought in at the start of Guardiola’s time at City and has played an integral part in two record-breaking seasons. The pair have developed a mutual trust and Guardiola has come to rely on Arteta’s tactical analysis in particular.
You only have to watch the pair of them in the City dugout on match day, side-by-side, often heads together when considering tactical changes.
With this year’s title all but gone there were suggestions last week that a reported break clause could open the door to Pep calling time on his City project this summer.
Guardiola denies thinking about leaving and instead maintains he’s fully focused on a fifth season in Manchester. But football goes in cycles, and it feels like the time is coming for regeneration at the reigning Premier League champions.
It would be a huge body blow if Pep were to lose a trusted lieutenant midway through the campaign, especially with a significant challenge already looming on the horizon to reinvigorate the squad and reclaim top spot from Liverpool.
The pundit’s view
Former Arsenal forward and Soccer Saturday pundit Charlie Nicholas believes learning the ropes under Pep Guardiola is the best preparation Arteta could have for life at the Emirates.
He said: “Arteta has been a captain at the club, he knows how to lead the team, in my opinion he’s worked under the best coach on the planet and as Pep Guardiola said… he believes he’s ready to be a No 1. Let’s get the deal done, I would be very excited at the prospect of this.
“When Arteta was approached by the club 18 months ago he had certain demands. And if he’s got certain demands in the way he wants to structure the team, that means he’s prepared and he’s ready to be a leader.
“We need some leadership qualities from someone and he’s been at a top club with superstar footballers and I think him and Pep have helped make some of them better.