Former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has surfaced as a potential candidate to take the batten from Arsene Wenger in the north-Londoners’ dugout, although Henry Winter – speaking on The Sunday Supplement – is under the impression that Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City assistant isn’t ‘tough’ enough to man the club’s vacant helm.
Arteta, 36, has fine-tuned his managerial credentials at the Citizens under Guardiola’s astute command and helped his current employers claim the 2017-18 Premier League title, and though he’s not necessarily the head chief at the Etihad, he’s certainly earned his stripes in a top level environment.
Many managers at the summit of the modern game have been touted in the running for the uninhabited manager’s role at the Gunners, including Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, a cutthroat leader who Winter believes would be the perfect compliment for Arsenal due to his steely mentality and vibrant strategic expertise.
“Arsenal need a complete clear out – they need a strong, experienced, individual to address the failings,” he said.
“Someone needs to go in and sort out that dressing room, to get rid of Shkodran Mustafi and to coach Hector Bellerin.
“How many world class players are there in that squad? Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?
“They need a Diego Simeone type. Someone who is tough and can get into that soft dressing room, that soft boardroom – there is a soft executive feel at that club. There is a malaise that runs right through the club, which won’t be solved by Wenger going – he was only partly the cause of it. They need stronger individuals in there.”
Arteta, who was elected club captain in 2014, plied his studied trade in the centre of the park for Arsenal between 2011 and 2016 after migrating south from Everton, however Winter is adamant that the club, if they were to appoint a former servant, should select a pivotal member of the highly-coveted ‘Les Invincibles’ fold of the 2003-04 campaign.
“I would have gone with Patrick Vieira due to his experience and he has stronger engagement with the supporters due to the invincibles team,” he added.
“Arteta was part of the problem with the Wenger era in terms of he was supposed to be a leader there when the club was drifting. He’s got to explain how he can break that.
“That squad needs so much work – the amount of dead wood there. It’s the Mary Rose.”
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