The era of trophy less run by Arsenal may be over if the words of new manager, Mikel Arteta are anything to go by.
The manager who was confirmed on the saddle on Friday has declared that Arsenal needed to be fighting for “top trophies” again.
He however appealed for patience after being confirmed as their new manager on a 31/2-year contract.
The former Arsenal midfielder joined from Manchester City, where he has been assisting Pep Guardiola since July 2016, but has never managed a club before.
“This is a huge honour,” he told the club website. “Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“We need to be competing for (silverware) and that’s been made very clear to me in my discussions with (owner) Stan and (son and non-executive director) Josh Kroenke, and the senior people from the club.
“We all know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve that, but I am confident we’ll do it.
“I’m realistic enough to know it won’t happen overnight, but the current squad has plenty of talent and there is a great pipeline of young players coming through from the academy.”
Arteta replaces Unai Emery, who was sacked last month, and takes the reins from caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg. The compensation paid by Arsenal to City is understood to be around £1 million (S$1.77 million).
The Spaniard is only the fifth man with no previous managerial experience to take the full-time reins at a “Big Six” club in the Premier League era after Roy Evans, Ruud Gullit, Gianluca Vialli and Tim Sherwood. But the Gunners’ head of football, Raul Sanllehi, insisted that his compatriot was “the perfect person for us”.
“We met several top-class candidates and Mikel stood out to every single one of us,” he said. “Mikel understands Arsenal football club and what it means to our fans around the world.”
The 37-year-old Arteta was a leading candidate to take the hot seat 19 months ago but the club then opted for his compatriot Emery.
While he takes over a team 10th in the league with just two wins since early October and is facing a tough debut at Everton today, Guardiola has backed him to become his own man at the Emirates.
The City manager said yesterday: “He decided to move there. You cannot stop it, follow your dreams and Arsenal was a big part of his career. We wish him all the best, I’m pretty sure he will do a great job.”
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also claimed it was “important that he knew the DNA of the club”.
On Arteta’s appointment, he said yesterday: “If you’ve been here, especially in periods when the club’s done well, you see what the culture is. Build on what’s been going well.”
Pundit Graeme Souness, however, poured scorn on Arsenal for handing such a big job to a relative novice.
But the players appeared to welcome the news, despite reports that the squad had their reservations over his inexperience and wanted Carlo Ancelotti, who looks bound for Goodison Park instead.
Mesut Ozil was the first to congratulate former teammate Arteta. He tweeted: “Welcome back to the Arsenal family!”