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How Arteta went from snubbed to Arsenal’s perfect boss

PUBLISHED: 14:58 19 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:58 19 December 2019

Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta (left) and Rodolfo Borrell before the Carabao Cup quarter final match at Kassam Stadium, Oxford. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta (left) and Rodolfo Borrell before the Carabao Cup quarter final match at Kassam Stadium, Oxford. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

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Just over 18 months after being snubbed by the club, Mikel Arteta is set to be named new Arsenal boss. But, what has changed from then to now and why is he viewed as the perfect man for the Gunners.

Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta before the Carabao Cup quarter final match at Kassam Stadium, Oxford. Picture: Mike Egerton/PAManchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta before the Carabao Cup quarter final match at Kassam Stadium, Oxford. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA

In May 2018, Arteta was leading the race to replace Arsene Wenger at the Emirates. There was plenty of support for him amongst the club's hierarchy, with many seeing the Spaniard as the young, progressive coach the Gunners needed.

He thought he had the job too, with backroom staff lined up ahead of taking the role.

But, with some doubts about his managerial experience, Arsenal made a U-turn and went for Unai Emery instead.

At the time, Emery was viewed as a safe pair of hands with a good, trophy-winning track record and plenty of experience at the top level with the likes of Sevilla and PSG.

Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta before the Premier League match at The Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: John Walton/PAManchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta before the Premier League match at The Emirates Stadium, London. Picture: John Walton/PA

The club wanted someone who could better cope with the mammoth task of taking over from Wenger, who had built a legacy and dynasty in north London over his 22-year tenure.

Experience was seen as key to that, something which Arteta lacked and Emery didn't. Despite support and admiration for the former, they went for the latter, with a presentation to the board by Emery the final step to securing him the job.

In hindsight, it was the wrong decision, but Arsenal are now keen to right the wrong.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (left) with assistant Mikel Arteta (centre) during the training session at the City Football Academy, Manchester. Picture: Martin Rickett/PAManchester City manager Pep Guardiola (left) with assistant Mikel Arteta (centre) during the training session at the City Football Academy, Manchester. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA

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The Gunners hierarchy looked for three key aspects in their search for Emery's successor. Premier League experience, knowledge of Arsenal and a young, progressive coach.

Plenty of names who were in the frame, such as Carlo Ancelotti, Marcelino and Paulo Sousa, but they only fit the bill for one or two, not all three.

Arteta did though, having played at the Emirates for five years, had an involvement in Premier League football since 2005 and shown plenty of promise as a coach.

Manchester City managers Mikel Arteta (left) and Pep Guardiola during the training session at the City Football Academy, Manchester. Picture: Barrington Coombs/PAManchester City managers Mikel Arteta (left) and Pep Guardiola during the training session at the City Football Academy, Manchester. Picture: Barrington Coombs/PA

Although his lack of experience was still a concern, Arsenal couldn't afford to miss out on the Spaniard for a second time, considering the high regard that he is held in.

Arteta's work under Pep Guardiola will also be a big draw for the Gunners, but it remains to be seen if he can replicate what he has learned.

After the failures of Emery and the current situation the club finds itself in, it's also recognised that the Arsenal job is a long-term project rather than a quick easy fix.

Having a young manager with plenty of promise in the hot seat would make that task much easier than an older manager such as Ancelotti.

In Arteta, Arsenal are appointing someone who suits their identity, but will bring new ideas to change the ethos of a club that is falling, and falling fast.

While the lack of experience will still be a question mark surrounding Arteta, he will need the full support of the management team and funds to build the squad he wants.

Whether he will get this support, only time will tell, but one thing is for certain, Arteta is the man Arsenal want and the man they are set to get.


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