September 19, 2021


Football and other sports news

Mikel Arteta needs time like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp

3 min read

Former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou has backed Mikel Arteta and says the Spaniard needs more time to turn the Gunners’ fortunes around.

Despite winning the FA Cup in his first few months in charge, pressure mounted on Arteta last season with Arsenal finishing in eighth place in the Premier League, meaning they missed out on a spot in Europe for the first time in 26 years.

The Spaniard hasn’t been afraid to weald the axe, though, during his time in charge, with Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi both leaving the club after being frozen out, while experienced defender David Luiz has also been allowed to leave on a free transfer this summer.

Djourou, who made 144 appearances in all competitions during eleven years with Arsenal, played with Arteta at the Emirates Stadium as a player and believes his former teammate has what it takes to be a top coach.

But the 34-year-old – who retired from professional football last month – doesn’t feel that Arteta currently has the right players to get Arsenal back to where they want to be.

Asked whether Arteta was the right man for Arsenal, Djourou exclusively told talkSPORT: “I think that’s always a question of time. Now, with Arsenal and with others, we are in a situation where we want a quick fix or a quick transition and sometimes, it takes more time.

“Look at [Jurgen] Klopp and Pep [Guardiola], they haven’t had success straight away.

Of course, you want some success at some point. I’m not saying Mikel didn’t have a lot of time; he’s had some time.

Is he the right man? I think he has the right ideas. Does he have the right players for the kind of style that he wants to play? I think that’s another question.

“I think there are too many characteristics that you have to take into account. It’s not like ‘Okay, he’s the right man’. He definitely has good ideas. Would that work with Arsenal in the long run? We shall see. Hopefully, this season can start with better expectations and better results.

“We have seen Italy win the Euros and they have big personality and big players. But we have seen other teams like Spain do a great job. We have seen a team like Denmark do a great job with not many big stars in their ranks, but a great mentality. I think sometimes we tend to forget [that].

“Sometimes we tend to say: ‘We have too many egos.’ When you have eleven players who are fighting for the shirt or fighting for the coach or whoever is around, you have a team.

“It’s not about who we get in or which player is coming in or what quality that he has. Does he have the mentality to go with the others that are already here? I think that’s the point that we tend to forget because we want names.”

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