Mikel Arteta would be smart Arsenal hire, Yaya Toure says
Mikel Arteta remained in talks with Arsenal about the coaching vacancy even as Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola expected his assistant to still be at Wednesday’s League Cup game against Oxford.
The 37-year-old Arteta would be taking his first head coaching job at a team that has slumped to 10th in the Premier League — seven points from the Champions League places.
Former City midfielder Yaya Toure thinks Arteta would be in for a massive challenge if he takes the job.
“It’s going to be quite difficult,” Toure said in an interview with The Associated Press. “Why? Because Arsenal is struggling and I think if the directors of Arsenal listen to him and go in his way, maybe it’s going to work.
“All the time when you come in a new club which is struggling, you need the backing of your board to listen to you and do what you want. Obviously City have a lot more money (to spend) than Arsenal and I think it’s going to be quite complicated.”
Arteta joined City to work alongside Guardiola in 2016 after finishing his playing career at Arsenal. Having been coached by Arteta at City, Toure is sure of his credentials to become Unai Emery’s permanent successor at Arsenal.
“He’s very smart and he’s achieved a lot of experience in football games,” Toure said. “I think he’s going to be good, good, good for Arsenal because Arsenal need a manager with a new mind and a new setup.”
Hiring Emery in 2018 failed to produce the revival anticipated by Arsenal following the end of Arsene Wenger’s 22-year reign. Wenger won three Premier League titles, but the last came in 2004.
“We’ve been identifying Arsenal with Arsene Wenger because Arsene Wenger was top drawer for them,” Toure said while in Qatar for the Club World Cup. “I was so sad when I saw the fans arguing Arsene Wenger has to leave and ... now what is happening. Arsenal need a new vision of football, and I think Arteta ... can do it.””
Arteta has met with officials at Arsenal on at least two occasions to discuss taking charge of the London club, which fired Unai Emery last month.
City will not try to persuade Arteta to stay.
“He is an adult,” Guardiola said. “He knows exactly what he has to do. So, he was incredibly transparent and honest with me ... but the final decision is personal. Nobody is here if he doesn’t want to be here.”
Pictures in the British media showed Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham outside Arteta’s house in the early hours of Monday, less than 24 hours after City played Arsenal in the English Premier League.
Germany winger Leroy Sane is still sidelined for the League Cup holders at third-tier club Oxford as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury sustained in the Community Shield victory over Liverpool in August.
However, Sane has posted a picture on his Instagram page of him wearing soccer boots, along with the caption: “First pitch session done!”
“It’s the next step, to go to the pitch,” Guardiola said. “The next one will be to start training with us. Even part of the training session, and after a full training session. It’s incredibly good news for him and all of us.”