Paul Merson Says Arsenal Manager's Job Would Be Too Much for Mikel Arteta

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

Manchester City's assistant coach Mikel Arteta looks on during the English Premier League football match between Newcastle United and Manchester City at St James' Park in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, north east England on November 30, 2019. (Photo by Lindsey Parnaby / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. /  (Photo by LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP via Getty Images)

Arsenal legend Paul Merson has said Mikel Arteta is not the right man to succeed Unai Emery as the full-time Gunners coach. 

Arteta is currently part of Pep Guardiola's coaching staff at Manchester City and reportedly has been linked with the vacant manager's job at the Emirates Stadium.

However, in his Sky Sports column, Merson has expressed doubts about Arteta taking control in north London.

"This is a big, big gamble putting someone that has never managed before in charge of a club the size of Arsenal.

"It's all well and good saying he's worked under Pep Guardiola, but let's be honest, Guardiola would struggle managing this Arsenal team. Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp would struggle!

"You're only as good as your players at the end of the day and the idea of Arteta replicating Guardiola's style of football at the Emirates just falls apart when you look at the players he'll be working with."

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: Pep Guardiola the head coach / manager of Manchester City celebrates with Mikel Arteta the assistant head coach / manager of Manchester City during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester City at Turf Moo
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

According to Sky Sports' Kaveh Solhekol, Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham and the club's lawyer Huss Fahmy were photographed leaving Arteta's home after Manchester City won 3-0 at the Gunners in the Premier League on Sunday. The Arsenal officials reportedly left in the early hours of Monday morning but were captured on camera.

The 37-year-old played for Arsenal from 2011 to 2016 and was a popular member of Arsene Wenger's squad after joining from Everton.

Arteta's reputation has rapidly grown at the Etihad Stadium, learning his trade under Guardiola after accepting an assistant coaching role in 2016.

City have won back-to-back Premier League titles under Guardiola, and Arteta has been visible on the sideline as one of the Catalan's trusted staff.

Arsenal's Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta celebrates scoring his team's fourth goal during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in London on May 15, 2016.  / AFP / IAN KINGTON / RESTRICTED TO ED
IAN KINGTON/Getty Images

Merson added Arteta's credentials do not stack up, despite his recent achievements and history:

"One of the major factors with Arteta being linked with the job is that he's worked closely under Guardiola, and he used to play at Arsenal. Other than the fact he won't get lost on the way to training, I don't know what else he brings to the table.

"We've seen how out of his depth Freddie Ljungberg has been in recent weeks. What's the difference between Ljungberg and Arteta other than the fact Arteta has worked under Pep at Manchester City?"

Emery succeeded Wenger in 2018 when the legendary coach resigned, but the former Paris Saint-Germain boss failed to heal Arsenal's deficiencies.

However, Emery did have huge experience as a coach having taken charge at Valencia, Sevilla and Spartak Moscow. Despite this, his knowledge wasn't enough to improve Arsenal's recruitment and results.

Big Premier League sides have recently turned to former players to take charge, with Frank Lampard rejoining Chelsea and Manchester United appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager. A return to the capital for Arteta would mirror the current trend of two of England's biggest clubs.

Arteta was a thoughtful tactician on the pitch, and his playing experiences in England, Spain, France and Scotland should be a great benefit to him when he lands his first manager's role.