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Arsene Wenger Would Support Mikel Arteta at Arsenal Despite Lack of Experience

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistDecember 18, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 15: Mikel Arteta of Manchester City before the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on December 15, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images)
Robin Jones/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger has given his backing to Mikel Arteta but warned about his lack of experience amid strong rumours the Manchester City assistant coach is set to be appointed Arsenal manager. 

Wenger's successor, Unai Emery, was sacked as Gunners boss in November after 18 months in charge following a poor start to the 2019-20 season:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

@Arsenal’s fewest points after 13 PL games 2019-20 18 1994-95 19 2012-13 20 2014-15 20 2006-07 22 https://t.co/ylQhK2Hp9c

Interim manager Freddie Ljungberg has subsequently overseen a draw at Norwich City, a win at West Ham United and home losses to Brighton & Hove Albion and City to leave Arsenal sitting 10th in the Premier League table:

Premier League @premierleague

17/38 https://t.co/lgJSxkOUdD

Arteta, who has been Pep Guardiola's assistant as City manager since hanging up his boots at Arsenal in 2016, has been widely touted as Emery's permanent replacement, and the deal looks all but done:

Sky Sports News @SkySportsNews

BREAKING: Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola expects assistant Mikel Arteta to be appointed Arsenal head coach soon.

Per Sky Sports (h/t James Dutton of MailOnline), Wenger, 70, said he will support Arteta as Gunners manager if he is appointed:

"Look I am an Arsenal supporter—I said that in my last speech. At the moment I support the manager in charge, and the manager in charge is [Freddie] Ljungberg. When Arteta will be in charge, I will support Arteta.

"For the rest, of course Arsenal is going through a very difficult period, so it's better I don't comment too much on that, and I just suffer like every supporter. He will have to deal with the fact he has no experience at that level."

TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 24:  Arsene Wenger speaks to the media at Yoshimoto Hall on October 24, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.  (Photo by Jun Sato/Getty Images)
Jun Sato/Getty Images

It will certainly be a gamble if Arsenal do opt to appoint Arteta, 37, given he only has three full seasons of coaching under his belt, and none of them as a head coach.

In that time, though, he has helped Guardiola mastermind record-breaking back-to-back title wins, as well as a domestic treble triumph last term.

He also knows Arsenal well having spent the last years of his playing career at the Emirates Stadium between 2011 and 2016. 

The Gunners are in dire need of some stability. They have had no new-manager bounce from the promotion of Ljungberg, unlike Everton have under Duncan Ferguson.

And they have crucial Premier League fixtures coming up between now and New Year's Day against Everton, Bournemouth, Chelsea and Manchester United.