When Mikel Arteta joined Arsenal back in 2011 it was a very lowkey affair but his second welcome could be a fate deciding one for Arsenal.
This time he has joined Arsenal as head coach on a three-and-a-half-year deal with the club sitting in 10 position in the Premier League.
The club has conceded more goals after 17 games than in any other season in Premier League. This is the first time they have had a negative goal difference at this point.
The board has chosen him over many other experienced options with the official count at 16 other being considered for the job.
That may be because after his retirement as a player back in 2016, he joined Man City as the assistant to Pep Guardiola and spent three years in the role.
He has been credited with playing a key role in the development of players like Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane at Man City.
Arteta has also worked with Brian Kidd who is considered one of the best player development coaches in the world.
🥁 Introducing our new head coach…— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 20, 2019
Mikel Arteta ✍️ pic.twitter.com/PTmElGDMR3
But this is not the first time Mikel Arteta is considered by the board to become the Arsenal manager. 18 months ago he was first interviewed for the job.
In the summer of 2018 after Arsene Wenger left the club he was almost announced but at the last minute, Arsenal decided to give the job to Unai Emery.
Since sacking Emery 20 days ago, Arsenal FC are without a permanent manager. Freddie Ljungberg has been given the interim charge.
But still many feel appointing inexperienced Mikel Arteta is a huge risk. However, they believe the former skipper can succeed if he can bring positivity, defensive structure back to Arsenal.
Arteta will officially take charge as the head coach on Sunday.
Arteta all you need to know
The former Arsenal, Everton, and Rangers midfielder, Arteta is taking on his first managerial role after leaving his post as Assistant Manager under Guardiola.
Spanish midfielder started life with Barcelona’s juniors before spending time on loan at French giants PSG and eventually joining Glasgow Rangers.
He stayed in Glasgow for two years before returning to Spain with Real Sociedad but stayed there for just one season.
He headed back to the UK, this time with Everton. He stayed with the Mersey side blues for seven years, making 209 appearances for the Toffees, leaving for Arsenal in 2011.
Arteta made close to 150 appearances for The gunners and is all set to return for the second time.
Mikel Arteta captained Arsenal in their 2014–15 FA Cup triumph as well as 2014 and 2015 Community Shield. He was also part of their 2013-14 FA Cup success as a vice-captain.
Mikel Arteta’s Top 5 challenges
Sorting out Defense
Arsenal has conceded 27 goals in 17 games with Bernd Leno who has been exceptional this season managing to keep only 2 clean sheets.
Arteta will be without both first-choice full-backs, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney who are both currently out injured.
The news that Sead Kolasinac will be out at least till 2020 is another hit to already weak Defense.
His main objective will be finding an effective center-back partnership. He has Konstantinos Mavropanos, Sokratis, Mustafi, David Luiz, Rob Holding, and Calum Chambers at his disposal.
With the Transfer window just around the corner, He can also alternatively bring in a quality center back in January.
Sorting out defense also includes defending as a unit. He has to drill the shape and bring a structure to Arsenal’s defense.
Being a former captain Arteta knows what it means to lead the Gunners. In recent weeks we have seen how Granit Xhaka reacted to fans after being substituted.
One of the biggest mistakes Unai Emery committed was allowing the players to vote for the captain in the summer and their choice was Xhaka.
Fans were not happy with the news as many feel Switzerland midfielder Granit Xhaka is not good enough to play for Arsenal.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was given captains Armband following Xhaka’s reaction but even the star striker didn’t convince fans as he lost his temper with 20-year-old Joe Willock during the defeat against Brighton.
It will be interesting to see how the former skipper deals with the current situation.
Getting fans onboard
It is safe to say some of the Arsenal fans are as popular as Players themselves. The name of such fans that spring into the mind includes but not limited to DT and Troopz.
Their voices are heard by millions online and it is believed that many in Arsenal fanbase subscribe to their opinion.
One of the biggest criticism against Emery was that he struggled to communicate effectively with the media and fans which ultimately was due to his English fluency.
Arteta’s ability to speak English fluently is could be an important factor. Add to that the fact that he was their former skipper, that could put him in good graces of fans.
Stringing few good results could turn the tide at Arsenal and qualification to Europe could be the deciding factor among fans about him.
Star Player contract Situation
Star players like Mesut Özil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang only have 18 months left on their contract while Alexandre Lacazette has Two and Half years.
None of these players are likely to sign a new contract if the situation at Arsenal doesn’t change in the next six months.
Smaller tenure left means they are likely to yield only smaller transfer fees if sold.
Add to that the fact that Lacazette was being made to sit on the bench. Arteta needs to get Lacazette and Aubameyang back together in Arsenal’s squad.
As everyone knows that Lacazette is too good a player to be sitting on the bench.
On the flip side Center back trio Sokratis, David Luiz, and Shkodran Mustafi also have only 18-months left on their contract which gives him room if he wants to rebuild the defense.
Ozil is being linked heavily with Fenerbahce on a six-month loan deal but is it a good move or could Arteta turn him back to the Worldcup winning star that he is.
What do you do with a player like him? No one can deny his ability or the lack of work ethic in his game.
Add to that the fact that he is under immense pressure after tweeting about Muslim detentions in China, which is great from a humanitarian standpoint but is also troubling financially.
Everyone knows he can be a star if he is given freedom to express himself without any defensive duties but on the flip side, he is a £350,000-a-Week burden on the clubs wage bill.
Even if he leaves on a loan deal, there is no guarantee that the club that takes him will pay his full wages.
He is a unique player and to explain things a bit better here is a video from DW Kickoff
Doubts on Artea’s ability to Lead Arsenal
Inexperience as a manager
There is no denying the fact that being a coach is very different from being a manager.
For instance, a coach is a person who motivates a player when he is not picked by the manager but as a manager, you have to make the decision of picking the squad.
To add to that the fact that Freddie Ljungberg who is also a club legend failed and has been in coaching since 2016 failed to turn the tide at Arsenal.
It is very important that Arteta surrounds himself with experienced coaches adding Rodolfo Borrell is a good start.
Being a Head Coach and Not manager
If reports are to be believed Arsenal FC are looking for a head coach who would fit into their management structure.
That means Arteta will be working under the head of football, a technical director and a managing director.
But he will be able to add his man Sam Fagbemi in as a head scout but his targets will still have to go through the club structure.
Only because compensation and wages are low
Arsenal is expected to pay Man City £2m for Arteta and his backroom staff additions Rodolfo Borrell and Sam Fagbemi.
Add to that Arteta’s estimated annual salary of £5m which is less than half what managers such as Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, and Jurgen Klopp earn.
This left some fans feeling that board may be making this appointment only to save money and that is why they have not gone after experienced managers like Ancelotti.
Arteta First interview
For more news and updates click here