Arsenal legend Alan Smith backs the club’s move for Mikel Arteta.
Arsenal is close to naming Mikel Arteta as their new manager and former Arsenal striker Alan Smith believes it is the right thing to do.
Arsenal has been under the management of Freddie Ljungberg since they fired Unai Emery, but they have now made their move for Arteta to come in as a permanent replacement.
Smith is one of a few pundits who believe Arteta is a gamble worth taking as the Spaniard has never handled a senior managerial role before.
The Arsenal legend believes that Arteta’s work with Pep Guardiola has put him in a good position to take Arsenal to the next level.
There have been talks that Arsenal doesn’t have the players for Arteta to implement Manchester City’s style of play, but Smith believes that he can improve Arsenal’s players individually as he has done to some Manchester City stars which could contribute to the overall good of the team.
“Obviously, he’s had a huge influence from Guardiola up at Manchester City. He takes a lot of the sessions and Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne have both credited him with improving their game, Smith wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“Yes, he’s never been a manager before so it’s a vastly different job, but I think he carries with him an authority. He’s quite ruthless if he wants to be, he’s very driven like Guardiola, and Arsenal need that at the moment. They need someone to give them an injection of life, new ideas, modern ideas on the way the game is going now and yes, it is a risk, but it’s a calculated gamble that I think will pay off.
“It’s not going to be a quick fix, but I would expect to see his fingerprints on his first few matches and some differences but the one worry for any Arsenal fan is the fact he probably hasn’t got too much money to spend over the next few transfer windows.
“They seem to have spent that in advance on the likes of Nicolas Pepe and David Luiz, but by the same token, that’s why they need a good coach to improve the players they’ve already got on board. I think he’s the one that can do that.
“Work on the training ground is needed. They need to instil some good habits because a lot of bad ones have crept in over recent seasons. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I can see him having a fairly quick impact with what he’s going to do on the training ground.
“Arteta knows the Premier League extremely well. He knows Arsenal well. Of course, there’s a risk involved because when the buck stops with you, when you are making decisions that have ramifications on the team and the reaction of the supporters, he’s got to take all that on board, and it will be a learning process for him.
“However, I think the basic ingredients are in place. His ability as a coach, first and foremost, is what that squad needs to move forward.”