So as the dust settles on the end of another Premier League season, Arsenal’s managerial hunt has gone the full merry-go-round. At first the rumours were that Arsenal were looking at a manager who had earned an international reputation at some of the biggest clubs in European football. The likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Luis Enrique and Massimiliano Allegri were all touted.
Yet here we are a month away from the World Cup in Russia, and Arsenal seem to have settled down on the appointment of a young head coach. The off the field appointments of Sven Mislintat (head of recruitment) and Raul Sanllehi (head of football relations) has diluted the need for a proverbial ‘manager’. Chief executive Ivan Gazidis has paved the way for Arsenal to modernise their structure in line with the way football now operates. It is perhaps exactly why Mikel Arteta seems to have become the man they have decided to entrust with just one responsibility: the team.
The Spaniard arrived at Arsenal in the summer of 2011 from Everton when Arsene Wenger made a last minute trolley dash before the end of the transfer window to stitch up his badly cut team. He made an immediate impression both on and off the pitch. On it, he was calm in possession and set the tempo for the rest of the team to play off of. Off it, he was an authoritative voice; not in the traditional sense of screaming your lungs out but a personality and voice of reason that carried weight around a young squad.
It was why the next summer after Robin van Persie’s departure that Arteta was made captain. He would then go on to be the first Arsenal captain since Patrick Vieira to lift a trophy when the side won the FA Cup in 2014 against Hull. Arteta along with another 2011 arrival Per Mertesacker had the effect of steadying a sinking ship. They were there when times were at its worst, and were strong enough leaders to carry the team into shaking the trophyless tag off the club’s back with FA Cup successes.
So with Arsenal once again seemingly in decline, Mikel Arteta may once again be the reassuring hand the side turns to steer them away from trouble once more.