Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith believes his the Gunners should appoint Mikel Arteta as their permanent manager following the dismissal of Unai Emery.
Freddie Ljungberg is currently the Gunners’ interim boss and took charge of his first game at Norwich City last weekend, a contest which ended in a 2-2 draw.
Unai Emery at Arsenal: Five key things to know…
- Unai Emery succeeded legendary Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger in 2018.
- He was dismissed from the post in November 2019 after a string of poor results.
- Emery took charge of 78 matches in all competitions and reached a Europa League final
- Arsenal won 43 of those games and lost a further 20.
- His former assistant Freddie Ljungberg has taken charge of first-team coaching duties on an interim basis.
His appointment followed a string of disappointing performances with Emery at the helm; the north Londoners would pick up just eight wins across 20 matches, the last coming in October against Bournemouth.
A run of seven matches without a win ultimately saw Emery pay the ultimate price with his job, a fate that befell him days after Mauricio Pochettino was sacked from rivals Tottenham Hotspur, though the Lilywhites immediately appointed his full-time successor in Jose Mourinho.
The powers that be at Arsenal haven’t indicated the process they’ll undergo to fill that vacancy, with Ljungberg expected to steady the ship for a while although a couple of names, including Pochettino’s, have been heavily linked with the job.
Smith, who registered 86 goals across 264 league outings between 1987 and 1995, now a pundit feels Arsenal should offer the manager’s job to ex-club captain Mikel Arteta who currently serves as Pep Guardiola’s right-hand man at Manchester City.
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“I would like them to be bold and go for a younger, more progressive manager,” he told Sky Sports News.
“I’d like Mikel Arteta. I know a lot of Arsenal fans say, ‘He’s never been a manager. How could you do that? We need tried and trusted experience’.
“But I think he’s going to be a top manager quite shortly. If Arsenal don’t get him I think somebody else will. If he stays at Manchester City when Pep Guardiola steps down, he’ll be a stick on to takeover.
“From what you hear of his work at Man City, he takes so much of the training, the players respect him a great deal. I think he’s been responsible for improvements in Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling – so I think he is excellent. He’s got that Arsenal connection as well. He’d be my choice.”