Paul Merson has openly questioned Mikel Arteta’s credentials as a manager, suggesting that the Arsenal job may be too big of a task for the Spaniard to take on.
Speaking to Sky Sports, he said: “This is a big, big gamble putting someone that has never managed before in charge of a club the size of Arsenal.
“To ask someone with no managerial experience to take charge in the current circumstances at Arsenal is a big ask. But there are also massive question marks over his credentials, massive questions.
“One of the major factors with Arteta being linked with the job is that he’s worked closely under Guardiola, and he used to play at Arsenal. Other than the fact he won’t get lost on the way to training, I don’t know what else he brings to the table.”
Is Merson being fair here?
At the very least, you would have to say that you can understand his reservations.
Arteta may know the Gunners better than most, and he may have achieved great things under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, but then all is said and done, he has never managed a team entirely by himself.
That in itself is a big issue, but when you factor in just how poor Arsenal have been in recent times then it becomes an even bigger one.
We’ve seen how Freddie Ljungberg has struggled since taking the top job at the Emirates, and there’s nothing to suggest that Arteta would fair any better.
Of course, he could be an unbridled success, but right now, this a gamble that the Gunners can ill-afford to get wrong.