Paul Merson reacts to Mikel Arteta’s appointment at Arsenal

Paul Merson has his say on Arsenal's decision to appoint Mikel Arteta as the club's new manager

Paul Merson
Arsenal legend Paul Merson (Photo: Sky Sports)

Paul Merson believes that Arsenal’s decision to appoint Mikel Arteta as the club’s new manager represents a “big gamble” by the Gunners.

The north London side officially confirmed that they had appointed Arteta as their new boss on Friday on a three-and-a-half year deal following the sacking of Unai Emery at the end of last month.

It marks the 37-year-old’s first job as head coach after he left his role as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City to take over at The Emirates.

Arteta takes over with the Gunners having struggled to find consistent form all season in the Premier League and with the north London side off the pace in the race for Champions League qualification.

Former Arsenal midfielder Merson is not at all convinced by the decision to appoint Arteta as the club’s new manager and feels that it is a risky move by the Gunners.

Writing in his column for the Daily Star, Merson said: “Mikel Arteta taking on the Arsenal job is like Conor McGregor trying to fight Floyd Mayweather.

“It’s one of the biggest jobs in football and you’re giving it to someone who has never managed in his life!

“Mikel is a lovely bloke and I’m sure he’s a very good coach. For him it’s a job you just can’t turn down.

“But good coaches don’t always make good managers. You see it time and time again. And he has no experience at all.

“If the Arsenal board think they are suddenly going to start playing like Manchester City just because Arteta has worked with Pep Guardiola for a bit, they need to wake up and smell the coffee.”

Merson continued: “I would love Arteta to be successful at Arsenal. I really would. And I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong if he is.

“But it’s a big, big gamble for me. If he thinks he can turn it around, fair play to him. But does he really think he is going to go in there and get them playing like City?

“Pep’s got £60-£70m players in every position. How many top players do Arsenal have? Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? Mesut Ozil, when he fancies it?

“You need top players. Pep couldn’t get Rotherham into the Premier League.

“He couldn’t get a team like that playing his kind of football. Could Arteta? No chance. He probably thinks he might never get this chance again.”

Arteta’s first official game in charge of Arsenal will be the trip to Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

They will then take on Chelsea FC and Manchester United in the Premier League at The Emirates during a testing run of games for the new Gunners boss.

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