Arsenal task too big for Mikel Arteta, says Paul Merson
Arteta talks begin between Arsenal and City; Arsenal officials pictured leaving Arteta's home in early hours of Monday morning
Last Updated: 17/12/19 12:18pm
Paul Merson reacts to Arsenal's reported pursuit of Mikel Arteta and explains why it's going to take more than a recommendation from Pep Guardiola to clean up the mess at the Emirates Stadium...
This is a big, big gamble putting someone that has never managed before in charge of a club the size of Arsenal.
It's all well and good saying he's worked under Pep Guardiola, but let's be honest, Guardiola would struggle managing this Arsenal team. Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp would struggle!
You're only as good as your players at the end of the day and the idea of Arteta replicating Guardiola's style of football at the Emirates just falls apart when you look at the players he'll be working with.
I felt sorry for the Arsenal players on Sunday because they are not good enough to play for the club. They are playing for a top, top club but they are mid-table or even lower-league players that they are expected to win football matches week in, week out.
It's not as if Arsenal are underachieving, they're just not good enough. Sunday's defeat to Manchester City was embarrassing, cringe-worthy even. I cannot think of a single player Guardiola would take out of this Arsenal team.
Arteta's credentials questioned
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.
We've seen how out of his depth Freddie Ljungberg has been in recent weeks. What's the difference between Ljungberg and Arteta other than the fact Arteta has worked under Pep at Manchester City?
It doesn't mean Arteta has earned his stripes or he's better qualified, and Arsenal won't suddenly start playing like City if Arteta is appointed because it's not as simple as that.
You cannot blame Arteta for considering
I've got nothing against Arteta, he was a top player and is a top bloke - I've been in his company and he is lovely. For a coach in his position, he cannot not take the job. After all, getting into management is all about timing.
How many more times is he going to be in the running for a job like this? The way football works, he may never get this chance again.
But that does not take away from the scale of the job at hand at Arsenal. It's all about where you start in management, where you cut your teeth. As far as I'm concerned you don't start at one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Coaching vs managing - there's a difference
Coaching is completely different to management. Everybody loves the coach; the coach is the one that puts an arm around a player when the manager drops them and tells them they will be in the team in a few weeks.
The manager is the one that has to decide who is not playing and has 10 players who are unhappy with him. Brian Kidd was one of the best coaches you'll ever see, yet he went to Blackburn and got relegated.
There's obviously a difference between coaching and managing, otherwise every coach would be a manager.
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Whose idea is this at Arsenal?
Arsenal are in this mess because the people upstairs simply aren't fussed.
I mean, who's making this appointment? Who believes Arteta is the best appointment possible, one that will really steady the ship? I cannot make the case for Arteta because he's never managed before, yet someone at Arsenal can. How can you do that?
I want to know who is upstairs at Arsenal saying this is a good appointment. From the club's perspective, it's clueless.