Arsenal supporters protested against Stan Kroenke's ownership last week; Kroenke family said on Tuesday they "are not selling any stake" in the club, amid Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek's potential takeover bid; Arsenal preparing to face Villarreal in Europa League semi-final on Thursday
Wednesday 28 April 2021 14:47, UK
Mikel Arteta says he would be keen for Arsenal's owners, the Kroenke family, to engage with disgruntled supporters, and believes fans would be "surprised" if they got to know them.
Many Arsenal supporters have been calling for Stan Kroenke - who, along with his son Josh, runs the club through his company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment - to sell following the Gunners' involvement in the failed Super League.
Fans protested against the Kroenkes outside the Emirates Stadium ahead of last week's home defeat to Everton, while Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek - said by friends to be an Arsenal "obsessive" - is keen to launch a takeover bid.
Ek is being backed by Arsenal legends Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira. However, the Kroenkes released a statement on Tuesday evening saying they "remain 100 per cent committed to Arsenal and are not selling any stake in the club".
When asked whether he felt the Kroenkes reaching out to fans would help to build relations, Arteta said: "I don't know if that will be the case.
"If we all feel that is necessary and will be helpful, I'm sure they will do anything it takes to bring the fans closer to them. If they get the opportunity to know them, I think most of them would be surprised.
"If that's the case, I think that would benefit everybody at the football club. It would benefit the fans and it would bring a lot of clarity. So if there is a way to do that and it's going to be helpful, let's do it."
Arteta revealed last week that Stan Kroenke had spoken to him to apologise for Arsenal's role in the Super League, and the manager says he had further contact with the owner over his plans for the club.
"We spoke to them and I think it was very clear they showed their commitment to the football club, and they showed their ambition," said Arteta. "We all want a successful team on the pitch.
"It took any doubts out of the situation, now we have a very clear and committed statement from the ownership. I think it is gone when they said what they said last night and showed their commitment and desire to take the team where we all want."
The speculation over Ek's potential bid for the club has dominated the build-up to Arsenal's Europa League semi-final first leg away to Villarreal on Thursday.
The competition presents the Gunners' only remaining chance of silverware this season, as well as their only realistic route back into Europe next campaign, given they are 10th in the Premier League.
Their clash with Villarreal will also see Arsenal reunited with Unai Emery, who spent 17 months at the Emirates before being replaced by Arteta in December 2019.
Arteta revealed he spoke to his counterpart before taking the job, saying: "I spoke to him a few times, because we have people in common, and then I spoke with him before I took the club.
"He offered me that opportunity, which is sometimes unusual, and he was sincere and open. I was very grateful for that.
"He was really helpful and a very, very experienced manager, in the Europa League especially. There are no doubts he has the tools and the knowledge to manage at the top level."
Arsenal have been handed a boost with the news that captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as Alexandre Lacazette and Kieran Tierney, "are in contention" to take on Villarreal.
Aubameyang has not played since April 8 after contracting malaria, while Tierney is set to return from a knee injury less than a month since his last appearance, despite initial fears that he could miss the rest of the season.
"He didn't need the surgery that, at the beginning, we were afraid of," Arteta explained. "Then he's been working like a beast every single day.
"I don't know if he's going to make it tomorrow, but certainly he wants to be as close as possible to the football pitch to give himself the best chance."
Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery believes Arsenal and Mikel Arteta are a perfect marriage that will only get better with time and patience.
Emery was appointed Arsene Wenger's successor after the Frenchman's 22 years at the helm but 18 months later was sacked with his managerial reputation shaken.
But despite the dismal end to his time at the Emirates, which saw Arsenal endure their worst run of results since 1992, the 49-year-old has nothing but affection for the club and admiration for his successor.
"The Premier League is a very difficult competition and there were several circumstances that had to be overcome," Emery said.
"I had to come in after Arsene Wenger and we were competing well and almost in the Champions League, losing the Europa League final.
"The next year we didn't start so well but it's behind me and I am grateful for the opportunity to manage them.
"All I have for Mikel Arteta is admiration and I think he just needs to build on the improvements that I tried to work on but wasn't able to continue.
"It's a process that needs time to execute and then the results will come - there's a clear identity and progress in the way they are trying to play.
"Arsenal just need to let Arteta work and trust him and the process and they will find their natural place, in the Champions League places.
"It's about confidence and patience and I can see a club and team that with time and with Arteta will make it."