The former Gunners midfielder has the ability to improve the current squad and build for a brighter future, if he is to replace Unai Emery
Mikel Arteta is the right manager at the right time for Arsenal, says former Gunners striker Alan Smith.
Talks to bring in the Manchester City number two as successor to Unai Emery are continuing and confirmation of his appointment could come before the weekend.
Smith told Sky Sports that the timing is perfect and that an injection of new ideas from the former Arsenal midfielder – who has learnt his trade under serial winner Pep Guardiola – is what is badly needed to lift the gloom at the Emirates.
“They need someone to give them an injection of life, new ideas, modern ideas on the way the game is going now and yes, it is a risk, but it’s a calculated gamble that I think will pay off,” explained Smith.
“Yes, he’s never been a manager before so it’s a vastly different job, but I think he carries with him an authority. He’s quite ruthless if he wants to be, he’s very driven like Guardiola, and Arsenal need that at the moment.
“Obviously, he’s had a huge influence from Guardiola up at Manchester City. He takes a lot of the sessions and Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne have both credited him with improving their game.”
“Work on the training ground is needed. They need to instil some good habits because a lot of bad ones have crept in over recent seasons. It’s not going to happen overnight, but I can see him having a fairly quick impact with what he’s going to do on the training ground.
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“Arteta knows the Premier League extremely well. He knows Arsenal well. Of course, there’s a risk involved because when the buck stops with you, when you are making decisions that have ramifications on the team and the reaction of the supporters, he’s got to take all that on board, and it will be a learning process for him.
“However, I think the basic ingredients are in place. His ability as a coach, first and foremost, is what that squad needs to move forward.”
Smith says Arteta will need time to turn around a club which has been on the decline for a number of years since the glory days of Arsene Wenger.
He added: “It’s not going to be a quick fix, but I would expect to see his fingerprints on his first few matches and some differences but the one worry for any Arsenal fan is the fact he probably hasn’t got too much money to spend over the next few transfer windows.
“They seem to have spent that in advance on the likes of Nicolas Pepe and David Luiz, but by the same token, that’s why they need a good coach to improve the players they’ve already got on board. I think he’s the one that can do that.”