Per Mertesacker says he’s feeling great about the backroom team Arsenal are building and has backed head coach Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu to get the club back in the Champions League.
After the club hierarchy handed responsibility for the Academy, first team and recruitment to a trio of young, ex-players, anticipation is high that success on the pitch, achieved via attractive football, will return.
After a disappointing end to Wenger’s reign and the mess of the Emery experiment, the pressure is on and Mertesacker know it.
He took over the Academy straight after his retirement in 2018 and has had to contend with a lot of comings and goings since. However, having been reunited with Arteta, the man from whom he inherited the Arsenal captaincy, and with 10 months working with Edu under his belt, he now believes things are back on track.
“I’m so delighted that Mikel has a place where he belongs, that’s my belief and that was my belief already as a player,” the BFG told Arsenal Player.
“His leadership is fantastic and I felt it myself, just being vice-captain and learning from him, how to handle situations, how to man up, be the captain and show it. But as well, to have the empathy and the feeling for people.
“I learned a lot from him and I can only say that our working relationship is great and our personal relationship is great, so I can see a fantastic future for us.
“It’s just building pieces with Edu as well, so I think we’re in a fantastic position. We don’t take anything for granted, now is the time to really push on and make sure we come back to where we belong, and that’s the Champions League and having world-class players in the building, and having world-class young players.
“We want to build on our DNA that was developed over centuries, so we cannot forget the history and the greatness of the club. We are inheriting that and we are sons of so many greats that have led this club to greatness, so it’s a big responsibility, not only for myself but for Mikel, Edu and all the great leadership we have.
“I feel we have more and more people in the right places and I feel great about it.”
It’s well worth watching the full interview. The sound and visuals are a little dodgy – life on Zoom has its limitations – but the content is great.
In Per and Mikel we’re very lucky to have two great communicators; men capable of getting their message across clearly and concisely. It’s in stark contrast to what came before and a lot of those making the news headlines these days.