Tuesday, February 27, 2024

BFG: Arsenal’s future is in good hands

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.

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It really feels as if we are – slowly but surely – getting our ‘Arsenal identity’ back.

Naked Cygan

Please explain how? Our league position has declined year by year since we won the league. We used to be mad at finishing 4th. Now we would do anything to finish 4th. We should demand more. We cant afford for clubs like Wolves and Sheffield United finish above us. We have to try and keep Abu or replace him with a player who can score like he does. Otherwise I don’t see how we can be so positive when we are 9th.


We’re in a transition period, which obviously comes with some considerable frustration and heartache. Change took a little too long to come to Arsenal, both with respect to Wenger’s departure and with (less) respect to Emery’s departure, as well as in the head office. If you look at who was running the Gunners 4 years ago and who is running it today, including the Academy, you see the magnitude of the club’s overhaul. Mertesacker and Arteta are the perfect leaders to oversee the Academy and the first team — both are young, both seem committed to the long game at… Read more »

Reality check

Having an ex-captain as manager is a good start. These two as captain did what other more talented captains couldn’t do – win trophies. Cec, Van Persie, even the king Henry couldn’t do it. Just my opinion of course

Naked Cygan

Always good to have an ex player as a manager. But our issue is bigger than a manager. We had one of the best managers in the world in Wenger, but he was forced to sell our best players, and even worse to our rivals. Without proper funding we won’t finish in the top 6 anymore. We cant keep selling our best players, or let their contracts run out without replacing them with similar talents. I am sure down the line Arteta will be a great manager l, but if we cant get the top players to stay or join… Read more »


How can ya not love the BFG?!


Last night I had a dream Emmanuel Eboué was our manager.

Peter Cechs helmet

I always thought he’d make a good club

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

Was just listening listening to Per’s chat with Ian. Wright. It’s a good listen, he speaks so well.

On another note, has anybody seen the petition to get Wright a statue outside the Emirates? Come to think of it, he does deserve one…no?

Naked Cygan

He should have had one years ago. Ian has Arsenal DNA. Always great to see him celebrate our goals.


Hopefully Arteta and Per are given the time and patience to work.

I don’t see any quick fixes, we’ve got a first team squad of 29, so numerically bringing in players will be difficult without some exits.


After seeing how happy and optimistic The BFG
and Arteta are about our future, I wonder what
they really thought about Emery..

Seems like everyone at the club feels like we
dodged a bullet.

And what would have happened if we won the
europa league last season?


Most were optimistic about Emery until April last season…. But it was clear the performances weren’t good. The question was? Were we poor because of poor coaching? Or because of a lopsided squad? and a lack of dynamism and quality throughout our squad? I think 5th and a Europa final was an overachievement. There were then big changes, the fans turned, and Emery lost the players, which doesn’t say a lot for this group of players. Under Arteta nothings changed, apart from a return to a fixed formation, something Arsene was castigated for, and originally Emery was praised for his… Read more »


It’s interesting, how what seemed like a bit of a trolley dash, late in the 2011 window, ultimately worked to provide the core of clubs long term future.

Ya Gooner

Wenger knew.

Public Elneny

I shudder to think where we’d be without Park, Andre Santos and Yossi Benayoun


Those might not be the players I had in mind


Santos had his fleeting moments. Yossi was just fine thank you. Arguably our best loan.

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