Mikel Arteta is the right man to lead Arsenal, according to Vinai Venkatesham.
Playing up the Spaniard’s long-standing connection with the club and his understanding of its core values, the Gunners CEO spoke optimistically about the foundations being put in place despite a recent downturn in form.
It’s coming up to a year since Arsenal installed Arteta in the dugout and challenged him to get the club back into the Champions League. While his appointment came too late to make the necessary impact at the end of his first season, hopes were high off the back of September’s FA Cup success that we might seriously challenge our traditional rivals this season for a place at Europe’s top table.
Despite impeccable form in cup competitions, our struggles in the league continue and dissenting voices grow louder.
For the moment, Venkatesham’s belief in the manager is unwavering.
“With Mikel we have got a number of things,” he said on Friday. “You’ve got an individual who has extraordinary experience in the Premier League across his time at Arsenal, Everton, Man City and then back at Arsenal.
“You have got a guy that loves this club and understands what it means to play for this club, and he was obviously captain here. You’ve got a guy who is a real team player.
“The team he’s formed with Edu [the technical director], and also his technical staff, is really, really strong.
“You’ve got a guy who is absolutely driven to succeed and be successful on the pitch, but doing it in a way that respects our history and traditions. So I think with him we have got a really, really powerful individual.”
Venkatesham gave similar backing to Unai Emery in September last year and then came to the decision, with the rest of the executive committee, to sack him six weeks later.
We’re not saying that’s going to happen this time, but we’re also experienced enough to know that football moves brutally quickly. Ultimately, a club’s ability to stay true to its values is dictated by the results it achieves on the pitch.