Mikel Arteta has reiterated his desire to see Arsene Wenger brought back into the Arsenal fold and confirmed he’s chatted with the Frenchman about the offer.
The 72-year-old hasn’t set foot in the Emirates since leaving the club in May 2018 and has been quite open about his disappointment at the way his 22-year tenure ended under pressure from the board.
Interviewed at the premiere of the recently released “Arsene Wenger: Invincible” documentary, Arteta said a reunion would be “beneficial for all parties”.
The Spaniard stands by those words but recognises, it can only happen when his former boss feels comfortable.
“There’s been communication, I spoke to him when we went to see the film,” said Arteta on Friday. “It was incredibly pleasant to see him, to chat to him and hopefully we can bring him close.
“I think he will have a great time just seeing the environment that he can create around him when he’s around this place because of the respect, admiration and the love that everybody has for what he’s done and, as well, for what he represents as a person in this club.
On what type of role Wenger might take up, Arteta continued: “I cannot tell you now but what I can say is that I’d like him to be much closer personally to me, because he’d be a great help and a great help for the club.
“Things take time, he has to dictate those timings. What I can say is that from my side and I can say on behalf of everybody [here] that we’d be delighted to have him much closer here.”
We’re only speculating but there’s something about the openness with which Arteta talks on this subject that suggests progress is being made behind the scenes. That said, given his role as Fifa’s head of football development, you wonder whether a return in some capacity is likely to take place this side of the World Cup in Qatar. We’ll see.
As a starting point, it would just be nice to see him in the stands at the Emirates.