Mikel Arteta says he wants Arsene Wenger to take up a role at Arsenal and thinks it will be beneficial to all parties involved.
After stepping down in May 2018 after 22 years as manager, the Frenchman, now head of global football development at Fifa, has deliberately kept his distance from the club.
Writing in his autobiography ‘My Life in Red and White’, he was open about the difficulties he faced adjusting to life after Arsenal and hinted at his annoyance at being pushed out the door rather than being given a chance to leave on his own terms.
Arteta is hoping that time has healed the rift.
Speaking to Sky Sports at the premiere of ‘Arsene Wenger: Invincible’ a documentary about the 72-year-old’s time at Arsenal, the Spaniard said: “I think he set a different tone at the club and I would like to recover a lot of things that he did.
“I would like him to be more present at the club. I think the players will love him, they will benefit, they will be inspired to have him around. I think for the club it would be a huge boost.
“I always told him [he’s welcome]. Sometimes you need your time. It was so intense for him for over 20 years and you need to get a little bit away. I think it would be so beneficial for all parties to have him more present.”
Arteta also credited Wenger as the reason he went into coaching.
“For me personally, it’s all the gratitude because if not for him, I would not be in the position I’m in today and I wouldn’t have enjoyed the career that I had playing for the club.
“100% [he’s the reason I’m a manager. I was still young and I had my ideas but he was a different level of inspiration on how I looked at the game. He was very good at transmitting what a football club meant into the players and he put a different question marks on me. After that, I started to study and took coaching much more seriously.”
Given everything he’s done for the club, it certainly doesn’t sit right that Wenger can’t bring himself to take up a seat in the Emirates on a matchday. We’d love to see him back.
While it’s not clear exactly where Arsene’s boeuf lies, when it was put to Josh Kroenke last week that his annoyance might be with the owners, the American seemed none the wiser.
“I wasn’t aware of that sense,” he said in an interview with the Daily Mail.
“If that’s the sense, I would love to sit down and understand that. There’s nothing but respect on this side from myself personally, I know from my father and as a club as whole. If there is anything, there’s no substitute for good open communication. So if there is something I’m unaware of I would welcome that conversation wholeheartedly.
“Arsene will be welcomed at the Arsenal whenever he wants to come back, he will be welcomed with open arms by the entire club. After 22 years of being in one place, it’s natural to want to do other things.
“But as a club we’re in the position we are today because of him and we know that and we understand that. He’s a big part of our past, he’s a big part of our present and we want him to be a big part of our future as well.”
Let’s see what happens…