It’s going to be an absolutely crucial summer for Arsenal this year, as they begin preparing for life in a post Arsene Wenger era next season.
As noted by BBC Sport, the veteran tactician announced last month that he would be stepping down after 22 years at the helm as he took charge of his last game at the weekend against Huddersfield.
With Arsenal slipping out of contention for the top four in the Premier League over the last two seasons and with no Champions League football to boast, they have it all to do to attract the best people for the job to get them competing at the highest level again.
According to Sky Sport Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, it’s former captain and current Man City coach Mikel Arteta who is beginning to emerge as the top choice for the position.
On one hand, he knows the club well and will bring fresh ideas and experience of working with Pep Guardiola to the table.
On the other, he has no experience in the top job at the highest level, and so surely this has to be considered a major risk if he is indeed appointed as Wenger’s successor.
Interestingly, Di Marzio adds that the first player Arsenal will look to sign this summer is Borussia Dortmund defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and if accurate, that is a very sensible start to the transfer window.
The Gunners conceded 51 goals in 38 league games this past season, the worst defensive record of the top seven sides, while that was 24 more than champions City.
In turn, it’s evidently an area that needs to be addressed, and Sokratis, who has international experience and has played at the top level in Europe with the likes of AC Milan and Dortmund, could be a very important solution.
Meanwhile, to add further strength to the suggestion that Arteta will be the man for Arsenal, The Independent report that Santi Cazorla could form part of his backroom staff if he were to get the job.
The Spanish midfielder has been blighted by serious injuries since October 2016, and so with his current contract set to expire at the end of the season, the report suggests that a player-coach role could be on the table to join his compatriot next year.