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‘Couldn’t even speak English’ – Jens Lehmann criticises Arsenal’s appointment of Unai Emery

Just like whoever followed Sir Alex Ferguson as manager of Manchester United was on a hiding to nothing, so was the incumbent at Arsenal that took over from Arsene Wenger.

Unai Emery initially looked to have banished the ghost of the Frenchman from the Emirates Stadium as the Gunners went on a brilliant run at the beginning of his tenure.

However, the wheels soon fell off and the Spaniard was eventually replaced by Mikel Arteta, but that didn’t surprise former goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann.

The outspoken German had been a coach at Arsenal during the latter period of Wenger’s reign, but once Emery came in, he looked to bring in his own people something Lehmann suggested was a mistake.

“I was there as an assistant coach two years ago but then Arsene has left and they have changed the whole managerial team and I think they made a mistake by choosing the wrong guys,” Lehmann told Stadium Astro and cited by the Daily Express.

“The people at the top sometimes don’t know what I know about football and they didn’t experience how to win things. So it’s not easy for them.

“I think he wanted to bring his own staff who couldn’t even speak English. Then a guy like me, who was a player for them, I think he just didn’t want us.

“I think it was a big present to him that he was picked as a manager for Arsenal because I think he was not good, not good enough because he had this lingual problem.

“He may have some good ideas in Spanish but he never came across as being transferrable to English football.”

Had Emery gone on to be successful, then the language barrier would’ve surely been overlooked.

As Lehmann notes, however, the inability to get across his ideas succinctly – in much the same way as Gary Neville found at Valencia because of an inability to speak Spanish – was his downfall.

Arteta has a similarly difficult job now, but he does know the club inside out thanks to playing there, and doesn’t have a communication problem either.

To that end, he has no excuses not to bring success back to the red and white half of North London.

More Stories Gary Neville Jens Lehmann Mikel Arteta Unai Emery