Arsenal have been warned about potentially struggling to land a big-name replacement if they sack Mikel Arteta.
Speaking exclusively to CaughtOffside, former Manchester United midfielder Luke Chadwick gave a damning assessment of Arsenal’s current plight after a difficult year or so.
The Gunners were poor last season and didn’t even qualify for the Europa League, and they’ve made their worst ever start to a league season this term with two defeats and no goals scored in their opening two matches.
This will no doubt lead to questions over Arteta’s future, with the Spaniard perhaps showing his inexperience, though Chadwick questions if they could really land the more experienced big name that they might crave to replace him.
The ex-Red Devil also pinpointed one of the Gunners’ main weaknesses at the moment, highlighting their lack of strong centre-backs after seeing the way Brentford’s Ivan Toney and Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku bullied their back four in the opening two matches of the season.
“Obviously Arteta came in at a really tough time for Arsenal, and they’re still in a kind of transitional period where they’re really struggling to get back to what they once were. He had a decent start but now it’s his team, he maybe hasn’t always got his main targets,” Chadwick said.
“A huge issue at the moment is their physicality. You can see in the first two league games – Ivan Toney and Romelu Lukaku have put that back four to the sword, they’ve not been able to live with that sort of opponent.
“It couldn’t really be a worse start for them. They’ve got some wonderful players in the attacking positions, and played some scintillating football against West Brom last night. But you do always worry that that physical side is going to be an issue when the opposition teams have a strong number 9. It’s hard to see this Arsenal defence dealing with that kind of threat.”
On the management situation, Chadwick warned: “It’s all very well saying they need a big-name manager, but it’s about getting them to the club. I don’t think Arsenal are anywhere near the attractive proposition that they were a few years back.
“This is the first time really that Arteta has come under pressure, which is a bit strange after the pressure Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s come under at Manchester United. His job seems to be under threat almost every other week!
“I don’t really see where Arsenal go, I’m not sure the manager is really the big problem, the squad just isn’t strong enough really to compete at the top end of the Premier League.”
When asked about names like Antonio Conte or Brendan Rodgers replacing Arteta, Chadwick responded: “The board would want to get a big name in, but whether someone like Brendan Rodgers, who’s been linked with the job in the past, would want to leave his job at Leicester, who at the moment are a much more successful club and will probably finish higher in the league, I’m not sure.
“Conte is obviously a hugely respected manager but it’s whether the job would be right for him and if he’d accept it at this time.”