Say what you like about Mikel Arteta, but there’s little doubt that the Spaniard knows his own mind and is prepared to take the toughest decisions at Arsenal if they’re required.
He might not win the populist vote, but that’s unlikely to bother him. All Arteta seems interested in is winning football matches and woe betide anyone that doesn’t match up both on and off the pitch.
We’ve already seen with his treatment of Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that he isn’t one for turning, and once a decision is made, he usually sticks by it.
Both senior players may have felt harshly treated, but the Spaniard has a code that he expects players to adhere to, whoever they are.
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He also has the highest of standards for the players that pull on the shirt too, and it’s fair to say that most fell way below them at the weekend, when taking on Nottingham Forest at the City Ground in the FA Cup Third Round.
One player that did get a run out, but didn’t really grab his chance with both hands, was Eddie Nketiah.
The 22-year-old is now said to be in talks with Crystal Palace, according to The Times, albeit the South Londoners already had a £12m bid turned down last summer for the player’s services.
With no real future for him in North London now, it’s in everyone’s best interests if an agreement can be reached. The sooner the better too.
Arteta must already have a replacement in mind so it will be interesting to see who he is thinking of.