Arsenal: 2020 in review
Former Arsenal star Gael Clichy believes Mikel Arteta is capable of emulating legendary Gunners boss Arsene Wenger. However, the defender warned that Arsenal currently lack a clear vision to allow under-fire Arteta to succeed.
After a bright start, Arteta’s tenure at Arsenal has turned somewhat sour with the team currently floundering in 15th place in the Premier League after 14 games.
The Spaniard has overseen the club’s worst start to a season since 1974 with increasing scrutiny over his future at the club.
Recent reports of dressing room unrest and divisions among the playing squad suggest that Arteta has a battle on his hands to turn the Gunners’ season around.
But Clichy believes with more control over the team, and bringing in his own players, Arteta could follow in the footsteps of his former boss.
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“Arsene was who he was, but he had the vision,” Clichy told Stadium Astro. “He had young players, turned them into superstars and sold them for big profit for the club.
“Mikel Arteta has got that in him, he could be the next Arsene Wenger. But Arsene had all the power.
“Anything going through Arsenal was going through him.
“Mikel is not like that. He has players that maybe he didn’t want. He inherited players that he didn’t want for the future and his team doesn’t have the money to get the players he wants.”
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Clichy joined an Arsenal side at the top of the English game in 2003 just before his 18th birthday.
Playing 12 times in his debut season in the Premier League, the French left back was part of Wenger’s famous ‘Invincibles’ team as the Gunners lifted the title in 2004 without losing a game.
The club has failed to win the league since, with Wenger often criticised for not investing in the squad and seen to be treading water to remain in the top four.
Wenger eventually left Arsenal after 22 years in 2018 and was replaced by Unai Emery, before Arteta took the reigns last December.
“Fans turned on him because he wasn’t doing what they wanted in winning the title but he was qualifying for the Champions League” Clichy said of his former boss. “Now you think that wasn’t so bad.”
Clichy left Arsenal for Manchester City in 2011, going on to win further league titles in 2012 and 2014.
The defender worked under Arteta for one season at the Etihad when he was brought in as Pep Guardiola’s assistant in 2016.
Manchester City’s model is very much one of going out and buying the best talent as opposed to nurturing younger players to eventually play in the first team.
Clichy believes Arsenal need to decide on their strategy going forward if they are to rise up the table and compete with the elite once more.
“What I want to say is, are we turning all the focus around the academy or be a club like Man City that is not afraid to spend money to be competitive?
“Are we going to be a club that does a bit of both and in a good season finish in the top-half of the table and in a bad season be fighting for relegation?
“We are not talking about any club, we are talking about one of the best in England and in Europe, so you need a clear vision.
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