Mikel Arteta’s first job as Arsenal boss: restore order at the Mayhemirates
Spaniard will need to have talks with club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
Mikel Arteta will be unveiled as Arsenal’s new manager in the next 24 to 48 hours and one of his first tasks will be to have heart-to-heart talks with club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Spaniard will have been alerted to comments made by the striker’s brother, Willy, who used an Arsenal Fan TV Instagram post to criticise Arteta’s lack of managerial experience.
According to The Sun, irate Arsenal fans “have demanded Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is stripped of the club captaincy” as a punishment for his brother’s remarks.
While there is no evidence that Pierre-Emerick endorses his brother’s view of Arteta, it’s another embarrassing episode and underlines the anarchy within the “Mayhemirates”.
On the other hand, did the Arsenal skipper give his brother the green light to go public with his criticism of 37-year-old Arteta?
There is mounting speculation in north London that Aubameyang wants out of the club, and this may be part of an elaborate strategy to force his exit next month.
The Sun says Arsenal are aware that Aubameyang needs to be handled sensitively and they are hoping that the appointment of Arteta and a new backroom staff will persuade the Gabon goal machine to sign a new contract.
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Aubameyang has 18 months remaining on his £200,000-a-week deal and the Sun claims he is in “no rush” to extend it.
As it stands, he will walk out of the Emirates as a free agent in 2021 and if Arsenal can’t convince the 30-year-old to extend his deal they may have to sell him in June rather than risk letting him leave on a free transfer the following year.
Apparently the Gunners are “relying on Arteta’s appointment to quell the dressing-room unrest caused by a miserable run of one win in their last 12 games”, and they believe that getting their captain on board will signal a new chapter for the club in 2020.
Sign of intent
Meanwhile, the Daily Mirror says that Arteta has already drawn up his January shopping list as he looks to overhaul the awful Arsenal squad, and in his sights is Sevilla teenage sensation Antonio Zarzana.
Described by the paper as a “wonderkid”, the 17-year-old midfielder has been scouted by Liverpool and Bayern Munich in recent months, but Arteta is hopeful he will be able to persuade Zarzana to commit his future to Arsenal.