With Mikel Arteta the overwhelming favourite to be named Arsenal manager, Ben McAleer assesses how the Spaniard may fare at the Emirates Stadium helm...
"It's a risk, of course, to appoint someone so young, yet Arteta's a manager the club would throw their weight behind."
A new future awaits for Arsenal. After 22 years at the helm, Arsene Wenger oversaw his final game of his managerial career as Gunners boss with a 1-0 win at Huddersfield. A trophy would've been a fitting send off for the Wenger farewell tour for both himself and the supporters, yet he still enjoyed an affectionate end to his reign with his legacy in tact.
Attention now turns to his successor. Max Allegri, Julian Nagelsmann and Luis Enrique have all been linked with a move to the Emirates, yet the odds-on favourite to be named new Arsenal manager on the Exchange is Mikel Arteta [1.66].
The former Everton and Arsenal midfielder has the leadership qualities to succeed as a manager having captained both sides. A lack of managerial experience may be a stick with which to beat the Spaniard, yet there's a reason Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is keen to keep him at the Etihad Stadium.
Arteta is very highly rated at Manchester City
When he went into coaching, Arsenal and Tottenham both approached the 36-year-old to join their staff, yet it's with City where he has watched and learned under the keen eye of Guardiola, whose eye for detail will undoubtedly have rubbed off on Arteta. Importantly still is that he has been with Guardiola since his appointment and as City have gone from strength-to-strength, morphing into this current record breaking, seemingly unstoppable machine, the former midfielder has witnessed every miniscule detail that has gone into turning City into the one of the most feared Premier League teams in history.
This is crucial, then, when it comes to Arsenal's rebuilding job. Some may not be best pleased at the board's appointment of an inexperienced manager, yet few had heard of Wenger before he took over the reins in north London before guiding the team to three Premier League titles and seven FA Cup's. Nagelsmann, too, was an experimental appointment, yet Hoffenheim have benefitted from his modern-day coaching methods having first steered clear of relegation, to then land back-to-back Champions League finishes.
Why Arsenal should take the plunge
Like Hoffenheim, Schalke too took a punt on a young coach, appointing Domenico Tedesco last summer. The 32-year-old guided the Miners to second in the Bundesliga this term, this coming 12 months after navigating Erzgebirge Aue from bottom to 14th in 2. Bundesliga as he turned around the club's fortunes.
It's a risk, of course, to appoint someone so young, yet Arteta's a manager the club would throw their weight behind. Hoffenheim, Schalke, and even Barcelona with Guardiola, have taken the plunge and the trio were all the better for it, particularly the La Liga side who enjoyed a period of dominance during the 47-year-old's spell at the Camp Nou helm. Considering his association with the supporters, as a fan favourite, it's likely the fans would welcome Arteta, even if he isn't the big name manager some are pining for.
Crucially, though, he'll upset a status quo that needed shaking up under Wenger, with the club stagnating and even regressing during his latter years at the Emirates helm. Now behind Tottenham and Chelsea as London's top team, the aim will be for Arteta to restore Arsenal to their former glory and implement new ideas in the capital.
City's loss will undoubtedly be Arsenal's gain, with Arteta's coaching ability earning him high praise at the Etihad Stadium. Indeed, Guardiola will be reluctant to let the Spaniard depart, yet with the pair such good friends stemming from their time at Barcelona, the City boss won't stand in his way.
Wenger built a dynasty during his lengthy reign in north London. Arsenal fans will now hope Arteta can do similar if he is, as expected, announced as the Frenchman's successor.