William Gallas has criticised his former club Arsenal for their decision to appoint Mikel Arteta in 2019 and insists the Spaniard still needs more experience.
Arteta replaced Unai Emery in December 2019 for his first job as a manager. He had previously served as assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. The opportunity to step into management with the club he used to play for was too good to turn down, though.
Arteta made a positive first impression at Arsenal and ended his first season by lifting the FA Cup. He followed it up with victory in the Community Shield later that summer.
But what followed in the 2020-21 season was far from what he would have wanted. Arsenal missed out on European football after finishing eighth and losing in the Europa League semi-finals to Emery’s Villarreal, who went on to win the competition.
A disappointing season by their standards has raised questions of Arteta, and now ex-Gunners defender Arteta has joined that chorus.
“Mikel Arteta was not ready yet to manage a club like Arsenal,” Gallas told The Sun.
“OK, he was assistant coach at Manchester City. But he had never managed a team. It is completely different.
“The board made a mistake picking him. I’m sure he will be a great manager but you need to have experience to manage a big club.
“To be honest, it is a great shame for the Arsenal fans after finishing eighth.
“Arsenal is not the same Arsenal we knew 18, 20 years ago. We had players who were strong, with strong personalities.”
Players concerned over Arteta staff
Reports last month claimed some players are not happy with Arteta’s staff.
According to The Athletic, a number of players have been left “concerned” with the Spaniard’s backroom team.
The appointment of Bruno Mazziotti has not gone down well in north London. The former Paris Saint-Germain physio has apparently had a number of disagreements with Arsenal’s existing medical staff.
But further to that some Arsenal players have concerns over goalkeeping coach Inaki Cana.
Cana, 45, arrived just a few days after Arteta in December 2019. He moved from Brentford to join the Gunners and replaced respected figures Sal Bibbo and Andy Woodman.
But the report claimed some of the players are not sure about the Spaniard’s suitability at the club. It only added to the growing tensions at the Emirates Stadium.