Paul Merson has called on Arsenal to steer clear of appointing Mikel Arteta as their new head coach, adding that the club’s hierarchy are “clueless” for considering a candidate with no senior management experience.
The Gunners’ search for Unai Emery’s permanent successor is still ongoing, with Freddie Ljungberg failing to make any real impact in his time as interim boss after only one win from his first five games in charge.
Reports surfaced on Monday claiming Arsenal – whose problems continued on Sunday with a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City – have held a number of meetings with Arteta, who is currently Pep Guardiola’s assistant at the Etihad Stadium.
Voicing his concerns in a column for Sky Sports, however, Merson explained how the Spaniard would be unable to do any better than both Emery and Ljungberg if he was to take the job.
“This is a big, big gamble putting someone that has never managed before in charge of a club the size of Arsenal,” the pundit said.
“It’s all well and good saying he’s worked under Pep Guardiola, but let’s be honest, Guardiola would struggle managing this Arsenal team. Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp would struggle!
“You’re only as good as your players at the end of the day and the idea of Arteta replicating Guardiola’s style of football at the Emirates just falls apart when you look at the players he’ll be working with.”
Merson added that he is worried about the intentions the Arsenal board have when considering Arteta as a serious candidate for the role.
“Arsenal are in this mess because the people upstairs simply aren’t fussed,” he added. “I mean, who’s making this appointment?
“Who believes Arteta is the best appointment possible, one that will really steady the ship? I cannot make the case for Arteta because he’s never managed before, yet someone at Arsenal can.
“How can you do that? I want to know who is upstairs at Arsenal saying this is a good appointment. From the club’s perspective, it’s clueless.”
The Swede said: “I’ve said to [the board] they need to make a decision. “We are here to help and the staff are trying to chip in but a decision has to be made so we can have the same resources as other clubs.
“When I say that they that say I have to wait and see.”