Arsenal are stepping up their efforts to bring Mikel Arteta back to the club because a spell working with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City now has the Spaniard in the “mould of Arsene Wenger”, says Martin Keown.
As things stand, the Gunners remain without a permanent manager in place at Emirates Stadium.
In the wake of Unai Emery’s dismissal, Freddie Ljungberg has been overseeing first-team affairs on an interim basis.
He has failed to break Arsenal out of a rut which has delivered one win in 12 games across all competitions, leading to calls for a coaching search to be stepped up.
It appears as though that process has led the Gunners towards former club captain Arteta, with discussions held despite those at City being unaware of any movement.
Keown can understand why a familiar face appeals to Arsenal, despite plenty asking questions of the approach, and believes a man who once played under Wenger could be the ideal candidate to return the philosophies of an iconic boss to north London.
The former Gunners defender told the Daily Mail: “Mikel Arteta has worked with Pep Guardiola since 2016 and I regard the Manchester City boss as one of the finest to ever manage.
“That philosophy he came from, his Barcelona education, the way they pass the ball.
“It is in the mould of Arsene Wenger, that brand of football, and perhaps that is why Arsenal believe Arteta might be the right man for the job.
“There have been plenty of names linked, from Patrick Vieira to Carlo Ancelotti to Massimiliano Allegri.
“But to see two Arsenal chiefs emerging from Arteta's house early Monday morning suggested they had their front-runner.
“Reports emerged on Monday night that the Spaniard will now meet with Josh Kroenke, too, so they are making progress and being diligent.”
Keown added on the challenges Arteta will face if he is to be handed the reins: “If confirmed as their new head coach, Arteta will want to get to work immediately.
“He will want to bring in his backroom staff — something Freddie Ljungberg was unable to do while interim — and get on the training field with those players.
“Let's not forget the January transfer window is fast approaching, too. There is big work to be done at that club over the coming weeks.”
While trying to get their house in order off the field, Arsenal desperately need to turn a corner on it.
Ongoing struggles for consistency have left them 10th in the Premier League table, seven points adrift of the top four.