Mikel Arteta has not “put a foot wrong” since taking charge of Arsenal, says David O’Leary, but the Spaniard has been warned that he has a “hard job” on his hands and will ultimately be judged on transfer business.
The Gunners have delivered a mixed bag on the recruitment front over recent years.
Purse strings at Emirates Stadium were relaxed during the summer of 2019, but club-record signing Nicolas Pepe and experienced Brazilian defender David Luiz are yet to convince.
Teenage frontman Gabriel Martinelli has impressed, but Arsenal have flopped as a collective to sit eighth in the Premier League table ahead of the resumption in 2019-20 competition.
Arteta is considered to have offered cause for optimism since being handed the reins in December, but his side remains a work in progress.
O’Leary believes pieces are being put in place for long-term success off the field, but concedes that any manager will ultimately be judged by performances on it.
The Gunners legend told talkSPORT of Arteta: “I don’t think he’s put a foot wrong off the field.
“There are things that he’s done that nobody knows about. But what you can say, what he’s come in behind the scenes and done has just been absolutely fantastic.
“The way he’s handled himself, the way he’s handled himself through this crisis and the things he’s done without seeking publicity, the things he’s implemented structurally at the club, I don’t think he’s put a foot wrong.
“I think he has a hard task, without a doubt, he’s come in and taken a hard job on. He needs players.
“The squad he has he will make better. Will that push them towards being a top-four club? No, I don’t see that.
“I think where he is going to be judged is on recruitment. It’s easier said than done, but you’ve got to get players out.
“That’s hard to do and he’ll be judged on that, but he’ll also be certainly judged on the personnel he brings in.”
Arsenal are yet to give up on their top-four ambitions in the current campaign, but will likely need a faultless run through their remaining 10 fixtures in order to surge up the standings and book themselves a place in next season’s Champions League.