Mikel Arteta welcomes Unai Emery back as Arsenal boss reflects on life after Arsene Wenger

Mikel Arteta replaced Unai Emery at Arsenal  (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Mikel Arteta replaced Unai Emery at Arsenal (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta believes it may have helped his coaching career that he did not directly succeed Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.

Wenger left Arsenal in 2018 after 22 years at the club and he was replaced by Unai Emery. The Spaniard, however, struggled at Emirates Stadium and he was sacked just 18 months into his time at Arsenal.

Arteta was then appointed in December 2019 and he believes not being the man to directly succeed Wenger could have helped.

“I think there are certain eras that you know are going to last forever and we’re always going to be the coach or the person that was trying to succeed and try to take a lot of the things he left and the legacy he left for this football club,” he said.

“Looking back, probably yeah it was helpful [not being the man directly after Wenger]. I don’t know. Hopefully yes, hopefully it was the right call.”

After being sacked by Arsenal, Emery was eventually appointed by Villarreal and he won the Europa League with them.

The Spaniard is now back in England with Aston Villa and Arteta believes Emery deserves respect for his coaching career.

“Talking about Unai coming back to this league, what I feel about Unai is admiration,” said Arteta.

“If you look at his curriculum, what he’s done in the different countries he’s been, how he’s adapted, what he’s won, I think he deserves a lot of admiration and respect for what he’s done.”