Mikel Arteta made it completely clear from the outset what his expectations were from every player at the Emirates. He constantly referred to them as ‘non-negotiable’ and one of the things on his list was how players represent themselves and the club.
The Spaniard, who was the consummate professional, has no time for those that aren’t willing to share his vision or commitment. On his appointment he said:
“People have to understand that there is this way, and no other way. There are some things non-negotiable. That is the organisation and structure. Within that organisation you have freedom. But if somebody doesn’t know how to live within these parameters, at this level, it won’t work.”
Since then, Arteta and his coaching staff have clashed with fiery Frenchman Matteo Guendouzi, followed by Ainsley Maitland Niles, who has apparently downed tools and arrived late for training. The makeshift replacement for Hector Bellerin is alleged to be unhappy with his lack of appearances and the role he has been given.
Arteta has spoken with both, and Guendouzi was subsequently dropped as a result. Sources say that both were reminded of their responsibilities and also the repercussions if they fail to deliver for the benefit of the team.
Ultimately, both may be sold off in the summer if the situation doesn’t improve drastically. It’s all a bit George Graham for those that remember him. The stern, Scottish disciplinarian arrived at Highbury and instantly outlined his ambitions and how he wanted to achieve them.
Anyone who was late for training or games was fined. If they offended more than once, the fine increased and there was absolutely no chance of them playing on Saturday. If players didn’t take training seriously, they were dropped indefinitely and it would appear that Arteta is cut from the same cloth.
Both players’ careers are in their own hands but without improvements in their attitudes, they will be shown the door in the summer. Can Arsenal afford to let them go? Yes, they can actually.
Mikel Arteta wants a balanced side with a great temperament and work ethic, and both positions in midfield and at right-back can be filled easily. There will be a few additions to the squad in the summer which will increase the competition, adding to the pressure on both to put their house in order.