The last Spaniard in the Arsenal hot seat seemed less than convincing during his 18 months in charge, but Mikel Arteta ensured on Friday that he wasn’t to be confused with his fellow countryman by delivering a direct but passionate press conference.
He was clear and concise, managing to convey his message to the assembled media audience but still
managed to underline the confident tone full of charisma.
Mikel spoke of changes in the team’s energy. He spoke of getting to know his players to get the best out of them, but he also mentioned removing the excuses that are only too obvious in a failing and disjointed team.
There was a comforting calmness in his voice, someone who appeared to have a cure for all Arsenal’s current ills and an assertiveness that managed to reassure the great many with a nervous disposition.
Make no mistake, this is a massive undertaking and it’s highly likely that the summer will see major changes in the Arsenal line up. Arteta already knows where all the major weaknesses are and exactly why the team is in free fall.
He also implied that he will have to be ruthless which will be like music to supporters ears because at the end of his reign, Emery didn’t know what to do with what he had available or how to make it work.
Anyone thinking that Mikel Arteta will fall at the first hurdle may well be surprised. The beaming smile and agreeable nature is genuinely something of smokescreen that may see the naive suckered into a false sense of security.
Mikel Arteta has developed in his time away under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola and he will also be able to refer to his time and experiences under Arsene Wenger. If you had to be a rookie with extremely limited experience, what better reference material can you have than Guardiola and Wenger. Exactly !
When pressed on his immediate plans, Mikel said:
“I have to try and convince the players about what I want to do, how I want to do it, they have to start accepting a different process, a different way of thinking,”
“I want to get all the staff and everybody at the club with the same mindset. We have to build a culture that has to sustain the rest.”
“If you don’t have the right culture, in the difficult moments, the tree is going to shake, so my job is to convince everybody that this is how we are going to live.”
“If you are going to be part of this organisation it has to be in these terms and in this way.”
It was the perfect tone and delivery at his first major press conference and for the doubters, it will have come as something of a tonic. Arsenal need a leader that will inspire and assist them to become a creative force, but they also need someone to lay down the law and break out the culture of complacency and despondency.
They need a fresh pair of eyes to iron out the rough spots and someone that can build a team as opposed to a collection of talented individuals. Pepe will benefit majorly, as will the crop of emerging kids that are in need of an arm around the shoulder and a wise word.
Strap in folks because the ride will be a bumpy, unpredictable affair but in the summer, we may see the changes Arsenal need. A combination of existing personnel and youth fused with energetic new faces and Arsenal may rise again.
Until then, Mikel Arteta’s call to arms for supporters needs to be acted upon because Arsenal are a long way away from being competitive and a distant memory from the Arsenal we all knew.
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