Following the dismissal of Unai Emery last month and the decision that interim boss Freddie Ljungberg is not the right fit for the club, Arsenal are set to appoint their former club captain Arteta before the weekend.
In fact, the club have today postponed their weekly Premier League press conference until Friday in the hope of making an announcement of Arteta’s return, which should see him sign a three-and-a-half year deal to become the new Arsenal manager. Follow the live developments below.
Not for the first time between Arsenal and Manchester City, a tit-for-tat argument has developed.
City were clearly unhappy with the approach for their assistant manager, so much so that they dominated the overnight headlines with feelings of “fury” and “seething anger” described towards an apparent lack of any contact whatsoever from Arsenal.
Well, now it appears the Gunners have hit back.
The Daily Mail is reporting that Arsenal have insisted that did make official contact with the reigning Premier League champions, and that they have conducted themselves in a manner befitting of a Premier League club.
Of course we’ve been here before with Alexis Sanchez … and Samir Nasri … and Emmanuel Adebayor …
The silence continues…
Incredibly not a single Arsenal player has tweeted or posted anything on social media since the start of the day, while Arsenal’s club website remains remarkably similar to how it did last night.
When the radio silence lasts this long, you wonder who sent out the memo to stop all communications…
Why do so many players want out?
Alexandre Lacazette and Granit Xhaka are among others considering their future, but several sources say it is a feeling spreading among “half the squad”. That is not specifically related to the appointment of Arteta, but more about the general lack of direction at the club.
On the other side, however, the Arsenal hierarchy have realised that a significant clear-out may be needed. The events of the last month have been seen as a tipping point, particularly with how the poor performance of many players greatly influenced institutional decisions.
Arsenal had hoped to buy time after the sacking of Unai Emery through the interim appointment of Freddie Ljungberg, and put due consideration into the appointment of the next full-time manager, which they hoped would not be required until the end of the season. That plan was scuppered when it became evident that the players were not responding, endangering the club’s entire campaign and even putting in what amounted to relegation form with a return of just 22 points from 17 games.
Ljungberg told the hierarchy that too many of the players didn’t care, and that was unlikely to change until a permanent appointment was made. Both the interim manager and key officials are said to have been taken aback by just how much the players have dropped off, and how slack some attitudes were. It has fired the mood for a clear-out.
Why the big problems at Arsenal?
The situation surrounding their captain reared its head this week when the striker’s brother Willy Aubameyang caused controversy by criticising the choice of Arteta on social media, but The Independent has been told that the captain actively wants to leave, reflecting a growing mood in the squad.
Arsenal could be facing a similar situation to Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in the last few seasons, as the contract of their best-paid player runs out within a year and a half and he shows no willingness to sign a new one. Aubameyang wants to join a club he feels can better challenge for the top trophies quickly, and has little desire to commit to a medium-term project.
It’s not the news we’ve been waiting for, but our chief football writer Miguel Delaney has an update that will worry the entire Arsenal fan base down to their core – manager or no manager.
That’s because not only does The Independent understand that captain and star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is looking to leave the club, but so is Alaexandre Lacazette…and Granit Xhaka.
In fact, sources at the club have indicated that around half of the first-team squad and considering a move away from the misfiring club, such is the level of discord among the Gunners right now.
That will be exactly what Arteta didn’t want to here.
Here’s the full story:
What’s the sticking point that’s holding up the announcement?
According to the Manchester Evening News, City are determined not to budge on the compensation being demanded for Arteta to be released from his contract.
It’s claimed that unless Arsenal pay up the full asking price, they will NOT be allowed to finalise a deal with Arteta as the reigning Premier League champions will not entertain any negotiations.
Over to you, Arsenal. Cough up or see yourself out the door.
Interim boss Freddie Ljungberg was expected to face the media at the club’s London Colney training ground at 1.30pm today to preview the Gunners’ trip to Everton on Saturday.
The Swede has taken charge of Arsenal since Unai Emery was sacked on November 29, but has overseen just one victory in his five-match tenure.
A 3-0 defeat at home to Manchester City on Sunday left the club seven points off fourth-placed Chelsea and the same number off the bottom three.
It led to the Arsenal hierarchy stepping up their plans to appoint Emery’s successor, with managing director Vinai Venkatesham pictured outside Arteta’s house in the early hours of Monday morning.
It is understood City are unhappy that Arsenal did not ask for permission to speak to Arteta and are especially annoyed because Pep Guardiola’s side played at the Emirates on Sunday and no approach was made when club officials met.
City, however, do not have an issue with the 37-year-old and will allow him to make his own decision.
And still we wait…
Those dotted i’s and crossed t’s must be taking a little longer than expected on that all important paperwork.
Arteta is all set to become the next permanent manager of Arsenal, that much we know.
We just await the announcement. And on we go.
One bonus for Arteta will be the fact that he has one of the most experienced figures in the game just a phone call away.
Arsene Wenger brought Arteta to the Emirates in 2011 and handed him the captaincy following Robin van Persie’s departure, having identified him as a natural leader among his squad.
The legendary Arsenal manager has already been on hand to give his advice to his former skipper, claiming that the most important thing that he must do early in his managerial career is to surround himself with experienced heads and breed a “good environment” at a club where that hasn’t been the case for quite some time.
Finally it looks like there’s progress on the appointment.
According to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, Arteta said his goodbyes to the Manchester City squad and staff at their Etihad Campus training base this morning, before travelling down to London to to sign on the dotted line this afternoon.
It means that Arsenal could well prepare to announce the appointment in the next few hours, before officially unveiling the Spaniard’s homecoming on Friday morning.
A midday announcement???
Nope. The radio silence from Arsenal continues as their social feeds and website remains as dormant as it was last night.
The longer it all goes on, the more you wonder how much more Arsenal can this process get? Remember, they haven’t had a permanent manager for three weeks now…
If it seems like Manchester City are taking this approach for their assistant manage rather well, behind the scenes it seems to be far more frosty than first thought.
It is understood City are unhappy that Arsenal did not ask for permission to speak to Arteta and are especially annoyed because Pep Guardiola’s side played at the Emirates on Sunday where no approach was made when club officials met.
City, however, do not have an issue with the 37-year-old and will allow him to make his own decision.
Arteta was alongside Guardiola on Wednesday night as the Premier League champions won 3-1 at Oxford to reach the Carabao Cup semi-finals.
Post-match, Guardiola insisted: “There was no change. I don’t have any news. We prepared the game as best as possible. Before, during and now after and we did it.
“I spoke (Tuesday), my press conference I had 48 questions and 35 were about Mikel so I don’t have to say anything more until there is news. When there is news, in my next (press) conference when you ask me something I will answer.”
How much should we read into the news that Arsenal have CANCELLED their afternoon press conference?
Well on the face of it, it’s a clear sign that the club are preoccupied in trying to get the Arteta deal over the line sooner rather than later, with the 1:30pm presser inconveniently timed when they want to be finalising terms on the Spaniard’s appointment.
It would also be deeply unfair to Freddie Ljungberg to make him speak to the press in the knowledge that he is about to be replaced, and that the deal could actually be done while he is speaking at their London Colney base.
But in the grand scheme of things it does not seem that big a deal. Arsenal appear to have run out of time to get Arteta in place ahead of this weekend’s trip to Goodison Park. With the Premier League match against Everton the early kick-off on Saturday, we’re hearing that Ljungberg will remain in charge of the first team for one more game, though Arteta will be present to observe the clash before taking over at the start of next week.
His first task? Deciding whether to make the squad train on Christmas Day or not.
One of the big questions from Arteta’s return to the Emirates will be who wins and loses from his arrival.
As with any manager appointment, the new man in charge will have his own ideas of who he can and can’t work with, and a detailed look across the current Arsenal squad makes particularly grim reading for a number of players.
However, it could work out in favour of many others, so we’ve taken a close look at how Arteta’s appointment will change the landscape of what we currently know as Arsenal Football Club:
Anther hour passes, and as the clock ticks through to 11:01am, there is still no official announcement fro the club, despite widespread reports that confirmation will be made imminently.
In fact, the Arsenal media team have not sent a single tweet all morning or put up any new stories on the club website – they must have been pre-occupied with preparing something fairly major…
Here’s what we know so far:
- Arsenal have cancelled their 1:30pm press conference, moving it instead to Friday afternoon
- Mikel Arteta has made his intention to join Arsenal clear to Manchester City
- Clubs in talks over £1m compensation fee
- Pep Guardiola has publicly stated he will not block move
- Arsenal understood to have agreed a three-and-a-half year deal with Arteta
- Spaniard will return to the club after retiring in 2016
- Freddie Ljungberg expected to take charge against Everton this weekend
- Arteta will be at Goodison Park to watch the Premier League clash
Welcome to The Independent’s live updates from Arsenal as the club prepare to announce the acquisition of new manager Mikel Arteta.
Latest from Manchester City…
When asked to provide an update after his side’s EFL Cup win over Oxford, the City boss said: “I don’t have any news. We prepared for the game as best as possible. Before, during and now after… I spoke yesterday, I don’t have to say anything more.”
Arsenal are in talks with the Spaniard about becoming the second manager of the Premier League club since Arsene Wenger stepped down after 22 years in May 2018. Arsenal, currently in 10th, fired Unai Emery almost three weeks ago.
Arteta, who played for Arsenal from 2011-16, has been assistant to Guardiola at City since leaving the north London club.
Latest from Arsenal…
The 1:30pm press conference scheduled for Thursday afternoon has been postponed until Friday, with the club freeing themselves up to get the Arteta deal over the line. Arsenal are in talks to finalise a compensation deal with City that is expected to be in the region of £1m, which would represented one of the more cheaper deals available on the managerial market.
Meanwhile, Arsene Wenger has advised his former captain to deal with his managerial inexperience by surrounding himself with supportive figures at Arsenal.
“Mikel Arteta has certainly a great future, he has learned a lot in his first experience, in his first position as an assistant coach,” said Wenger, now chief of global football development at Fifa. “He will have to deal with the fact he has no experience at that level, and he will have to get surrounded well and have a good environment at the club.”
“Arsenal is going through a very difficult period,” he said at the Club World Cup. “I just suffer like every other supporter.”