Per Mertesacker has given old pal Mike Arteta an enthusiastic endorsement for the way he has been able to influence proceedings under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
So enthusiastic, in fact, that one could be forgiven for thinking that the Arsenal defender, long sidelined through injury but on the comeback trail, would welcome the Spaniard as a coach with the Gunners.
If Arsene Wenger does extend his stay at the Emirates Stadium, it is generally accepted that a fresh impetus in coaching sessions would be imperative.
One of the aspects so fiercely scrutinised under the management of Wenger of late has been the motivation and tactical awareness of the team. It is difficult to assess just how much say Steve Bould has in these matters. What isn’t in doubt, however, is that the results of the Wenger-Bould partnership have to improve.
And to read Germany World Cup winner Merstesacker speak so highly of former midfielder Arteta’s time at City does provide food for thought on whether or not he could have an influence at the club he served for five years; a period in which he helped the Gunners to two FA Cup successes.
Merstesacker told the club’s matchday programme for yesterday’s 2-2 draw with City: “He was a great player for us and he was a really good example for me too. Mikel was always thinking ahead about how he could influence the team as much as possible.
“Mikel influenced me a lot and seeing him grow as quickly as he has into his role at Man City has not surprised me. You can count at Mikel at any second. We had a great time together as captain and vice-captain, making decisions together on what we want as a team and how we are looking. I’m pleased to see him make the start he’s made, that he has already become influential in team meetings and training sessions there.”
It may be too early in Arteta’s coaching career to entrust him with a role at such a prominent level at Arsenal. That said, however, he is seen has good enough to be handed with a position of seniority at at Manchester City. So why not us?