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'I spoke to him': Mikel Arteta opens up about chat with Unai Emery after Arsenal sacked him

Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta faced the media today ahead of his side’s clash against his predecessor, Unai Emery.

The Gunners need to go all out in the Europa League. Winning the competition is the only way we can save our season, but unfortunately for us, we are up against the most successful manager in the history of the Europa League.

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Arteta was quizzed about the man he replaced at Arsenal. The Gunners boss revealed that the two of them have spoken in the past on a few occasions, including after we sacked Emery and approached Mikel to replace his compatriot.

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He said, as per “I spoke to him a few times, because we had people in common. Then I spoke to him before I took over at the club and he was really helpful. He offered me that opportunity which is sometimes unusual. He was very sincere and open. I was very grateful for that.

“He is a very experienced and successful manager – in the Europa League in particular with what he has done. So there is no doubt that he has the tools and knowledge to manage at the top level.

“That relationship (between Arsenal and Emery) existed and we cannot go against it. Unai knows the club really, really well and we know Unai as well and what he did before he joined here and what he did at the football club and that’s it.”

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The Insider’s View:

It is surprising to hear that Arteta and Emery had a chat about the Arsenal job just before our current manager took over. It’s even more surprising that the Villarreal boss gave him the time to discuss the opportunity just a few days after he faced the sack.

That’s really classy of Emery and he deserves all the respect from Arsenal fans. Yes, things didn’t quite work out for him at the Emirates, but he is still a top-quality manager and an even better human being.

All that will, however, go out of the window tomorrow night. When the game kicks off, both Arteta and Emery will want to kick each other out of the competition. Hopefully, it’ll be our current manager getting one over our former boss.

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