Arsenal legend on moment Mikel Arteta showed he could become 'great manager'


Mikel Arteta was a good player, according to Robin van Persie – but the Dutchman says his former Arsenal teammate has the potential to become ‘a great manager’.

The two played a season together at the Emirates, before former striker Van Persie left to join Manchester United in 2012.

Arteta stayed with the Gunners for another four years, becoming captain and winning two FA Cups, then hanging up his boots in 2016 and becoming Pep Guardiola’s No2 at Manchester City.

Having served his apprenticeship under Guardiola, Arteta already has a trophy in his locker from his first season as a manager, having guided Arsenal to their 14th FA Cup triumph earlier this month.

And Van Persie says it was clear to see Arteta’s potential as a manager from his early sessions at the Gunners Colney training centre after he took over from sacked Unai Emery in December last year.

Mikel Arteta guided Arsenal to a 14th FA Cup triumph and Europa League qualification in his first season as a manager

“He was a good player,” Van Persie said of Arteta to Stats Perform News.

“He was always fit, he connected play, he got his goals. He was good.​

“As a coach I do think he has the potential to become great. I said that even after watching the first couple of training sessions, or bits of it.

“The way he comes across in the media, the way he makes his team play. It’s very promising, very positive.”

Robin van Persie played with Arteta for a season at Arsenal

Arsenal could only finish eighth in the Premier League this season – the club’s lowest placing since 1995.

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But Van Persie says fans and the club must be patient with Arteta after he delivered a major trophy and a Europa League place for next season, despite having taken charge midway through the campaign.

“He needs time,” Van Persie said. “Sometimes you look at teams or you look at a coach and think ‘okay, this coach could have 200 years and it would not happen’.

“When I look at Mikel, I do see change, I see the positive changes and little things happening.

“How they work together, how they defend together. They are a shorter distance together. Going forward but defensively too. They have got better at defending set-pieces which was always an issue.”

Van Persie also highlighted Arteta’s man-management, citing the recent improvement in form of centre-half David Luiz as an example of the manager’s motivational powers.

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“David Luiz is having his best games,” Van Persie said. “He gives confidence to players and most players are picking up on that, doing really well and they really play for Mikel.”

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