Arsenal "made a mistake" in appointing Mikel Arteta, according to William Gallas, who says that the inexperienced coach wasn't ready for the Gunners job.
Arteta was drafted in to replace Unai Emery as Arsenal's new permanent manager in December 2019, having spent the previous three years serving as Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City.
The Spaniard has just completed his first full season in charge, which ended in disappointment as the Gunners missed out on a place in European competition for the first time in 25 years, leaving Gallas convinced that he is the wrong man to take the club forward.
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What's been said?
“Mikel Arteta was not ready yet to manage a club like Arsenal," the former Arsenal and France defender told The Sun.
“OK, he was assistant coach at Manchester City. But he had never managed a team. It is completely different.
“The board made a mistake picking him. I'm sure he will be a great manager but you need to have experience to manage a big club.
“To be honest, it is a great shame for the Arsenal fans after finishing eighth.
“Arsenal is not the same Arsenal we knew 18, 20 years ago. We had players who were strong, with strong personalities.”
Arteta's mixed start at Arsenal
Arteta won over the club's supporters in the second half of the 2019-20 campaign by delivering an unlikely FA Cup triumph, which he followed up with a Community Shield victory over Liverpool.
However, results quickly took a turn for the worse in the Gunners' latest season as they fell into the bottom half of the table, with the 39-year-old's tactical approach subsequently called into question.
Arsenal went on to exit the FA Cup in the fourth round and suffer a painful semi-final defeat to Villarreal in the Europa League, but did at least manage to finish the campaign with five successive Premier League victories.
The bigger picture
Arsenal will likely keep faith with Arteta for another season as he continues to oversee a long-term project, with his contract not due to expire until 2023.
However, the former City No.2 has warned that recruitment in the summer transfer market will be necessary for the Gunners to take strides forward in 2021-22.
“There are so many things to do because we have a lot of players on loan and a lot of players with contracts that we still have to sort,” Arteta said last month.
“It will depend on what happens with a lot of those players and what we are able to recruit to improve the team. That is going to determine where we are."