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Arteta is the right appointment because he understands Arsenal's values - Keown

15:56 GMT 20/12/2019
Mikel Arteta Manchester City 2019-20
A former Gunners defender has expressed his excitement in the wake of the Spaniard's return to Emirates Stadium in a coaching capacity

Mikel Arteta is the "right appointment" for Arsenal, according to Martin Keown, who thinks the ex-Manchester City assistant will have the wisdom of Pep Guardiola "at his fingertips" after three years at Etihad Stadium.

Arteta was named as Unai Emery's permanent successor in the Arsenal hot seat on Friday afternoon, bringing to an end his trophy-laden spell as a number two with the Premier League champions.

The 37-year-old, who played for the Gunners between 2011 and 2016, has signed a three-year contract at Emirates Stadium, and will now set about reviving the club's 2019-20 campaign.

Arteta's tenure will not officially begin until December 22, but he will be in the stands when Arsenal take in a trip to Goodison Park to face Everton on Saturday - which marks caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg's final game at the helm.

The Spaniard will inherit a squad that has only won five of their 17 Premier League fixtures this season, and is already seven points adrift of a place in the top four.

Keown admits that Arsenal have taken a risk in appointing a man with no previous experience as a head coach, but he thinks Arteta could end up being successful in the role given the fact he understands the club's core values.

“I’m quite excited about the prospect of Arteta coming in," the ex-Arsenal centre-back told Talk Sport: "He has an emotional link to the club, he understands the values of the club, what it represents, what’s at stake and the feeling of the fans.

“And because of who he’s worked with. I know he hasn’t got the managerial experience and that’s the worry, but just look at some of the positives. That think-tank he’s been a part of with Guardiola – that professor of soccer. They know how to press and know how to defend as groups, he’s got all of that stuff at this fingertips.

“I do feel in time this could be the right appointment. It’s a huge gamble but if there are no big managers out there, this is the next kid on the block. He’s coming out of the same group as Guardiola, who followed on from Cruyff… Arteta has the same education.

“But is he a good educator? Can he get that message across? Can he motivate? This guy will hopefully implement all of that and put the tactics in place. There’s a lot of work for Arteta, but if he can do what they do at City for Arsenal, we’ll all be happy.

“But I think we’re going to have to take a hit first, because it will get worse before it gets better with the work he has to do.”

Keown went on to highlight the defence as the main area of the squad in need of major surgery, with the Gunners currently posting a -3 goal difference having conceded a whopping 27 goals.

The Arsenal legend thinks Arteta will have to educate the likes of David Luiz, Sokratis and Rob Holding on the art of defending, while also making sure that the rest of the team does their jobs when out of possession.

“He has to go in and sort things out. Defend as a team!" Keown added. "The team are quite fragile structurally from a defensive point of view, but that’s not just the defence, it’s the whole team.

"They don’t know what to press together. Tactically they are very naïve. Team intelligence doesn’t exist for Arsenal, so what he has to do is educate the players to play in the way he wants to play. That’s going to take an awful lot of time for this group of players.

“It’s not going to happen straight away, there won’t be a magic wand, but there will be lots of training sessions and he’s got to get that across.”