The average life span of a Premier League managers is a little over 2 years. Time to build, or re-build, is something hardly any manager gets.
Jurgen Klopp is the only many in the Premier League to have been given the time to build something.
After finishing 8th, 4th, 4th and trophyless in his first 3 seasons, Liverpool could have justifiably got rid of the German due to a lack of trophies. But both the Liverpool board and the fans kept with him. They could see what he was building.
Despite a lack of silverware in his 1st 3 seasons, Klopp had Liverpool on the right track.
Having failed to make top 4 in consecutive seasons, finishing 4th in his 1st full season was a small success. This was on the back of being losing finalists in the Europa League and League Cup the season before.
The next Klopp took them to the Champions League final which they lost.
At this point Liverpool could have got rid of “loser” Klopp and replaced him with a winner like Unai Emery. Instead they kept with their man and the next season were rewarded with the Champions League. This season they are running away with the Premier League.
Arsenal need to give Arteta time. Understand that he will not turn the club into a title challenging, Champions League winning team overnight. It is all about baby steps, moving the team forward season by season.
The first step would be getting Arsenal back into the top 4.
This will not happen this season, but should be the target for next. Once in the top 4, we can build towards the next step.
As long as the side is moving forward, and it is clear what Arteta is attempting to achieve, he should be given the time regardless of lack of trophies.
Following the same theme, the fans also need to be patient with Arteta.
It will be very easy for fans to get on his back very quickly, pointing out his lack of experience at the 1st sign things are going wrong. But we need to look past the short term.
Arsenal fans were patient with Emery. Most gave him the time to improve. It could be argued that he was given too much time.
Unlike Klopp who was clearly trying to implement a consistent style of play on the Liverpool team, stamp his authority, Emery kept chopping and changing formations and tactics each week.
We as fans need to realise that changing the manager every year is not necessarily the solution. That the problems at Arsenal are potentially bigger than who is in charge. And as long as Arteta is moving the team forward, we need to be patient with him.
We will lose games we should win under Arteta, but that is no different to under Emery, Wenger, Rioch and Graham. The key is not throwing the toys out the pram at the first defeat. Not screaming for his head when we hit the first bump in the road.
Daniel LaRusso needed Mr Miyagi. Luke Skywalker needed Yoda. Every apprentice needs a mentor.
Mikel Arteta is just 37-years-old. Arsenal will be his first managerial job. He will need someone who has been there and done it alongside him. Mentoring him.
Whilst the likes of Freddie Ljungberg is clearly a well liked coach, he is also young and learning his way. The same can be said for Per Mertesacker.
Arteta needs to be able to surround himself with his own people, but he needs to be encouraged to bring in experienced help.
Backing to Sell
When appointed into his first managerial job at 37 with Barcelona, the first thing Pep Guardiola did to stamp his authority was to get rid of Deco and Ronaldinho.
The pair were considered amongst the best players in the world at the time. But they also had a reputation for being disruptive, ill-disciplined and enjoying a party.
Ronaldinho and Deco were quickly moved on alongside other senior players Lilian Thuram, Gianluca Zambrotta, Edmilson and Oleguer Presas. They were replaced with the likes of Sergio Busquets and Pedro. Whilst Guardiola was supported in signing fresh younger players such as Gerrard Pique and Martín Caceres.
At Manchester City, Guardiola did similar – quickly farming out Samir Nasri and Joe Hart.
Arteta needs to be backed by the board when it comes to getting rid of players.
If he feels that Mesut Ozil, Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi need to be moved on, the club should support him.
Even if he comes in and decides that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or Alexandre Lacazette needs to go, the board should back him.
Emery was let down by the board when it came to them getting rid of players he did not want. I has created a disharmonious squad and drove a wedge between players and manager.
Any player Arteta does not want to work with, the club should move on.
Arsenal have invested heavily in the playing side of the club in recent years.
Well over £400million has been spent in the last 4 seasons, with the club breaking its transfer record on 3 occasions.
This has to continue if Arsenal are to move forward.
It does not matter how often you change the manager if you do not give him the best tools available to work with.
Whether it is Dayot Upamecano, Wilfred Ndidi or Leroy Sane, Arsenal need to “go big” again in the summer signing a central defender, defensive midfielder and creative wideman. The club can not be scared to spend big. Arteta needs to be backed.
To have any chance of being a success, Arteta needs time, needs backing, needs patience and and needs investment. If he does not get them all, then he is being set up to fail.
Arsenal is a great club. One of the greatest. It is time to start behaving like one again.