Arsene Wenger: Mikel Arteta wants ex-Arsenal boss to return to club


Mikel Arteta as a player speaks to then Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
Mikel Arteta won the FA Cup twice as a player at Arsenal while Arsene Wenger was in charge of the club

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says he wants to bring former Gunners manager Arsene Wenger back to the club in some capacity and has already spoken to him about a possible return.

Wenger, 72, guided Arsenal to three Premier League titles and won the FA Cup on seven occasions in his 22 years in charge of the north London side.

Arteta spent five years playing under Wenger at the Gunners.

“We would be delighted to have him much closer,” Arteta said.

“I think he would have a great time just seeing the environment that he can create around him when he’s around this place because of the respect, admiration and the love that everybody at the club has for what he’s done, as well as for what he represents as a person.”

Arteta replaced Unai Emery as Gunners boss in December 2019, 19 months after Wenger’s 1,235-game reign as Arsenal manager came to an end at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season.

As manager, Arteta guided the club to FA Cup success in 2019-20 but after a second successive eighth-place finish in the Premier League last term the Gunners failed to qualify for European competition for the first time in 25 years.

Arsenal are fifth in the table after 12 games this season and next face bottom side Newcastle on Saturday.

Arteta said “there has been communication” with Wenger when he was asked if a formal offer had been made to bring the Frenchman back to Emirates Stadium.

The Spaniard said they had spoken at the premiere of the documentary about his ex-boss, who now works for Fifa as chief of football development.

“I talked to him when we went to see the film and it was incredibly pleasant to see him and chat to him, and hopefully we can bring him close,” he said.

Arteta, however, added that he “cannot tell” what role Wenger would take up at the club.

“What I can say is that I would like him to be much closer, personally, to me because I think it would be a great help, I think it would be a great help for the club,” he said.

“Things take time and I think he has to dictate those timings. What I can say is from my side and I can say, I think, on behalf of everybody, is that we would be delighted to have him much closer.”

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