The Arsenal fans in the Transfer Tavern are eagerly anticipating an official announcement from their club regarding the identity of Arsene Wenger’s successor.
There are plenty of candidates who could potentially succeed Wenger at the Emirates Stadium next season, but recent reports are suggesting that Mikel Arteta is one of the favourites to take over. Arteta has been an assistant coach at Manchester City for the past two seasons where he has been receiving the highest standard of managerial education under Pep Guardiola.
Naturally, plenty of the resident Gunners propping up our bar are concerned by Arteta’s lack of experience as he is yet to undertake a role within management at any level, never mind a top-four Premier League club. Whether the hierarchy at Arsenal will be willing to take a chance on the Spaniard remains to be seen, but if they ultimately decide he has the credentials to succeed Wenger, he should make John Stones (valued at £45 million by Transfermarkt) his first signing of the summer.
Stones began the season in fine form for the Citizens after struggling on his debut season, but an injury he collected against Leicester in November served to tarnish his campaign. The arrival of Aymeric Laporte in January and further injury problems have limited his number of opportunities since the turn of the year, and the intensity of the competition for a starting berth in Guardiola’s first-team could convince Stones to leave the Etihad this summer.
Wenger successfully installed a footballing philosophy into Arsenal which enabled them to establish a global reputation for playing attractive, possession-based football – a philosophy which Stones’ individual style of play is perfectly aligned with. The England international has often been criticised for over-playing and refusing to adapt his principles to difficult situations, but he is slowly beginning to improve his decision-making, so Arteta would be foolish not to consider bringing him to Arsenal if he leaves Man City this summer.
With Laurent Koscielny set to turn 33-years-old this year and Shkodran Mustafi consistently proving that he cannot be relied upon, Arteta will need to make some wholesale changes to solve Arsenal’s defensive problems and installing Stones at the heart of his back-line would be the perfect place to begin the transformation.
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