Academy boss Per Mertesacker tells Arsenal fans not to expect Champions League football for up to THREE years… but insists supporters must ‘trust’ Mikel Arteta despite a slow start
- Per Mertesacker has told Arsenal fans to ‘swallow disappointment’ at the moment
- The German says Arsenal may not play in the Champions League for a few years
- Ex-defender Mertesacker is currently the academy manager of the North London club
- He was responsible for promoting Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka to Arsenal
- The 36-year-old has told Arsenal fans about current manager Mikel Arteta . to be trusted
Per Mertesacker has told Arsenal fans to be prepared to ‘swallow disappointment’ and expect the club to be without Champions League football for ‘maybe two or three years’.
The German, who played for the Gunners between 2011 and 2018 before retiring, currently works as the club’s academy director and has been instrumental in promoting Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka to the Arsenal first team.
Mertesacker has revealed he is impatient to bring the club back to where it belongs, in what he describes as a trophy challenge at the Premier League’s biggest clubs, but insists “that’s not the reality” and claims Mikel Arteta needs time to implement his first team plan.
Per Mertesacker has told Arsenal fans not to expect Champions League football in the coming years
Mikel Arteta’s (left) Gunners are currently in the bottom half of the table after a slow start
When asked what state Arsenal are currently in, the 36-year-old told The Beautiful Game Podcast: ‘Massive transition, that’s how I’d classify it.
“I think it was clear when Arsene (Wenger) left (in 2018), the void that needed to be filled was not going to be solved in a few seasons or three to four years.
“You always want to take the shortcut, you know, jump right back into the Champions League, be successful again right away. I think even myself, now that I realize and work with the academy, going more long-term development oriented, I think we see similar traits in the first team, and I hope Mikel gets the time he needs.
‘I’m impatient. I want to be successful tomorrow, I want to go back in the Champions League tomorrow, I want to talk to people and say, “Listen, we have the best club in the world who compete for titles every year.” That’s not the reality. I think the sooner we get on the train or we’re still in a big, big transition (the better).’
Mertesacker (right) is Arsenal’s academy boss and helped Bukayo Saka (right) get through
Arsenal started the current Premier League season horribly, with defeats in their first three games against Brentford, Chelsea and Manchester City – all without the Gunners scoring a single goal.
Arteta’s side have recovered in recent weeks with meager wins over Norwich and Burnley, but face a crucial fortnight with North London rivals Tottenham coming to the Emirates Stadium this weekend and heading to high-flying Brighton next week.
While Spanish head coach Arteta’s future has been threatened in recent weeks, Mertesacker has told Gunners supporters to ‘give him the confidence’ so that he can return Arsenal to the Champions League, a competition they have not competed in since spring 2017. have played.
“To have lasting success, there has to be some trust,” added Mertesacker. “I’m all for trusting people in people. If it’s Mikel Arteta, and I consider him to be the right person, let’s give him the confidence and the development squad that he can take to the next level to reach Champions League football, maybe in two or three years.
Mertesacker has told Gunners fans to trust Arteta (right) despite a poor start to the season
“From a club person, that’s my opinion at the moment, because I’ve worked very, very closely with Mikel.
“I know how much he wants it, I know his work ethic, I know how intensively the team is currently working to get to a higher level. I think we’re all going to have to put up with disappointment at this point, which I’d like to change, but the environments we’ll be delivering in the coming years will be key to our success.
“There’s a lot, a lot at stake and I understand there’s a lot of criticism, but some people have to take that and try to grow with it, and Mikel is someone who does that.”