Mikel Arteta has paid tribute to Arsène Wenger, saying he tries to implement many of our legendary manager’s traits into his own way of working.
The Frenchman has been honoured with a new statue outside Emirates Stadium to celebrate his 22-year tenure between 1996 and 2018, which yielded three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.
And the man currently in charge of our men’s first team believes the accolade is fully warranted, having played under Arsène for five seasons before embarking on his own coaching career - a move he revealed had been anticipated by Wenger for many years.
“It’s such a great tribute that the club has done something special for Arsène that he fully deserves and merits,” Mikel said. “With a statue now at the stadium, Arsène can have that recognition and be here at our club forever.
“I’m so grateful to have played for Arsène at this club in my career. He chose me to be one of his players and selected me to be the captain of the club and that's something I will never forget.
“Towards the end of my playing career, I started to speak with Arsène about going into coaching and management myself, and he told me he had already anticipated that. Even the first year when I got here, he said to me: ‘one day you are going to be a manager’, and I wasn't really thinking about that at that time.”
That was just one example of Arsène’s eye for talent and visionary nature, and Mikel admits there are so many other characteristics that he picked up from one of the game’s greatest managers that he tries to implement on a daily basis - on and off the field.
“I learned so much from him and if I had to pick one of his many great values, it is how loyal he was and how much he defended the club, its players and football in general,” our current boss added.
“The passion he has for the game is just phenomenal and you could see that. He really wanted to respect the game and he wanted it to be played in a certain way. Also, the way he always put the club in front of any personal interest at all times is something that I have tried to learn from him.
“The way he defended the club, the way he presented himself, the way he was loyal to the players and his staff is something that I really took from him. He is an example for me.”
Hear much more from Mikel on Arsène in our Emirates Cup programme, available to pre-order now or purchase on the day around Emirates Stadium.
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