Former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou has backed Mikel Arteta and said the Spaniard needs more time to turn the Gunners’ situation around.
Although he won the FA Cup in his first months in charge, the pressure increased on Arteta last season, with Arsenal finishing in eighth place in the Premier League meaning they missed a place in Europe for the first time in 26 years.
The Spaniard was not afraid to weld the ax, however, during his tenure both Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi both left the club after being frozen, while veteran defender David Luiz was also cleared to leave in free transfer. this summer.
Djourou, who made 144 appearances in all competitions for eleven years with Arsenal, played with Arteta at Emirates Stadium as a player and believes his former teammate has what it takes to be a better manager.
But the 34-year-old – who retired from professional football last month – doesn’t think Arteta currently has the right players to bring Arsenal back to where they want to be.
When asked if Arteta was the right fit for Arsenal, Djourou exclusively told talkSPORT: “I think it’s always a matter of time. Now with Arsenal and with others we are in a situation where we want a quick fix or a quick transition and sometimes it takes longer.
“Watch [Jurgen] Klopp and Pep [Guardiola], they weren’t successful right away.
Of course, you want some success at some point. I’m not saying Mikel didn’t have a lot of time; he had time.
Is he the right man? I think he has the right ideas. Does he have the right players for the kind of style he wants to play? I think that’s another question.
“I think there are too many characteristics you have to take into account. It’s not like ‘Okay, this is the right person’. He definitely has good ideas. Would that work with Arsenal in the long run? We will see. Hopefully this season can start with better expectations and better results.
“We saw Italy win the Euro and they have a great personality and great players. But we have seen other teams like Spain do a great job. We have seen a team like Denmark do a great job. work with few big stars in their ranks, but a good mentality. I think sometimes we tend to forget [that].
“Sometimes we tend to say, ‘We have too much ego.’ When you have eleven players fighting for the jersey or fighting for the manager or someone else, you have a team.
“It’s not about who we hire or what player comes in or what quality he has. Does he have the mentality to go with the others who are already there? I think that’s the point we tend to forget because we want names.
After leaving Arsenal, Djourou spent time with Hamburg, Antalyaspor as well as FC Nordsjaelland, among others, and was also a regular at the international level with Switzerland, where he was selected 76 times.
However, as the 34-year-old reflects on a 17-year career in the game, one of his only regrets is never having won a trophy with Arsenal under legendary manager Arsene Wenger.
“We’re all playing for something and the fact that I didn’t win a title would be the main regret,” he explains.
“But, that said, when you look back and think about what you have learned and how you have grown on this journey, it is irreplaceable to me.
“The boss [Wenger] had a big impact on myself and not just on the pitch, but off. When I had the Euros or big competitions like that, I always talked to him before and I had a few texts with him two years ago.
“He’s a father figure in so many ways. But I think that’s only how you can be successful and that’s why he’s been in the game for so long, because he had such a good psychological approach to the players and we all felt loved and respected.
After his retirement, Djourou now hosts his own podcast and runs his own football school to help the next generation of footballers in Switzerland.
“It’s called the elite Djourou camp,” he concluded.
“It’s to give these guys the right to dream because we’re trying to give them [the kids] the entry of what it takes to be a [footballer].
“Right now it’s just about giving them the contribution, the confidence and the responsibility to make decisions and to be treated as human beings and not as players. There is a lot of psychological work going on here and I am very passionate about it. I’m having a good time. “