Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta needs time like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp as former Gunner Johan Djourou reveals Arsene Wenger regret

Former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou has backed Mikel Arteta and says the Spaniard needs more time to turn the Gunners’ fortunes around.

Despite winning the FA Cup in his first few months in charge, pressure mounted on Arteta last season with Arsenal finishing in eighth place in the Premier League, meaning they missed out on a spot in Europe for the first time in 26 years.

Arteta has a big job on his hands at the Emirates in 2021/22

The Spaniard hasn’t been afraid to weald the axe, though, during his time in charge, with Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi both leaving the club after being frozen out, while experienced defender David Luiz has also been allowed to leave on a free transfer this summer.

Djourou, who made 144 appearances in all competitions during eleven years with Arsenal, played with Arteta at the Emirates Stadium as a player and believes his former teammate has what it takes to be a top coach.

But the 34-year-old – who retired from professional football last month – doesn’t feel that Arteta currently has the right players to get Arsenal back to where they want to be.

Asked whether Arteta was the right man for Arsenal, Djourou exclusively told talkSPORT: “I think that’s always a question 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 more time.

Djourou believes Arteta deserves time to get things right in north London

“Look at [Jurgen] Klopp and Pep [Guardiola], they haven’t had success straight away.

Of course, you want some success at some point. I’m not saying Mikel didn’t have a lot of time; he’s had some time.

Is he the right man? I think he has the right ideas. Does he have the right players for the kind of style that he wants to play? I think that’s another question.

“I think there are too many characteristics that you have to take into account. It’s not like ‘Okay, he’s the right man’. He definitely has good ideas. Would that work with Arsenal in the long run? We shall see. Hopefully, this season can start with better expectations and better results.

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“We have seen Italy win the Euros and they have big personality and big players. But we have seen other teams like Spain do a great job. We have seen a team like Denmark do a great job with not many big stars in their ranks, but a great mentality. I think sometimes we tend to forget [that].

“Sometimes we tend to say: ‘We have too many egos.’ When you have eleven players who are fighting for the shirt or fighting for the coach or whoever is around, you have a team.

“It’s not about who we get in or which player is coming in or what quality that he has. Does he have the mentality to go with the others that are already here? I think that’s the point that we tend to forget because we want names.”

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After leaving Arsenal, Djourou spent time with the likes of Hamburg, Antalyaspor as well as FC Nordsjaelland, among others, and was also a regular at international level with Switzerland, where he was capped 76 times.

However, as the 34-year-old reflects on a 17-year career in the game, one of his only regrets is that he never won a trophy with Arsenal under legendary manager Arsene Wenger.

“We are all playing for something and the fact I didn’t win a title would be the main regret,” he explains.

“But, having said that, when you look back and think what you’ve learnt and how you’ve grown during that journey, this for me is irreplaceable.

“The boss [Wenger] had a big impact on myself and not just on the pitch, but outside. When I had the Euros or big competitions like that, I always spoke to him before and I had some texts with him two years ago.

Djourou wishes he’d won the Premier League with Wenger in charge

“He is a father figure on a lot of levels. But I think that’s only how you can succeed and that’s why he has been in the game for so long, because he had such a great psychological approach to the players and we all felt loved and respected.”

Following his retirement, Djourou now hosts his own podcast and runs his own soccer school to help the next generation of footballers in Switzerland.
“It is called the Djourou Elite Camp,” he finished.

“It is to give those guys the right to dream because we try to give them [the kids] the input of what it takes to be a [footballer].

“At this time, it’s just about giving them the input and 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 being done here and I’m very passionate. I’m having a great time.”