Even if Mikel Arteta is successful beyond his wildest dreams at Arsenal, it’s almost impossible to imagine he will ever have the kind of transformative effect Arsene Wenger had. Still, what’s so refreshing about his young side, finally backed with his kind of signings, is that he absolutely doesn’t have to.

Indeed, as the man after the man who replaced Wenger, Arteta has a clean slate. With a young side in a stadium that, frankly, doesn’t have a huge amount of (positive) history behind it, he isn’t ghosted by the problems of the past. Now, we can judge Arteta on his own merit.

Clearly, their recent run of good form does not instantly mean Arsenal are once again ready to challenge but the kind of process Arteta spoke about during the dark days of the season’s opening is finally obvious.

Crucially, those above him at the club are desperate to get this appointment right. While the owners have drawn rightful criticism for the manner in which they’ve run the club, they have backed Arteta so strongly that even if there are bumps along the road, he looks safe in his position barring a complete collapse.

This is Arsenal’s freshest start since Wenger’s early days. Whereas Unai Emery had to come straight after a 22-year tenure legacy, working with a number of highly-paid players who had been treated too softly under his predecessor, Arteta is largely free of any such burden.

Backed by the board, boasting exciting young players and in a stadium in which they can create their own history, there are so many reasons to be excited about where Arsenal can go from here under Arteta.

Quite what success looks like, however, remains to be seen. Josh Kroenke recently talked of his ambition to win the Premier League and the Champions League, although that looks hugely difficult at the moment.

Both Manchester clubs, Chelsea, Liverpool and perhaps even Newcastle United are capable of spending more money more regularly while bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur have just appointed one of the world’s leading coaches.

Still, City and Liverpool are likely to lose their managers in the next few years and, while that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a huge drop-off in form, it does provide somewhat of an opportunity.

United, meanwhile, have never proven they can run like a modern superclub since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson and Newcastle are an unknown quantity. Spurs, for their part, have a history of messing things up from good positions. Antonio Conte, at best, stays at a club for three years. So then, perhaps Arteta can get his Arsenal ducks in a row for a Premier League post-Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola.

Should his team continue to build and manage to ward off any interest that might emerge in the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe over the next few years, the Arsenal manager looks in a good position to do exactly that.

Indeed, no-one is quite sure what the future of English football holds. When Klopp and Guardiola, two managers who have created an era of almost perfection, are no longer in the Premier League, it becomes much more open for everybody else, though the financial gap to Chelsea and Manchester City will likely remain in place.

For Arsenal and Arteta, it’s about being ready to pounce. To suggest they are ready to right now would, of course, be hyperbolic but the fact that the process has already started is certainly promising. This is the freshest start Arsenal have had in an age. Whatever happens in the future, they are trying to get ready. Such is the nature of the landscape in England at the moment, that’s all anybody can ask for.

 


 

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