(Reuters) - Mikel Arteta has “all of the qualities” to become the next Arsenal manager, according to Arsene Wenger who is leaving the London club after 22 years in charge.
British media reported that former Arsenal captain Arteta has emerged as clear favourite to take over from Wenger.
“He has all the qualities to do the job, yes and I think as well he is one of the favourites,” Wenger, who signed Arteta for Arsenal in 2011, told beIN Sports.
“He was a leader, and he has a good passion for the game and he knows the club well, he knows what is important at the club and he was captain of the club.”
Spaniard Arteta, 36, took up a role in Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff at Manchester City in 2016 but has never managed a team, a lack of experience that has raised concerns among Arsenal supporters.
Wenger, however, believes Arteta could benefit from his own first-team coaches, like Steve Bould and Jens Lehmann, who are still at the club.
“I left a lot of experience behind me, people who were with me like Steve Bould who has six years experience, and Jens Lehmann too,” Wenger added. “Unfortunately, some other staff left.
“(Arteta) has been an assistant of Guardiola as well, so overall I think he has the qualities.”
Wenger, however, is staying out of the club’s search for his successor.
“I don’t want to influence that publicly because for me I believe it is important that they make their choice in an objective way and after once they make a decision I will support him,” he said
“If the club had asked my opinion I would have given it. Because I want my club to continue to do well and continue to play at the top. But they didn’t ask me, so that takes the weight away from me.”
(This version of the story fixes typo in Arteta’s name in first paragraph)
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond