Per Mertesacker, the head of the Arsenal’s youth academy, has revealed that he believes the club are in a massive transition and while everyone wants the quick fix, the long term development route is the way. The German also added that he trusts Mikel Arteta and hopes he gets the time he needs.
Things haven’t gone according to plan for Arsenal, ever since Arsene Wenger left, with the Gunners going through one manager and one interim coach before settling on Mikel Arteta. It’s under the Spaniard that thing looked like they were progressing before the club finished 8th last season, thus ensuring no European football for the first time in decades. Not only that, their hopes of a Champions League place keeps dwindling down thanks to their rivals becoming even stronger.
But the Gunners finished the 2021 summer window as the highest spenders, in the Premier League, for the first time in years and yet, a large portion of the players signed have been younger stars. That combined with the club’s start has many concerned but Per Mertesacker revealed that he believes that Arsenal are in “massive transition”. The German also added that the void that Arsene Wenge left hasn’t been filled yet and the way forward is by “going more long-term developmental”.
"Massive transition, that’s what I would class it as. I think it was clear when Arsene left the void that needed to be filled wouldn’t get sorted in a couple of seasons, or three to four years. You always want the shortcut, you know, bang straight back into the Champions League, straight back into being successful,” Mertesacker told The Beautiful Game Podcast.
“I think even myself, realising and working now with the academy, going more long-term developmental, I think we see kind of similar-ish traits in the first team, and I hope that Mikel gets the time that he needs. I want to be successful tomorrow, I want to go back in the Champions League tomorrow.
“I want to speak to people and say 'listen, we have got the best club in the world who challenges for titles every single year'. That’s not the reality. I think the earlier we get on the train of we are in a big, big transition still [the better],” he added.
The pressure, however, under Mikel Arteta at the moment is immense with the Spaniard enjoying a horrendous start to the season with just two wins in the club’s five league games. Yet despite that, Mertesacker confessed that he believes in the Arsenal boss and hopes that he gets the “trust and the development squad” to get to the next level and take the club with him.
"To have sustainable success there needs to be some trust. I’m all for trusting people in people. If Mikel Arteta, and I perceive him to be the right person, let's give him the trust and the development squad that he can take to the next level that will achieve Champions League football, maybe in two or three years.
"From a club person, thats my take basically at the moment, because I’ve worked with Mikel very, very closely. I know how much he wants it, I know his work ethic, I know how intense the squad works at the moment to get to a better level.
“I think we all have to swallow disappointment at the moment, which I’m keen to change, but the environments that we are going to deliver in the next years will be key for our success,” he further said.