Arsene Wenger always envisaged Mikel Arteta would make a successful transition from playing to coaching, but admits his former charge is ‘lucky’ to already be in such a high-profile job.
Arteta spent five years in north London while Wenger was still in charge of the north London club, but departed for Manchester City after hanging up his boots in 2016.
The Spaniard spent three-and-a-half years as Pep Guardiola’s assistant, helping turn an expensively assembled side into one of the most dominant teams of the Premier League era, winning back-to-back titles and amassing 198 points in the process.
Arteta has made an encouraging start to his management career, but Wenger believes he is fortunate to have been fastracked into one of the mos prominent jobs in world football.
He told talkSPORT: ‘He had passion for the game and big motivation, and good focus and a desire to do well.
‘You could see the ingredients there, and he had a grip and influence on the other players.
‘He’s lucky that straight away he got into a big club, in a position where you normally have to work ten years to get that position.
‘But because he played for the club and was a good player he straight away got the chance at a big club. I wish him well.’
Wenger is yet to watch a match or even return to the Emirates Stadium following his departure two years ago, but Arteta would welcome his return in an official capacity.
‘I would like to see him back around us,’ said Arteta. ‘He was a massive figure for me, he’s someone I can still learn a lot of things from.
‘I would like to have him closer to us, obviously the environment doesn’t allow us to do it. But I think he’s a figure who has to be very present in what we do at the football club because he’s, in my opinion, the one who had the vision and helped this club to evolve and help this club be what it is today.’
Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
For more stories like this, check our sport page.