Mikel Arteta taking Arsenal transfer approach that Arsene Wenger wouldn’t

Arteta invites Wenger to return to Arsenal in some capacity

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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta worked under one of the best managers in the club’s history during his time as a player. However, the Spaniard is clearly not keen to adopt everything he learned from Arsene Wenger. That has become obvious with his approach in the January transfer market.

Arsenal are seriously short of options in midfield. They knew that would be the case months in advance of this window.

Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny were always going to be a part of their respective country’s squads for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Arteta has also allowed Ainsley Maitland-Niles to leave the club on loan to join Roma.

The irony being Maitland-Niles would be playing in his preferred midfield position if he stayed at Arsenal but instead played right-back on his Roma debut at the weekend.

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Arteta says he is looking in the market to add midfielders to his squad, admitting they are “very short” on numbers.

And this is where Arteta and Wenger’s transfer approaches differ.

Jack Wilshere has been training with Arsenal since last October.

Arteta insisted at the start the former England international was only working on his fitness ahead of his next move.

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He reiterated last week that he would be sticking to that stance.

But if it was Wenger, he would have most likely offered Wilshere a short-term deal to solve his midfield crisis.

Wenger had a track record of bringing players back to the club when he was in need of reinforcements.

Sol Campbell started training with Arsenal in October 2009 and was given a deal until the end of the season the following January.

Campbell played a key part of that campaign, scoring a vital away goal in a Champions League knockout match at Porto.

Fast-forward three years and Thierry Henry was back wearing the famous red and white.

Arsenal were short of strikers and Henry stepped in to give his team a helping hand.

Jens Lehmann did the same in 2011 after a number of injuries in goal.

It wasn’t just legendary former Arsenal players who Wenger brought back either.

Arteta will remember well when Mathieu Flamini returned to the club in 2013 after initially just training with Wenger’s side.

Arteta and Flamini were regular midfield partners and the Frenchman nearly made another 100 appearances before leaving in 2016.

Of the four players above, Flamini was the youngest when he returned at the age of 30.

Wilshere only turned 30 this month so still has that on his side.

It would be fair to say Wilshere struggled to get into the Bournemouth team in the Championship last season.


That could well be a good enough reason for Arteta not to sign him.

But when you are so desperate on numbers, adding that bit of experience can make all the difference.

And it’s not just any other player. Wilshere is Arsenal through and through and would jump at the chance to play for the club again.

But Arteta sees it differently to how Wenger would.

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