Jolen Lescott believes Manchester City found it ‘difficult to cope’ when ‘integral’ Mikel Arteta left to take the Arsenal job and also had no clue Arteta would be so good so soon.
Jolen Lescott currently works for City as a ‘loanee player liason agent’ after retiring from playing in 2017.
Speaking on the Football Index Podcast, the 37-year-old was keen to make sure we all knew he shared a dressing room with Arteta. “I think Arteta’s departure to Arsenal did have an impact on Manchester City and Guardiola,” Lescott said.
“Arteta was an integral member of the club so he would have left a hole and it’s difficult to cope with that appearing in the middle of a season.
“I know the role that Arteta played within that dressing room and he had the responsibility to keep everyone level-headed.
“Arteta also worked extremely hard with the players and spent a lot of one-to-one time with them that Guardiola wouldn’t necessarily have the time to do.”
He then added, “I shared a dressing room with Arteta and if I’m honest, I couldn’t see Arteta proving to be this successful so soon as a head coach.”
That is surprising to read as nearly everybody who has spent any time with Arteta expected him to be an excellent head coach, although I guess none of us expected him to be lifting silverware so soon after being appointed.
At City, Lescott won two league titles and FA Cup and a League Cup. He was signed from Everton for a fee of £24.5m in 2009 and spent five years with the Citizens before moving to West Brom on a free in 2014.
All the ‘dressing room’ time Lescott spent with Arteta was in the Everton dressing room.
They spent four years together at Goodison Park with Lescott arriving in 2006 from Wolves and leaving for City in 2009 while Arteta arrived in Liverpool from Real Sociedad in 2005 and stayed there until Arsenal came calling in 2011.