Arsenal’s academy head, Per Mertesacker, has given an interview in Germany where he talks about Arsenal trying to buy their way to the top and falling on their faces in doing so.
Through the latter stages of Arsene Wenger’s reign at Arsenal, the club were known more for their bank balance than what they were doing on the pitch.
Arsenal were the net spend trophy kings.
By the time the post-stadium move shackles came off, Arsenal had slipped so far behind the mega-rich clubs, they threw caution to the wind and started flinging cash around like a drunk 18-year-old who had just got access to their trust fund.
“We are in a state of upheaval and are building a team capable of development, which should be peppered with players from our own youth and professionals from abroad,” explained Mertesacker in an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, via Kicker.
“In the meantime, we had lost our way. We tried to make the connection to the top faster with costly commitments.
“We fell on our face with that.”
Mertesacker also spoke about Mikel Arteta as manager, comparing him to Arsene Wenger.
“It is not easy to find successors who bring good ideas and who at the same time involve club employees,” Mertesacker said.
“Mikel has a different knit than Arsene, is intense and focused.
“He tries to be very active as a trainer, to respond to the new generation and to clearly show what is required. The current generation needs more requirements, while in my time much more was regulated in dialogue with one another.”
The BFG was also asked about the situation with banished former club captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
“I think it’s good that our sporting success has overshadowed this big topic a little,” added Mertesacker.
“If things don’t go well, a captain has to catch the team and face the media.
“I would like Pierre to cope with this measure well, because the decision is not easy for anyone.”