Arsenal: Arteta insists he still has backing from players
Under-fire Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta needs to take a leaf out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s book to get a handle on the players who are affecting the ‘harmony’ at the club. That’s the view of former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand who believes Arteta is struggling to keep his players happy.
Arsenal have lost four of their last five Premier League matches and sit 15th in the table, a worrying five points off the relegation zone after 12 matches.
As well as problems on the pitch, recent reports have suggested trouble behind the scenes with increasing rumours of players falling out with the manager.
Arteta is in his first senior management role in football and Ferdinand sympathises with his plight.
The former England star has offered advice to the Arsenal boss, identifying his own former manager as an example to follow when trying to deal with his squad.
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“He has to handle the players that are playing but you also have to handle people in and around the squad that aren’t playing every week,” he told his FIVE YouTube channel.
“That is where Sir Alex [Ferguson] was a genius.
“He made people feel 10 foot tall and they were subs or they were in the stands.
“He made them feel that he needed them or believed in them – that’s an area Arsenal are struggling.”
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Ferdinand has pointed the finger at three players in particular who are the cause of the disruption within the squad.
“We’ve seen the new signing, Saliba, talking to [Matteo] Guendouzi on social media. And obviously Mesut Ozil is on the sidelines as well.
“Mikel Arteta came in and bang, set my stall out, this is what is going on and these players aren’t playing.
“Now, if you do that and you are winning like he was earlier on in the season, then you don’t hear anything.
“You don’t hear any murmurs or mutterings behind the scenes from any players because you cannot say anything.
“Once that changes and you start losing games and pressure starts mounting, then the people that aren’t playing start being a part of the group that maybe affects the harmony.”
Playmaker Mesut Ozil has been left out of the Arsenal squad for the Premier League and Europa League although continues to train with the team.
Saliba, a £27million signing from Saint Etienne in 2019, has yet to kick a ball for the Gunners following a year on loan at his former club.
Over the weekend, the Frenchman made a comment on the Instagram page of midfielder Matteo Guendouzi about being ‘locked out’ at the club.
Guendouzi himself has been sent out on loan to Hertha Berlin this season after getting on the wrong side of Arteta, but remains in contact with his team-mates at his parent club.
Ferdinand says the trio’s continued presence is unhelpful and Arteta needs to make a decision soon regarding their futures.
“That’s why you either have to get rid of them and get them out of the building,” he added.
“Or you have got to keep that door ajar and let them know there’s an opportunity, so they don’t become bitter and they don’t become people that want to talk in the media.
“I think it’s down to Arteta to handle that. He has to handle the dilemmas of the changing rooms.”
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