Arteta leading the way in Arsenal's manager search but Gunners must strike balance between promise and much-needed experience
PUBLISHED: 11:34 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:34 16 December 2019
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Manchester City assistant and former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta is the leading candidate in the Gunners' search for a new first-team boss, but with the inexperienced Freddie Ljungberg floundering, experience is needed now more than ever.
Arteta is highly regarded in the game and at the Emirates, with the Spaniard close to getting the job in 2018 before a u-turn saw Unai Emery named as Arsene Wenger's successor, and he is now frontrunner to take over again.
But, with the Arsenal ship sinking fast and Freddie Ljungberg's inexperience showing, Arteta would have a massive job on his hands.
Apart from working under the brilliant Pep Guardiola for a number of years at City, there are few differences between Arteta and the current interim Gunners boss.
No managerial experience and no backroom staff, but an Arsenal man with plenty of promise as a coach, there is little to suggest much difference between the two.
It's clear that an established boss who knows the Premier League is needed, but Arsenal have to find the balance between experience and promise.
The likes of Carlo Ancelotti - who has been mentioned as a contender - would go too far one way, while Arteta would go too far the other.
Someone like Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone would change the ethos at the club, but a lack of Premier League experience and poor English would be a big problem.
The man seemingly best placed to strike the balance required is Eddie Howe.
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The Bournemouth boss might not be the most glamorous name out there, but he deserves huge respect for his work on the south coast.
Over two spells with the Cherries, Howe took the club from the brink of bankrupcy in League Two to the Premier League in just seven years, going on to establish them as a top flight side despite a limited budget.
A young manager with plenty of promise. his Bournemouth side are good going forward and solid at the back, playing with a fight and spirit that Arsenal could certainly do with now.
They've also taken big six scalps over the years both home and away, beating the Gunners, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham at least once.
Howe might not have the experience of managing a top side, but neither did Guardiola when he took over at Barcelona, nor did Wenger or Jose Mourinho when they were given roles as Arsenal and Chelsea.
The 42-year-old does have all-important Premier League experience though, and with his best years ahead of him, he still has plenty of promise.
Howe seems to have the balance that the Gunners need to turn things around in the short-term while building a project long-term - something which he has done better than most.
As with any manager his appointment would be a risk, but it would be a brave call without being overly foolish.
As for Arteta he could prove the doubters wrong, but entering the bear pit that is Arsenal right now would be a daunting task for such an inexperienced manager.
Now is not the time for taking such a huge risk on promise and potential.