Mikel Arteta backs Arsenal’s owners: ‘they are fully committed’
Arsenal boss ‘is sure they will do anything to bring the fans closer to them’
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is hopeful a strong statement from the club’s owners will end speculation surrounding a potential takeover bid from Spotify founder Daniel Ek. Photograph: PA
Ek, the co-founder of Spotify, intends to test the Kroenkes’ resolve with an offer for Arsenal early next month and has the backing of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira and Dennis Bergkamp. The Kroenkes released a statement on Tuesday saying they would not entertain any approach and Arteta, who has spoken with them in recent days, said nothing had changed his own view that they are the right people to take the club forward.
Arteta added that supporters would be “surprised” by what they found if they were given a rare chance to interact with his employers.
“They showed their commitment to the football club and their ambition to the football club, because we all want a successful team on the pitch, and I think it was very clear and it took any doubts out of the situation,” the manager said.
“I said from the beginning what my perception was, everything I sense, all the communication I have with them, and they are fully excited and committed to this project and they really want to push everybody to do what we want to do.”
The involvement of three revered former players in Ek’s party has aroused excitement among fans but Arteta said the bottom line was that the Kroenkes are intent on returning Arsenal to Europe’s top tier.
“I cannot control the speculations and what is going on,” he said. “What I like to know and talk about is the reality, and the reality is we have owners who are really, really committed and want a successful team on the pitch and they’re going to do everything they can to achieve that. This is what we have and I feel fully supported with them.”
The director Josh Kroenke last week expressed a willingness to build bridges with supporters and Arteta said enhanced communication between fans and the Arsenal owners, whose relationship has been virtually nonexistent over the past decade, could prove beneficial.
“If we all feel that it’s necessary and that it would be helpful, I’m sure they will do anything to bring the fans closer to them,” he said. “If they get the opportunity to know them I think most of them will be surprised. And if that’s the case I think it would benefit everyone at the football club: it would benefit the fans and bring a lot of clarity. So if there’s a way to do that and it’s going to be helpful, let’s do it if that’s what it’s necessary.”
Amid the turbulence that has circled Arsenal in the past week, Arteta has been preparing his players for a season-defining Europa League semi-final with Villarreal. Realistically they must win the competition if they are to play European football next season and they play the first leg in Spain on Thursday against a side managed by his predecessor, Unai Emery.
Arteta may be able to select from a full-strength squad. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has recovered from malaria and Alexandre Lacazette is back after a hamstring problem. More surprisingly, Kieran Tierney could be fit after working to overcome a knee injury that was expected to sideline him until mid-May. Tierney has been “working like a beast every single day”, Arteta said. - Guardian