Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta has said Arsene Wenger can dictate the timing of his return to the club and that he wants the Frenchman “close to me” in a more official capacity.
Wenger’s 22-year reign as Arsenal boss ended in 2019, officially by mutual consent, but he later said the manner of his exit “was not my decision” given at the time of he still had a year left on his contract.
Arsenal have failed to qualify for the Champions League in their last two seasons, but his successor Unai Emery only lasted 18 months before being replaced by Arteta.
During the recent international hiatus, Arteta attended the premiere of the movie “Arsene Wenger: Invincible” and the Spaniard said: “Well we’ve been on a call. I saw him and spoke to him when we went to see the movie and it was amazingly nice to see him and chat with him and hopefully we can bring him closer.
“I think he would have a great time just seeing the environment he can create around him when he’s in this place because of the respect, admiration and love that everyone at the club a for what he has done and also for what he has done. represents as a person in this club. “
Asked by ESPN about the specific role that would be given to Wenger, Arteta replied, “I can’t tell you now. But what I can say is I wish he was much closer to me. personally because I think it would be a big help, it would be a big help for the club.
“Things take time and I think he has to dictate those times. What I can say from my side and I think on behalf of everyone is that we would love to have him much closer. “
Wenger is employed by FIFA as Global Development Officer in an attempt to reform the football calendar and had previously been reluctant to return to his former club, saying in May of last year: “Would I go back to Emirates Stadium? I always thought to myself that I would leave Arsenal completely. That’s the decision that I took.”
Meanwhile, Arteta hinted Granite Xhaka could resume operations earlier than expected before the end of the year. The midfielder was initially ruled out until January with knee ligament damage suffered in September, but he has made good progress in the recovery and Arteta said: “I hope he will be back a little earlier than planned.
“He trains and pushes himself so hard and all the staff like he always does. He’s in a good position and he’s playing well. I hope we can get him a bit sooner. We have to see, it’s still a bit early to decide. “