Mikel Arteta has reiterated his desire for former boss Arsene Wenger to return to Arsenal, insisting the club would be “delighted to have him much closer”.
Wenger, 71, left Arsenal in 2018 after 22 years in charge and is now working as FIFA’s chief of global football development.
Arteta played under Wenger for five years before retiring in 2016 and moving into a coaching role at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola. He returned to Arsenal as head coach in December 2019.
Speaking ahead of his side’s home match against Newcastle in the Premier League on Saturday, Arteta said: “I spoke to him when we went to see the film (Arsene Wenger: Invincible). It was incredibly pleasant to see him and to chat to him.
“Hopefully we can bring him close because I think he would have a great time just seeing the environment that he can create around him when he’s around this place, because of the respect, admiration and love that everybody at the club has for what he’s done and for what he represents as a person in this club.
Asked about the role Wenger could take on at the club, Arteta replied: “I cannot tell you now, but what I can say is that I would like him to be much closer personally to me because I think he will be a great help.
“I think he will be a great help for the club. Things take time and I think he has to dictate those timings, but what I can say is that from my side and I think it on behalf of everybody, we would be delighted to have him much closer.”
Wenger: I could return to management
Wenger himself has not ruled out a return to football management, suggesting his next role could be in charge of a national team.
The Frenchman won three Premier League titles with the Gunners and the FA Cup on seven occasions, while also reaching the Champions League final and famously overseeing the Invincibles side of 2003-04.
He told Sky Sports News earlier this month: “I’m crazy enough to be crazy and to make a crazy decision, but I’m determined at the moment not to do it, maybe a national team at some stage.
“But at the moment I’m involved in projects with FIFA and I want to go to the end with it and that’s for me more useful now.”