Unai Emery is a good appointment. He’s got experience, he knows Europe, he’s done well in the Europa League, and he’s managed big players at PSG. It was the right angle to go for. He was first choice as well – that’s what the guys have told me at Arsenal. He was never in the betting but he was obviously on their list of people who, if available, they were going to go for him.
People were talking about Mikel Arteta, but I think they wanted to interview everyone just to make sure they got the right man.
It’s a really tough job to take after Wenger. We know what happened at Man United when Sir Alex left – it doesn’t always work out like that so it’s a massive season for Arsenal. I’m on the pre-season tour so I’m really looking forward to going to Singapore with them and I can’t wait to see the training. Maybe there will be a bit more intensity and he’ll be a bit harder in training on them.
It’s also worth remembering that Emery is the head coach of Arsenal Football Club – he’s not the manager. The olden days would’ve always seen him be the manager and that was it; he makes the decisions. Now he’s the head coach, above him are the people that will be making decisions about players, contracts, et cetera.
He’s there to coach the squad. Let’s see how he does – a lot of clubs are going that way nowadays. Managers these days stay around for a while, then they move onto the next club and that’s how it is in football. You won’t get many Alex Fergusons or Arsene Wengers in the future because football’s changing all the time.
Arsenal have a decent squad of players. We’re going to lose a few and Jack Wilshere is the obvious one. At the end of the day Jack’s probably met the manager and has been told he’s not first choice at the moment. You’ve got to respect people who want to play football on a regular basis, especially now that he’s 26. I’ve got no problem with that.
I would’ve loved him to stay but managers have always got their own opinions on players. If I was in that position I’d probably play Jack. But if Emery’s manager, you’ve got other players in front of you. That is why football is so great because everyone has different opinions.
But Jack will go somewhere and one club will get very lucky because he’s got a lot to offer. The talk is about whether he will go to Europe and play out there but I think his family are very important to him, he’s got two children with his last partner. That might be a little bit awkward so I think Jack will stay in London and play in the Premier League and wherever that will be, they’re going to get a good player.
Other transfer business
In terms of potential players coming in, there’s talk of Banega and a few others but the World Cup is so important there’s not going to be any big deals announced during it.
The day it finishes there will be so many deals done. I’m expecting a lot of activity around the 15th July. That’s when it gets serious. The guys go back to training and will be looking ahead to the first game.
Stephan Lichensteiner, who Arsenal have already brought in, is experienced. He’s a leader and he’s obviously played in great teams at Juventus. He’s captained Switzerland as well so he’s probably a character they need at the moment. We’ve lacked a leader over the last two or three years so maybe he’s the one for the dressing room and to be important in that situation.
Bellerin might learn from him as well, so you can’t knock those sort of signings. He’s 34 but he looks after himself and he played 30-odd games for Juventus last season and they’re a top side so he can’t be that bad.