Mikel Arteta says he will welcome Arsenal legends Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp as mentors to his young squad… but warns them if anyone spreads ‘poison’ about the team they will be ‘very far away’
- Mikel Arteta is open to welcoming Arsenal greats back to drive his team on
- A reunion of the 2003-04 Invincible squad helped inspire their current players
- But the manager has also warned that Gunners legends cannot spread ‘poison’
- He was speaking from a position of strength, having penned a deal until 2025
Speaking from a position of strength, having just signed his new contract which commits him to the club until 2025, Arteta is ready to welcome the Invincible legends back in and use them to inspire the next generation.
And though Arteta did not mention Henry and Bergkamp by name, he seemed to be referring to them after speaking about how the reunion of the 2003-04 Invincible squad at the Emirates last month at the 3-1 win against Manchester United had inspired the team and how those legendary players could be used in future as long as they do not spread ‘poison’.
Mikel Arteta says Arsenal club legends are welcome as mentors for his young players
But he has also warned them against spreading poison (Thierry Henry, L, Dennis Bergkamp, R)
A year ago, Bergkamp and Henry aligned themselves with Spotify owner Daniel Ek’s bid to buy the club and claimed that Arsenal had lost their DNA in its current guise. But after the United game last month, Bergkamp and Henry were invited to meet the players.
And it looks as though they could be reintegrated as part of the future of the club if they drop their association with Ek. Arteta said: ‘There are many, many more positives than negatives. I have always said that. And we had a great example with ex-players and what happened a few weeks ago at the Emirates [the Invincible reunion].
‘It was emotional, natural and organic and is just happening. Now hopefully they have realized that anyone who wants to contribute to what we’re doing, genuinely contribute, with advice or support or whatever, he’s more than welcome to come. Anyone who wants to poison the club, he’s going to be very far away from the club.
Bergkamp and Henry aligned themselves with Spotify owner Daniel Ek’s bid to buy the club
‘With the history that we have, if we don’t use it we are losing a big percentage and margin in relation to other teams. And we have that because we have so much success and incredible people and players in this football club history, and we have to encourage that to come back to the club to make us strong. And that’s my aim and club’s aim.’
Arsenal play Leeds today and have the north London derby against Spurs on Thursday and these games will go a long way to determining if they qualify for the Champions League.
And Arteta will not shy away from drawing on the Invincibles as a reference point for his young team, noting that they won the league at White Hart Lane in that 2003-04 season, as the Arsenal double winning side of 1970-71 also did. He has urged his players to use that as inspiration this week.
‘It is phenomenal, those experiences, how they won it,’ said Arteta. ‘How invincible they were. For this generation, it would be something incredible and hopefully we can do it naturally and with everybody feeling in the right place.’
Arteta will not shy away from drawing on the Invincibles as a reference point for his team