‘Arsenal must replace underperforming boss Mikel Arteta with Diego Simeone’

STAN COLLYMORE: Arsenal missed out on qualification for European football for the first time in 25 seasons under Mikel Arteta while they began this season with a loss at Brentford

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Arteta welcomes Odegaard back to Arsenal after club complete permanent move

Mikel Arteta isn’t the man to sort out Arsenal – they need a spiteful, nasty winner to take over at a club that’s too nice for its own good.

There’s no point pussyfooting around the issue anymore, they should go and get the Prince of the Dark Arts.

Step forward, Diego Simeone.

English football would sit up and take notice and, more importantly, so would the Gunners dressing room.

The Argentine would have one goal: Win.

Simeone could be the benign dictator that Arsene Wenger was. He could be in charge of recruitment – instead of the current muddled mess – and get them back near the top. At the moment, it’s all so damn ‘nice’.

Diego Simeone led Atletico Madrid to last season’s La Liga title

Arteta’s a nice bloke at a nice club with nice players. It’s the biggest insult I can throw at them. It suits them to a tee.

Everyone at Arsenal is nice. You’d like to play against them, the training facilities are great, the stadium is wonderful, the players compliant.

The players need a stick. Not a juicy carrot.

They need to develop backbone, character, and a winning mentality. It’s been lost. And it’s been lost for a long time.

Being honest, I’d have shown Arteta the door at the start of the summer and made the change. There’s nothing I’ve seen to suggest he’s the real deal.

As it is, he should be given until the next transfer window. If Arsenal are still nowhere near the top five – and they won’t be – then a serious move should be made for the Atletico Madrid boss.

He may not come. But if you made it worth his while he’d certainly think about it. I mean, how long does the board at the Emirates leave it before they decide this project just isn’t working?

I don’t see any leaders. I don’t see any elite warriors.

Martin Odegaard has been added to the squad from Real Madrid this week. Surprise, surprise – another nice guy. But he isn’t going to take them to the promised land. Not a prayer.

The club appears to be working towards a plan where the likes of the Norwegian – along with Emile Smith Rowe, Bukayo Saka and Kieran Tierney – will all develop and hit a sweet spot in a couple of years that will see Arsenal push into the top four.

All very well and good if you’re working inside a bubble.

But what do the Gunners’ decision-makers think the likes of top-four challengers Leicester City, improving West Ham or monied Aston Villa are going to be doing in the meantime?

Twiddling their thumbs? Everton will be there or thereabouts this season. Leeds have made progress. And we’ve not even mentioned the rest of the breakaway European Super League cartel that threatened to wreck English football not so long ago.

Are Arsenal really hoping the collection of individuals they’ve recruited during the close-season is going to get them into the top four?

They have backed Arteta and signed Aaron Ramsdale – by the way, they missed a trick letting go of Emi Martinez, who has since been brilliant in goal for Aston Villa – but Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United have all spent money on A-listers, not wannabes. The Gunners are hoping, fingers crossed, that Smith Rowe, Saka, Tierney, Ben White and Ramsdale come good. To me, it’s middling. Average.

If they appointed Simeone tomorrow, everybody in the game would say: “Watch Arsenal go now.”

They Gunners would have 60,000 people behind them in the stadium, they’d be playing to a plan, with a nasty streak and showing some bottle.

This current set-up is a mirage.

It’s an attempt to play their way to greatness. It ain’t gonna happen.

The board have to say now that they are going to give Arteta a benchmark – and if he doesn’t cut the mustard, he needs to go.

From where I’m sitting, Arsenal aren’t in danger of being left behind – they already have been.

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