• ‘Arsenal made a mistake appointing Emery’ – Lehmann

    Arsenal “made a mistake” in appointing Unai Emery as manager, says Jens Lehmann, with a Spanish coach who spoke little English always destined to fail and waste the “big present” handed to him.

    The Gunners found themselves in the market for a new head coach during the summer of 2018.

    Club legend Arsene Wenger had taken the decision to walk away from a role in north London that he had occupied for 22 years – delivering three Premier League titles along the way.

    Former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain boss Emery was entrusted with the responsibility of guiding Arsenal into a new era.

    He lasted just 18 months, with no spark found at Emirates Stadium during a period of confused messages and inconsistent performances.

    Mikel Arteta was eventually taken back to familiar surroundings in December 2019, with a former club captain asked to get a fallen giant back on its feet.

    That project remains a work in progress, with the general consensus being that there are no quick fixes to be found on the back of recent struggles.

    Lehmann says Emery has to take his share of the blame for that, with the Gunners making the wrong choice when it came to appointing a man who knew little about the Premier League and was eager to sever ties with former players in his coaching team.

    “I was there as an assistant coach two years ago but then Arsene has left and they have changed the whole managerial team and I think they made a mistake by choosing the wrong guys,” Lehmann told Stadium Astro.

    “The people at the top sometimes don’t know what I know about football and they didn’t experience how to win things. So it’s not easy for them.

    “I think he wanted to bring his own staff who couldn’t even speak English.

    “Then a guy like me, who was a player for them, I think he just didn’t want us.

    “I think it was a big present to him that he was picked as a manager for Arsenal because I think he was not good enough because he had this lingual problem.

    “He may have some good ideas in Spanish but he never came across as being transferrable to English football.”

    Emery was given money to spend during his time at Emirates Stadium, but found little value in transfer dealings.

    That contributed significantly to his demise, with Arsenal left languishing in mid-table – a long way short of the top four and Champions League qualification – when he was ushered through the exits.

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