George Graham backs Mikel Arteta but identifies ‘problem’ for Arsenal boss

Arteta's side are struggling this season
Arteta’s side are struggling this season (Picture: Getty Images)

George Graham is a fan of Mikel Arteta but believes the Arsenal boss may run into problems if the club can’t back him with mega-money signings.

The Gunners have endured a poor start to the campaign and are in 14th place in the table after losing five of their opening 10 Premier League games.

The pressure is beginning to pile on Arteta just four months after he guided his side to FA Cup glory in his first ever season as a manager.

Graham managed the Gunners for nine years
Graham managed the Gunners for nine years (Picture: Allsport/Getty Images)

But former Arsenal manager Graham insists that despite poor recent results, the Spaniard has been a success at the Emirates.

‘I like Arteta. When you think about it he’s taken them to Wembley, he won the FA Cup. He’s done a good job,’ Graham told The Herald.

‘Arteta’s career is very similar to my career. He’s worked with one of the best coaches [Guardiola] for three or four years. If he is a good pupil, he should be learning how Guardiola coaches and he should be picking up ideas all the time, with that period that he had under Guardiola.

‘But the only thing I will say is, sometimes you are doing it with lesser players, not as good as the top ones. I think he has done a good job. There’s a big hiccup just now but they’re losing by the odd goal, they are not getting hammered. He’s stopped that.’

Arteta was given one of his top priority transfer targets back in the summer when the club activated midfielder Thomas Partey’s £45million release clause.

But Arsenal have typically been behind the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea when it comes to spending power in recent seasons.

And Graham questions whether the north Londoners can afford to splash out on world class talent, which he feels could hinder Arteta’s ability to take them back to the top.

‘[Arteta’s] stamped his authority on the club and the playing side but maybe the problem they have got is can they afford to get one or two players who are fantastic and they’re going to cost them money – £50m, £60m, maybe £80m,’ Graham added.

‘Can they go out and buy a couple of players at £80-odd million? That is maybe a problem.’

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