Mikel Arteta has opened the door to Arsene Wenger’s return to Arsenal, claiming it would be a “huge boost” for the club.
Wenger left the Gunners in 2018 after 22 years as manager and now works as chief of global football development at FIFA.
The Frenchman is yet to return to the Emirates to watch a match and has cut all ties.
But Arteta says he would like Wenger to be “more present”.
“I think he set a different tone at the club and there are things that are still there,” Arteta told Sky Sports News.
“I would like to recover a lot of things that he did and I would like him to be more present at the club.
“I think the players would love him, they will benefit, they will be inspired to have him around and I think for the club it would be a huge boost.”
Asked if that was an invitation to Wenger, Arteta said: “I always told him. Sometimes you need your time.
“It was so intense for him for over 20 years and you need to get away a little bit, but I think it would be so beneficial for all parties to have him more present.”
Arteta’s comments came just 24 hours after former Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein, who brought Wenger to the club before exiting in 2007, criticised the Gunners for letting him leave.
“Without being too critical of anybody, I think the club made a huge mistake,” said Dein, who was speaking at an event for the Twinning Project at the London Palladium.
“As the song goes, there’s only one Arsene Wenger. They should have found a place for him within the organisation, make him chairman, make him whatever it is.
“And I think what rankles is the fact that personally, and I will say this openly, that whoever made the decision didn’t think he was good enough for Arsenal, but yet he is good enough to be head of global football development for the world. Frankly, I don’t understand it.
“If it was not for him I would not be in the position I am today and I wouldn’t have enjoyed the career I had.
“He was very good at being able to transmit what a football club meant into the players and he put different question marks on me. That is why I started to study and take coaching much more seriously.”