Rio Ferdinand questions how long Arsenal board will accept silver medals under Mikel Arteta

Steven Chicken
Mikel Arteta looks gutted
Arsenal have enjoyed something of a renaissance under Mikel Arteta

Rio Ferdinand has hailed Mikel Arteta for restoring belief and direction to a wayward Arsenal – despite the Gunners’ disappointment at missing out on the Premier League trophy.

Manchester City’s victory over West Ham United rendered Arsenal’s own win against Everton irrelevant on the final day of the season, with Pep Guardiola’s side claiming their fourth successive Premier League title by finishing two points above their title rivals.

Rio Ferdinand: “You can tell there’s belief in Arsenal now”

Speaking on TNT Sports after watching Arsenal’s victory, former Manchester United captain Ferdinand said of the Gunners: “This was a club I think lacking in belief, any ideas of where they were going, for a long period of time. I think he’s brought a lot of that back.

“He’s stabilised this place, he’s helped play a huge part in that, and he’s got the fanbase completely believing, completely aligned to the objectives that are set ahead.

“Yes, they’ve not hit some of the targets that they would have wanted this season, but I think been there seedlings of progression with this football club and they all want to stay.

“They’ve got one of the youngest teams in this Premier League at the moment, but they’re not going anywhere. This team is going to grow and grow – they’re going to have to add pieces to it still to improve it – but you can tell there’s a belief in this stadium now.

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“You walk around London now, around the country, and Arsenal fans have got a spring in their step. They’re having a banter now where they were the butt of the banter before. That’s a big shift and a big change.

“I think they’re going in the right place and Arsenal fans will be pleased with where they are – yes, disappointed today, but when the dust settles, I think they’re going in the right direction.”

Ferdinand added: “They could have great performances consistently on an elite level, but it will all pale into insignificance if in four-five years, maybe at the end of Mikel Arteta’s tenure, if they haven’t got big trophies here. They need to get the trophies to go alongside what they’re building now.

“That’s the million-dollar question: how long are the hierarchy going to allow for this to be the case? If Pep stays and he’s here for another two or three years, it’s going to take a huge effort like we’ve never seen before to get over the line before Man City to win the Premier League.

“So I don’t know how long it lasts, being a good second place runner-up, and how long you last doing that.

“But he couldn’t have put this place in a better place now, considering where he came in and where they were at at that time. This club were in disarray.”

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