London, UK. 15th Jan, 2023. Bukayo Saka of Arsenal hugged by Mikel Arteta manager of Arsenal during the Premier League match at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London.

9 key Arsenal players explain Mikel Arteta’s influence: ‘He is next level’

Mikel Arteta has done a brilliant job in taking Arsenal from their lowest ebb into genuine challengers.

Don’t take our word for it, ask his players – most of the key figures in the Gunners dressing room would run through brick walls for their manager and credit him for improving them as players.

We’ve collated quotes from nine of Arsenal’s best players to tell the story of Arteta’s influence and impact at the Emirates.

Aaron Ramsdale

“As long as the right people believe in you, and they see how hard you work and what you can bring to a team, it doesn’t matter what the haters say. Mikel Arteta saw something special in me, and that’s all that mattered. I remember I met with him for the first time, he said, ‘Just be yourself.'” Ramsdale wrote in The Players Tribune.

“Maybe some people think we make a funny match, because he’s just unbelievably driven and might come across as serious. And I’m a lad who likes a joke. But for some reason, it just works.

“I remember him explaining to me that he wanted me to play a lot higher, and a lot more aggressive. And so every day in training, I would play higher, and more aggressive.”

William Saliba

“We spoke a bit at the beginning of the season. He was happy with what I did whilst on loan. He’s a very good coach, who really knows what he’s doing. He is clear in everything that he says,” Saliba told Canal Plus after returning to his parent club last summer.

“He has helped me integrate quickly into this system of play. Every day he gives advice to be better on the pitch. I came back here [to Arsenal] to impose myself and it’s nice to start well, as I have.”

Oleksandr Zinchenko

“When I arrived at Man City, he was ready to be the head coach since day one,” the Ukrainian told Sky Sports.

“Every single bit of his advice was so important – it was exactly what the player wants to hear, especially for the young players.

“After every single session, he used to work a lot with the young players and the exercises, talks and advice were so, so important. That’s the amazing quality he has.

“You can be a top [former] footballer, but you may not know what you should say or when you should say it. He’s got this quality.

“I’ve been surprised since I came to Arsenal. He’s obviously improved since I saw him the last time at City, he’s amazing. I hope and I have no doubt he is going to grow as a manager for sure.”

Declan Rice

“It’s crazy. I’m already seeing football in a completely different way,” Arsenal’s marquee summer signing told Sky Sports during pre-season.

“You think you know football growing up and when you play, but when you meet managers like Mikel, you realise you don’t really know anything. Of course, the way I played at West Ham is completely different to the way Mikel plays, so it’s gonna take some time to adapt. I’m really eager to learn, to improve, to ask questions..”

“Hopefully, once all that starts to click, Arsenal will be amazing and of course, I wanna go up a few levels which I know I can.”


“He reminds me a little bit of Sarri,” Jorginho told beIn Sports back in February.

“I am used to working with a manager that looks into the details.

“For me, details make the difference in the end between a good team and a winning team.

“I am sure, 100 per cent, that he worships [the details] so much. I’ve only been here a short time but I’m sure every day there is going to be something new and that’s why I’m so excited as well because I can see that I have so much to learn here.”

Martin Odegaard

“I spoke to Mikel Arteta on a Zoom call and he told me all about the project. At the time, Arsenal were not doing well. They were way down like 15th in the table, but that meeting … Honestly, I challenge anyone to come away from a meeting with Arteta and not believe everything he tells you,” the Gunners captain wrote in The Players Tribune.

“He is next level. It’s hard to explain. He’s passionate, he’s intense and sometimes, yeah, he’s a bit crazy … but when he speaks, you understand that whatever he says will happen, will happen.

“He told me his plan, everything he was building towards. He knew exactly what needed to change at the club. He told me all about these amazing young players in the squad — Saka, Martinelli, Smith Rowe, etc., etc. He told me how he wanted me to fit in and how I was going to improve.

“I got this strong feeling that he was onto something really special.”

Bukayo Saka

“Arteta knows a lot about football. He came in with a really clear plan. He has done it in a really progressive way, and he has given us opportunities – all of us,” Saka told Arsenal’s official website back in 2021.

“He has given us so much belief, not just that, but information, advice on how to improve.

“You can see that with the youngsters, they are not just coming in but they are coming in and making their mark, proving they can stay in the team.

“That’s a credit to him.”

READ: 8 times Bukayo Saka was the nicest man in the world: Charity, Tik Tok, Kim K…

Gabriel Martinelli

“He’s been brilliant,” Martinelli told FourFourTwo. “He pays a lot of attention to moves and keeps pushing me to improve my game; not only in attack but defence, too.

“The boss is very wise tactically and incredibly helpful. He’s not an angry guy at all, but likes showing you exactly what to do on the pitch: ‘If the ball goes that way, don’t stay here, go there and turn your body that specific way.’

“He has a keen eye for detail.”

Gabriel Jesus

“Well, in the beginning when we started to talk about the transfer it was with Edu and I knew already then that Mikel wanted me to come to join the club,” the Brazil international told football.london on his decision to join Arsenal in 2022.

“They showed me the project and everything about the club. Then they showed me some stuff about my statistics and I was so surprised. They want to me to come, to help, to improve as a player so yeah, that’s why I’m here.

“I’ve worked with [Arteta] at City so I know him a bit. He helped me a lot to improve my finishing after training sessions, that’s what I know about him. Then we talked a little bit before I joined and he explained to me the project and everything. That’s why. In life you always want to do everything with a reason, that’s why I came to try to help and to learn and to win with the team.”

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