The former Gunners striker would’ve opted for the ex-Juventus head coach to replace Unai Emery but he has been pleased with the progress made recently
Former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell admits he had been hoping to see Massimiliano Allegri appointed at Emirates Stadium, but he has been impressed by the opening weeks of Mikel Arteta’s reign.
The Gunners decided to make a change in the dugout back in November 2019, with Unai Emery ushered through the exits.
Freddie Ljungberg took over on an interim basis as the search for a permanent appointment was carried out.
Another Spaniard was eventually lured to north London, with former Arsenal captain Arteta handed the first managerial role of his career.
Campbell concedes that he would have favoured a more experienced option, with a former Juventus boss considered to have been the pick of those available.
The ex-Gunners frontman told talkSPORT: “I’ll be honest with you, [Arteta] wasn’t my first choice.
“I went for the Allegri thing because of the way he sets his team up and the discipline of his teams.
“Arsenal lacked so much discipline before then that I just wanted someone to come in and bolt this thing down and get defensive again and not conceding goals.”
While admitting that he would have overlooked Arteta, Campbell says there have been encouraging signs of progress at Arsenal amid all too familiar struggles for consistency.
He added: “When Arteta came in I said ‘I’m going to give him a chance, definitely, let’s see what he can do’.
“And I’ve been really impressed, from his first interview where he said there’s no easy rides and there’s some things you have to do, the players have to do, you have to run, you have to tackle, you have to love the shirt and we have to build a bond with the fans.
“That for me as an Arsenal fan meant a lot. These are the basics but you think it’s normal – it isn’t normal, especially in that Arsenal team.
“So I’m really impressed with what Mikel Arteta’s doing, Arsenal are now playing on the front foot, he’s improved a lot of the players so far, the much-maligned defence is even keeping some clean sheets, which is fantastic for us.
“Two clean sheets, it was none before! So give me some clean sheets and I’ll take it.
“But the point I’m trying to make is he is actually making these players that were underachieving better.
“They still need addressing, I still think there’s stuff that needs to be addressed. Bringing this Pablo Mari in I think is excellent business.”
Arsenal currently sit 10th in the Premier League table, 10 points adrift of the top four, and will return to action after their winter break on Sunday when they take in a home date with Newcastle.