Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta believes his side deserved to be in contention to compete in the now-disbanded European Super League. The Spaniard thinks that Arsenal have enough history and tradition to be recognized as one of the top sides in the continent.
Arsenal were one of 12 teams to join the European Super League as founding members. They were joined by five other Premier League sides, three Spanish and three Italian teams.
However, after backlash from the media and fans alike, nine teams withdrew from the competition, including all English sides.
Arteta defends Arsenal's invite to the European Super League
Fans on social media suggested Arsenal weren't deserving of a place in the competition fought between top European clubs. The Gunners haven't lifted a league title since 2004 and have never tasted European success in their 134-year history.
However, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was quick to defend his club's stature. The Spaniard said:
"We are one of the best clubs in the world, and we could not be any prouder to represent this club, its history, and we totally understand the demands and the excellence that we have to be pursuing."
Arteta, who guided his team to an FA Cup win against Chelsea in 2020, suggested that Arsenal have all the right values and traditions to be called a big club, despite their limited success on the pitch. He added:
“You cannot deny the history, and that history is attached to results, it’s attached to a certain way of doing things, to certain values, to representing those in the right manner, to having the amount of support and love that we have around the world."
Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke issued an apology following the ESL debacle. However, Arsenal fans who were already against their owners are now even more vocal about getting him out of the club.
Mikel Arteta defended the fans and said that they are the lifeline of any football team, regardless of the club's stature. When asked about the importance of fans, Arteta said:
“I think this has given big lessons and it shows the importance of football in the world."
“And it shows that the soul of this sport belongs to the fans - and that’s it. During this pandemic, for a year, we have been trying to sustain this industry with no fans in the stadium."
Although Arsenal's owners have apologized to the fans, Josh Kroenke has suggested that there will be no change in ownership. Arsenal fans have been upset with their owners for quite some time now. Kroenke has prioritized his NFL team, the Los Angeles Rams, in recent history. This has led to a lack of investment and commitment shown towards Arsenal.