Per Mertesacker says when Arsenal will return to the Champions League
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Per Mertesacker says when Arsenal will return to the Champions League

Former Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker has probably said what Gunners fans do not exactly want to hear.

Mertesacker, who these days works at Arsenal as one of the academy directors, believes that Mikel Arteta's team needs two or three years to taste UEFA Champions League football again.

The German international further encouraged patience with manager Mikel Arteta in what will be a major transformational change at the Emirates Stadium.

"Massive transition, that’s what I would class it as. I think it was clear when Arsene left the void that needed to be filled wouldn’t get sorted in a couple of seasons, or three to four years.

"You always want the shortcut, you know, bang straight back into the Champions League, straight back into being successful. I think even myself, realising and working now with the academy, going more long-term developmental, I think we see kind of similar-ish traits in the first team, and I hope that Mikel gets the time that he needs," he said on the Beautiful Game Podcast.

"I want to be successful tomorrow, I want to go back in the Champions League tomorrow, I want to speak to people and say 'listen, we have got the best club in the world who challenges for titles every single year'. That’s not the reality. I think the earlier we get on the train of we are in a big, big transition still [the better].

"To have sustainable success there needs to be some trust. I’m all for trusting people in people. If Mikel Arteta, and I perceive him to be the right person, let's give him the trust and the development squad that he can take to the next level that will achieve Champions League football, maybe in two or three years.

"From a club person, thats my take basically at the moment, because I’ve worked with Mikel very, very closely.

"I know how much he wants it, I know his work ethic, I know how intense the squad works at the moment to get to a better level. I think we all have to swallow disappointment at the moment, which I’m keen to change, but the environments that we are going to deliver in the next years will be key for our success.

"The stakes are very, very high, and I understand that there is a lot of criticism, but some people need to swallow that and try and grow with it, and Mikel is someone that does that," the former towering central defender concluded.

Meanwhile, Arsenal will take on lower-division minnows Wimbledon for an EFL Cup game midweek.

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