Ian Wright welcomes the news of Unai Emery's appointment but calls Arsenal's treatment of former captain Patrick Vieira disgraceful
Ian Wright says he was “shocked” but “very happy” to see Unai Emery appointed as Arsenal head coach on Wednesday.
Emery, who led Paris Saint-Germain to a domestic treble last season, has been chosen as Arsene Wenger’s successor after the French club opted to swap him for Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Tuchel last week.
Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta was thought to be favourite to land the job, but Sky Sources understand he was ruled out following disputes over control of the club’s transfer policy.
“I’m very pleased with that,” Wright told Sky Sports. “Obviously it came as a bit of a shock.
“I feel everybody was getting ready to digest Arteta, even though he is inexperienced when it comes to the level we are going to need. But Emery – very happy with that.
“I think it’s a massive, massive decision they had to make. As much as I’ve given them stick, I still have to commend them on hopefully getting the right guy because it’s a job I wouldn’t want to do. Replacing Arsene Wenger after 22 years is a massive job in itself.
“We need our players competing and fit – and with a different mindset from what they’ve had in recent years.
“I’m not sure what his transfer budget is going to be. It looks like he’s going to have to do a lot of work with what he’s got.”
When asked if he was surprised by the appointment, Wright said: “Well it did and that’s the problem that I had.
“I think there’s been a lot of time to sort this out. I think it’s easily been known for a couple years that Arsene Wenger was getting to the stage that he’d be retiring.
“You would’ve thought all these things would’ve been taken care of – they would’ve sought these people out, spoken to all them and found out what their packages were.
“It’s only been two weeks where we’ve spoken about Luis Enrique and so many other people.”
Piers Morgan says Arsenal fans should get behind new manager Unai Emery, who is the man the club have needed for years
Another former Arsenal player, William Gallas, also expressed his surprise at Emery’s Arsenal arrival but thought the role should have gone to Patrick Vieira or Thierry Henry – who were both linked to the job.
New York City boss Vieira revealed last week that Arsenal had been in contact with him about the vacant position, which he described as a “token gesture” after being left disappointed.
“It was disgraceful the way that was handled,” Wright added. “You can’t phone up a legend like Vieira – for what? For tokenism? Was it the Rooney rule? It’s embarrassing.
“If you are going for Emery or Arteta, just go for them. Don’t go and give Patrick a phone call. How does Patrick feel now?”
“I don’t take anything away from the fact that we’ve got a new man. I’m really happy. Arsenal fans are really happy from what I’ve seen so far.
Pep Guardiola believes Unai Emery's record speaks for itself and says the former PSG coach is welcome in the Premier League
“Maybe the hierarchy got a put off by the fact that everybody felt that Mikel was a little bit too inexperienced.
“I’m quite excited because change has come now – we should all just get on board and back him.”
Emery has won eight major trophies across Europe’s top five leagues since 2013/14 – the same amount as Man City boss Pep Guardiola – who welcomed the Frenchman to the Premier League.
Emery has faced Guardiola ten times, but he has lost all of their previous meetings. He has also lost all five of his previous meetings against Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho.