Mikel Arteta says he would be keen for Arsenal’s owners, the Kroenke family, to engage with disgruntled supporters, and believes fans would be “surprised” if they got to know them.
Many Arsenal supporters have been calling for Kroenke – who, along with his son Josh, runs the club through his company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment – to sell following the Gunners’ involvement in the failed Super League.
Fans protested against the Kroenkes outside the Emirates Stadium ahead of last week’s home defeat to Everton, while Spotify co-founder Daniel Ek – said by friends to be an Arsenal “obsessive” – is keen to launch a takeover bid.
Ek is being backed by Arsenal legends Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira. However, the Kroenkes released a statement on Tuesday evening saying they “remain 100 per cent committed to Arsenal and are not selling any stake in the club”.
When asked whether he felt the Kroenkes reaching out to fans would help to build relations, Arteta said: “I don’t know if that will be the case.
“If we all feel that is necessary and will be helpful, I’m sure they will do anything it takes to bring the fans closer to them. If they get the opportunity to know them, I think most of them would be surprised.
“If that’s the case, I think that would benefit everybody at the football club. It would benefit the fans and it would bring a lot of clarity. So if there is a way to do that and it’s going to be helpful, let’s do it.”
Arteta revealed last week that Stan Kroenke had spoken to him to apologise for Arsenal’s role in the Super League, and the manager says he had further contact with the owner over his plans for the club.
“We spoke to them and I think it was very clear they showed their commitment to the football club, and they showed their ambition,” said Arteta. “We all want a successful team on the pitch.
“It took any doubts out of the situation, now we have a very clear and committed statement from the ownership. I think it is gone when they said what they said last night and showed their commitment and desire to take the team where we all want.”
Arteta reveals Emery talks before taking Arsenal job
The speculation over Ek’s potential bid for the club has dominated the build-up to Arsenal’s Europa League semi-final first leg away to Villarreal on Thursday.
The competition presents the Gunners’ only remaining chance of silverware this season, as well as their only realistic route back into Europe next campaign, given they are 10th in the Premier League.
Their clash with Villarreal will also see Arsenal reunited with Unai Emery, who spent 17 months at the Emirates before being replaced by Arteta in December 2019.
Arteta revealed he spoke to his counterpart before taking the job, saying: “I spoke to him a few times, because we have people in common, and then I spoke with him before I took the club.
“He offered me that opportunity, which is sometimes unusual, and he was sincere and open. I was very grateful for that.
“He was really helpful and a very, very experienced manager, in the Europa League especially. There are no doubts he has the tools and the knowledge to manage at the top level.”
Arsenal have been handed a boost with the news that captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, as well as Alexandre Lacazette and Kieran Tierney, “are in contention” to take on Villarreal.
Aubameyang has not played since April 8 after contracting malaria, while Tierney is set to return from a knee injury less than a month since his last appearance, despite initial fears that he could miss the rest of the season.
“He didn’t need the surgery that, at the beginning, we were afraid of,” Arteta explained. “Then he’s been working like a beast every single day.
“I don’t know if he’s going to make it tomorrow, but certainly he wants to be as close as possible to the football pitch to give himself the best chance.”