Mikel Arteta has revealed what Unai Emery said to him before he took over the job as Arsenal manager in December 2019.
Despite taking the Gunners to the Europa League final at the end of his first season in charge, the former PSG and Sevilla boss was sacked just six months later following a two month winless run in the Premier League.
Emery will now be reunited with his old club when his Villarreal side host them in the Europa League semi final at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Thursday night.
However, despite being sacked so early into his time in north London it appears the 49-year-old has little ill-will to Arsenal and even reached out to his successor to offer some advice before he took over the role.
“He was very honest, very open and I was grateful because it’s not something very, very common,” said Arteta when describing what was said in the phone call between the two.
“But I know a lot of people that work with him, a lot of people that have been around him and they all say the same thing that as a person he’s a fantastic man.
“Obviously he’s a great manager, but they highlight the man behind it as well and who he is.
“In that situation, because it came from him, which is unusual, I was surprised and I was grateful as I said.”
Arteta also went on to praise Emery’s work at Arsenal despite the fact that he was sacked after just under 18 months in charge.
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“Well it didn’t work for him but he did a lot of good things at the club,” said the Spaniard of his compatriot’s time in the dugout at the Emirates.
“In the time that he had here he reached a European final, he had a team competing for the Champions League.
“The club decided to go a different route and that’s it. I think he did a lot of good things as well.”