Freebets.com sat down with Arsenal Hero Emmanuel Frimpong to discuss his thoughts on the current Arsenal squad, their top four chances and the influence of Arsene Wenger.
What do you make of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang being stripped of his captaincy and do you think it was the right call?
I feel like in any profession there must be a professional attitude and we all know Aubameyang has had one or two problems with his discipline and turning up late, so I feel it was the right call.
He’s the captain and there has to be an example so the younger players in the squad can follow.
Do you think Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should still lead the line for Arsenal?
It’s up to Aubameyang – I think he still has so much to give to Arsenal moving forward. I have no doubt that when he comes back into the team, he’s going to show that he wants to be at Arsenal and that he’s the right man for the job.
Who do you believe should be handed the captain’s armband?
I would like Tierney to be the captain. I also really like Ben White. I think Ben white can become a future captain for Arsenal. Most likely it’s going to be Xhaka again which I’m not sure about as we’ve been there, done that. We need someone fresh. I would personally give it to Tierney for now.
Should Arsenal look to cash in on Aubameyang in January if he has no future?
Yeah, on the balance of play I think it would be good for Arsenal to cash in. Look at his age, he’s getting older, and we need a new striker that we can have for the next 5 years. He’s a great player but this is probably the best time to cash in. It will be difficult though, as he’s on very good wages. It’s not going to be easy to get him out.
What do you make of Arsenal this season, and can they finish in the top four?
Yeah, I feel not playing in the UEL and the UCL has helped Arsenal massively. It gives the players more time to recover, it gives Arteta more time on the training pitch and at the moment it’s looking good.
Arsenal’s problem has always been their away form. At home they’re an excellent side, they have the crowd cheering them on and they play really good football. But the problem is and always has been playing away from home.
I question how strong they are defensively and against the top sides they struggle. That’s why I think the top four will be difficult, but its looking good at the moment.
Is Mikel Arteta the right man to be in charge of the Gunners?
You can only judge him on what he’s done so far, and I feel he’s done a really good job. He’s won the F.A Cup.
But last season was a big disappointment. I know all managers go through disappointment and knowing Mikel personally, he always strives to be the best and achieve the best.
It will be a testing time throughout December but at present Arsenal are high in confidence and are churning out results.
Can Arteta get them winning the league?
I’m Arsenal fan but that’s too optimistic. Having said that and without sounding naïve, things can change very quickly though. Look at Chelsea last season under Lampard versus how they play now. I’m not saying they (Arsenal) should change managers, but things can change fast in football – one or two players and you’ve got a very strong team.
Who would be your dream arsenal signing and dream January transfer window?
I would like us to sign a striker. The dream signing would be Haaland, he’s a fighter, he scores goals, he motivates himself and he motivates those around him. For his age he has so much maturity, I’m a massive fan of his.
With Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny set to play in the Africa Cup of Nations, do you think Arsenal should sign Jack Wilshere on a short-term deal?
Why not? If it’s for a month to give him a chance to prove himself. Obviously, Jack is very close to Mikel, but it’s going to be a big ask for Jack as he’s not played all season.
To come straight back into the Arsenal team, that’s a lot of pressure. People will be looking at him, expecting him to deliver and I don’t think it’s fair to put that much pressure on anyone, no matter how good a player Jack is.
I’m not at the training ground but I’d expect him to be impressing in training – he’s still one of the most technically gifted and he’s as good as any midfield player within the current Arsenal squad. The only problem is him staying fit and injury free.
Bringing him in would be a smart move as he has so much to give to the younger players in terms of knowledge and experience.
Who would be your preferred signing to replace Alexandre Lacazette?
I like the striker from Fiorentina, Dušan Vlahović, I think he’s a very good player and he’d be my second choice, if we couldn’t get Haaland.
Bacary Sagna recently declared Samir Nasri as ‘crazy,’ what are your thoughts on him?
He’s a very hot and cold guy. He’s got a great personality, he’s funny but he can be a bit moody – like most people!
Do you believe that Arsene Wenger should be brought back to Arsenal? And what role should he be given?
There’s no need to bring him back. He’s been the best manager Arsenal have ever had and he deserves his time off. Mikel is doing very, very well considering the age of the squad we have.
I wouldn’t want to bring Wenger back as in life you always have to move on, and you can’t stick with one person and their ideas.
If Wenger could come back as a director of football, that might work but nothing else.
What did you make of Wenger’s comments about how he could have joined Madrid and other top European teams?
He was right to stay as if he’d have left, I probably wouldn’t have played for Arsenal!
Along with so many other young talented players, he gave them all a chance and I don’t know how he did it. He had youngsters playing in the Champions League, it was crazy.
A lot of players owe their careers to him. He was right to stay as he loved Arsenal. Too many these days follow the money instead of their heart and it causes them problems. He had a vision he wanted to accomplish, and it was good for everyone’s sake he got time to achieve that.
Do you think African players are getting deserved recognition for their outstanding performances in global football? Mo Salah coming 7th in the Ballon D’or seems unfair
I don’t think they do get the recognition. Salah at the moment is on another level. If he was English, he would have probably won the Ballon D’or by now. But that’s life and might give him even more motivation to work even harder.
What do you make of the kneeling before games? Do you think it’s effective and would you do anything differently?
I’m not totally convinced by it to be honest. I don’t really care about racism that much, it’s people’s thoughts. As long as they don’t abuse me to my face, they can talk behind my back.
You won’t ever be able to get rid of racism as that’s people’s personal view. Everyone’s had personal experiences, if I had been raised up in a racist house, I’d have grown up racist. It’s like living with Corona, you just have to find a way to live deal with it.
It’s obviously not nice having people abuse you in your face, but it’s going to take a while to fix that. But Kneeling won’t achieve anything. I think there is something that can be done and needs to be done, I’m just not convinced that kneeling is the way.
Do you have any plans to go into coaching and management? Who would be your dream club to manage?
I don’t have any immediate plans to get into coaching or management but as an Arsenal fan it would be a dream to manage them. Coming back to Arsenal and winning titles for them would be amazing.
I don’t think Mikel Arteta could have ever imagined he’d have been the manager of the club when he left but look at him now.
What do you make of the new breed of managers coming through like Lampard, Ole, Arteta?
I sometimes think it’s too easy for them. Lampard went to Derby and the next thing you know he’s managing Chelsea. Obviously, some of them are legends of their clubs but you need to hire based on experience and ability, not nostalgia.
Do you watch fan channels like Arsenal Fan TV and TroopzTV? If so, what do you think of those?
I like the idea of fans having opinions on players and voicing those opinions. Players these days can be too protected and if a player isn’t hitting form or going through a rough patch they need to come out and answer to the fans and say why they’re playing as they are.
Without fans there is no football team. Every club should have their own fan tv channels for proper debate.
Covid situation – How do you feel about mandatory vaccines for players?
Footballers are playing matches in squads of 25-30 and going up against 11 others, they are sharing changing rooms, they’re at different stadiums travelling all over so they have a responsibility to protect themselves and others. The Vaccine is approved so I don’t see why there is any hesitancy.
Quick fire questions:
Biggest career influence?
Alexander Song – he helped me so much at Arsenal
First football shirt?
Tottenham Hotspur! I had Les Ferdinand on the back, and I still have the picture on my phone. My mum was in the UK, and she sent it to me when I was in Ghana. I wore it to celebrate my birthday
First signing as a hypothetical manager and why?
Lewandowski because he guarantees goals.
Ballon d’Or winner 2022?
World Cup winner 2022?
Van Persie vs Charlton – the volley was amazing
Toughest team was Aston Villa, they were after me everywhere and the toughest individual was Modric
Favourite ground in football?
Anfield, always wanted to play there but never got the chance
If you could change one rule/law in football, what would it be?
I would get rid of Throw ins. If it goes out for a throw in, you can kick it out instead of throwing it back in.