Mikel Arteta signed a three-and-a-half year contract to take over as Arsenal’s new manager, the team announced on Friday. The Gunners lured the former captain back to the Emirates by offering him one of the Premier League’s biggest jobs. Arteta, 37, was an assistant coach for Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Arteta had been an assistant at City since 2016 and played five years at Arsenal after six years at Everton. A talented midfielder born in Spain, he was praised for how he smartly played the game and often served as captain. Arteta would be expected to bring a similar possession game to the Emirates as the Gunners aim to find some stability, while trying to figure out the leaky defense that has caught them countless points this season and was one of the main reasons the club failed to qualify for the Champions League.
“This is a huge honor. Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world. We need to be competing for the top trophies in the game and that’s been made very clear to me in my discussions with Stan and Josh Kroenke, and the senior people from the club.
“We all know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve that but I am confident we’ll do it. I’m realistic enough to know it won’t happen overnight but the current squad has plenty of talent and there is a great pipeline of young players coming through from the academy.”
Unai Emery was fired last month after a slow start to the season, which hasn’t been fixed under caretaker manager Freddie Ljungberg. The loss to City over the weekend appeared to be the final straw and was an example of why this team needs a proper manager with intensity and ideas. Whether that is Arteta remains to be seen as he’s never been a manager before and will now be in charge of one of the most valuable clubs in the world.
Here’s what Guardiola had to say about the hiring (via Man City’s website):
“Mikel has been an excellent coach for Manchester City. He has shown impressive dedication, hard work and knowledge of football during his time here and has been a real contributor to the Club’s achievements over the past years. We all wish him well in his new role; I am sure he is ready for it.”
The Gunners are currently in 10th place in the league with a 5-7-5 record and 22 points, sitting seven points back of the top four. Arsenal has won just one of its last 12 games in all competitions, beating West Ham a week ago.
Arsenal plays Everton on Saturday in Premier League action, and it will likely serve as Ljungberg’s final match as the caretaker coach. You can stream the match via fuboTV (Try for free).