Arsenal have announced the appointment of former Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta as their new head coach.
The 37-year-old Spaniard, a former Gunners captain, has agreed a three-and-a-half-year contract to succeed Unai Emery, who was sacked last month. After agreeing to take his first step into management, Arteta told the Arsenal website: “This is a huge honour. 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 (owner and club director, respectively) 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.”
Arteta played more than 100 times for Arsenal – his final club before retiring. He joined City’s coaching staff in 2016 and will now embark on his first managerial post at his old club. Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to City increased the need for the Gunners to end the uncertainty over the manager’s position, leaving the club as close to the relegation zone as they are to the top four. Interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg replaced Emery but has won just one of his four Premier League games at the helm, while the club are on a run of only one win from their last 12 fixtures.
When Arteta’s old side City beat Arsenal at the weekend, the former Everton midfielder was in the dugout alongside Guardiola. Talks started afterwards with Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham pictured outside Arteta’s house in the early hours of Monday morning. Head of football Raul Sanllehi said the club had interviewed other names before opting to pursue Arteta.
“We met several top-class candidates and Mikel stood out to every single one of us as the perfect person for us,” he said in a club statement.
“Mikel understands Arsenal Football Club and what it means to our fans around the world. We look forward to him getting down to work and bringing the best out of our squad as we work to get our season back on track.”
It is understood that negotiations regarding compensation between City and the Gunners saw proceedings extend into Friday before Arteta was eventually confirmed. He will face the media at the Emirates on Friday evening, but watch on from the stands on Saturday when Arsenal visit his old club Everton as Ljunbgerg once again takes the team.
It remains to be seen who will be appointed to Arteta’s backroom staff and it is unclear if Ljungberg will drop back down to an assistant’s role or leave the club.