On Monday, Mikel Arteta began working for his new club, Manchester City, and subsequently deleted all evidence of him ever playing for Arsenal off of his social media.
The former midfielder who, up until a couple of months ago, was Arsenal captain and a favourite at Daily Cannon, has erased us like an ex-partner he’s trying to move on from. Gooners were upset – to say the least – but do we actually have a right to be? Furthermore, do we have a right to brand the Spaniard a snake?
Arteta joined City because, although we offered him a position at London Colney, it wasn’t anywhere near what Pep Guardiola offered him. If you really want to kick-start your career as a coach and the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss is asking you to practically be his right-hand man, what would you do, honestly?
Not once, has Arteta ever said he’s never coming back. While I don’t believe he will, he’s not completely sworn allegiance to the Sky Blues – there is a chance he could gain experience managing at the top level and return.
I’m sure if Wenger had offered him a similar role, it would have been harder to say no to.
His parting statement, which he released in typical Arsenal style via his social media, was very respectful and full of admiration for the club. This, along with his emotional reaction after his final match for us, shows that he really does love the club. I don’t think this has magically changed.
Hi all, here a statement from me on the next chapter in my football career… pic.twitter.com/2Xb9VifCog
— Mikel Arteta (@m8arteta) July 3, 2016
Nothing about the way Arteta has conducted himself says that he harbours any bitterness about not still being with Arsenal – quite the opposite. Therefore, him deleting all his Arsenal-related pictures from his Instagram will be nothing to do with giving us the finger or pretending as if he was never with us. It’s not sticking the knife in. It’s wanting to be taken at face value at a new job, with a new club, during a new chapter of his life.
He clearly wants to move on and be happy in this new venture. He’s no longer a player; it’s not a question of loyalty because Arteta is the man who took a pay-cut from Everton to come to Arsenal when we most needed him. He proved himself time and time again, even when his fitness wasn’t quite up to scratch and it became clear that he would move on at the end of the season, player after player hailed his leadership off the pitch.
Don’t let someone’s action on something as silly as social media cloud your perception of what matters.
For all we know, City might have it written into his contract that he had to delete anything to do with his former clubs. Who knows. What’s more likely is that mentally, he needed to make that distinction between his career as a player and career as a coach.
Do we have a right to be upset? Of course. I would never try and take away someone’s right to feel hurt or even annoyed about something, even if it is out of our control. My stomach dropped when I first saw the news. However, having the right to feel a certain way is one thing, it’s how we react to it that matters. Hurling abuse or branding him a snake isn’t the best way of dealing with something which, at the end of the day, really isn’t worth getting dramatic about.
I for one wish Mikel all the best in his new life. I’m sure he’ll be brilliant and maybe we’ll one day meet again.
— Mikel Arteta (@m8arteta) July 25, 2016