by Lewis Ambrose
Arsenal confirmed on Wednesday that Abou Diaby and four Academy graduates have left the club with their contracts expiring at the end of June.
It is also understood that Mikel Arteta’s contract was up but, despite no official word on an extension, he doesn’t appear to have been released.
The Arsenal captain managed just 12 first-team appearances last season, but has spoken about his desire to remain at the club.
Speaking before the FA Cup semi-final win over Reading in April, Arteta said:
“My only aim is to get back fit and try to perform on the pitch. As long as I do that I am sure that I will continue with this club, with the relationship I have with the club and the respect I have from everybody here.”
“If I don’t do that then I am not going to be here because I don’t want to be somewhere where I cannot perform at my best and give what I think I can give.”
“In May, when everything is fine, we will sit down and talk and it will take five minutes.”
Which begs the question: Has a deal been signed but not yet announced?
Arteta has made 136 appearances for Arsenal since arriving from Everton in 2011 and with his experience, composure and intelligence still appears to be very important to manager Arsène Wenger.
The midfielder hasn’t played since November but was training again at the end of the season, with the team performing well and striking a good balance Wenger’s opted against the risk of slotting his captain back in.
With pre-season just around the corner it remains to be seen how fit Arteta is, but the result of that will probably determine how centrally Wenger plans with him next season.