Possibly leaving Arsenal in the summer, could Mikel Arteta become the first captain since Sol Campbell to cross the north London divide?
The Arsenal captain’s current contract runs out at the end of the season and he doesn’t look set to sign a new one. Even though he is taking some training sessions with Arsenal youth teams and is highly thought of by Arsène Wenger, Arteta isn’t necessarily likely to stay with the Gunners just as a coach.
There are options for the midfielder, who may yet look to continue his playing career elsewhere.
If not, a coaching career surely beckons and there could be clubs who simply offer a better experience for an upcoming coach than Arsenal have provided in recent years. It may be telling that none of Wenger’s former players have gone on to have particularly successful careers on the touchline, though Dennis Bergkamp (assistant manager at Ajax) and Patrick Vieira (head coach at New York City FC after a stint with the Manchester City academy) are embarking on their careers now.
For Arteta, a move elsewhere is probably an attractive proposition and, if reports are to be believed, there are two real viable options.
One is supposedly Spurs. Mauricio Pochettino was an older figure in the Paris Saint-Germain side which Arteta featured in at the beginning of his career and, loathe as I am to say it, has done a fantastic job with our north London rivals this season. No manager has implemented a pressing game quite so well at an English club and it looks likely to lead to success, even if Spurs will have to settle for second place this season.
The other option is, of course, Manchester City, where Pep Guardiola will take over this summer. He and Arteta have similar views on the game and already know each other fairly well, having both come through the academy at Barcelona (albeit at different times).
There’s little questioning that these choices are both ones which Arteta would consider as he looks to move on in his career but would he really head to White Hart Lane? Straight from Arsenal?
If the 34-year-old doesn’t continue playing he could even take some time off but whenever he decides to take to the training ground Wenger will surely offer him a place? There’s just no guarantee it’ll be the best offer he receives.