Once again, rumours that Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta could leave for Manchester City have reared their head and it looks more likely than ever.
The Arsenal captain has barely featured this season thanks to a number of injuries but is still valued at the club as an exceptional leader.
During his time in the team as a regular from 2011-2014, Arteta led by example and showed incredible tactical intelligence on the pitch. It’s something Arsenal have missed in midfield since then but there’s little doubt the Spaniard can use those qualities to have a career in coaching.
Arsène Wenger himself has admitted as much but the boss isn’t doing too much to keep Arteta in north London, admitting there isn’t a role for him and conceding he could join Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium.
“It’s possible. It’s true that he’s out of contract here. It’s a good opportunity for me to thank him for his contribution not only as a player but as well as a leader,” Wenger said on Friday morning. “I heard about that possibility but I don’t know.”
Though Arteta has hardly featured for the Gunners this season – his last appearance came in January – the manager still believes he can play at the top level.
“He’s free to decide what he wants. Does he continue to play? I still think he can play: in the last months he’s come back to a very good physical level and he’s in a position today still to continue to play. He would still be a very good player everywhere.”
Arsenal have given a number of players, Arteta included, the opportunity to study at London Colney as they work towards their coaching badges but very few tend to stay in north London.
You could imagine that there is an ambition to broaden their horizons but, simply, Wenger says he doesn’t have the space amongst his staff. Could Arteta stay at Arsenal this summer? Probably not.
“I don’t rule it out but it’s always the same: you want your former players to be at the club but you need positions. You cannot create artificial positions.
“If we had positions you always give a good chance to the players who played here. Let’s not forget I’ve given the opportunity to many many players to (earn) their license here, to educate them and after that maybe to coach someone else.
“We always open the door for them to be educated and after we need positions sometimes to offer them a job.