After Guardiola highlighted Mikel Arteta’s involvement in Raheem Sterling’s development, many fans are again asking the question why Arteta isn’t still here in North London.
The Spaniard spent half a decade with the Gunners, and retired last year, but instead of becoming a coach at Arsenal, he went to Manchester City.
Guardiola hasn’t spent too much time talking about his coach since then, as manager’s tend not to be asked for regular updates on their coaching staff, but this week he said: “Mikel Arteta is working many, many days after training sessions for the last action, for the control in the last moment. For his improvement, [Sterling] wants to stay there and shoot and improve with the goalkeepers.”
So why did he join City instead of sticking around with Arsenal?
Most fans would probably say the reason was the chance to work with fellow Spaniard, Guardiola, and that’s exactly the reason Mikel cited when he made the move.
He explained in a statement on Twitter: “The opportunity to join Pep Guardiola and his team was an amazing opportunity for me and I am incredibly excited for the future.
“Coaching has always been something I’ve been keen to go in to and over the past few years I’ve worked hard off the pitch as well as on it to develop my skills in order to put me in a position to be able to pursue a coaching role once I finished playing.”
Barcelona were Arteta’s first professional club, and ex-Barca player and manager Pep Guardiola was offering him the chance to step straight into a senior coaching position with City, so it’s not hard to see why he took it.
It doesn’t even appear that there was an Arsenal offer on the table for Arteta. If there was, it didn’t come early enough to convince Mikel before he got the call from Pep.
The Gunners appear to have learned from this, considering Per Mertesacker’s appointment as academy manager nearly a year before he’ll actually start the role.
At least, we can hope that is the case.