Arsenal appoints ex-captain Mikel Arteta as head coach

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Arsenal have appointed their former captain Mikel Arteta as head coach on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

The 37-year-old made 150 appearances for the Gunners between 2011 and 2016, and also won the FA Cup twice with the Gunners and succeeds fellow Spaniard Unai Emery, who was sacked in November.

Arteta had been working as a coach under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, joining the club in 2016 after retiring as a player.

“We need to be competing for the top trophies in the game,” Arteta said. “That’s been made very clear to me in my discussions with [owners] Stan and Josh Kroenke and the senior people from the club.”

He will take over as Gunners boss on Sunday, leaving Freddie Ljungberg in interim charge for the trip to Everton – another of Arteta’s former clubs – on Saturday.

Arsenal are 10th in the Premier League with 22 points, seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and a potential Champions League qualifying place.

“We all know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve that but I am confident we’ll do it,”  Arteta added.

“I’m realistic enough to know it won’t happen overnight, but the current squad has plenty of talent and there is a great pipeline of young players coming through from the academy.”

Arsenal’s head of football Raul Sanllehi said the Premier League club met “several top-class candidates” before choosing Arteta as Emery’s replacement.

“Mikel stood out to every single one of us as the perfect person for us,” he said.

The Gunners have now gone six games without a win at Emirates Stadium, their longest run without a home victory since 1995. Arsenal are seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, after five victories in 17 matches this season.

Mikel Arteta was educated in Barcelona’s La Masia Fooball Academy, and also played for French side PSG. Earlier in his career, Arteta spent two years at Scottish Premiership side Rangers before joining Real Sociedad in 2004.

Arteta Before joining Arsenal, Arteta spent six years at Everton, making 209 appearances.

 

Chidi Nwoke.

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