Arteta officially calls time on his professional career!
After what was a rather remarkable way of ending yet another Premier League season with plenty of twists and turns, Arsenal’s captain Mikel Arteta officially confirmed the expected, in that he was retiring from the professional game.
Arsenal won 4-0 at the Emirates against 20th placed Aston Villa, a scoreline that was exactly the same as last season’s FA Cup final win, coincidently around the same time of year. The FA Cup final last year was fitting for Arteta as he got to lift the trophy as captain of the club, and this year’s final match of the season did not disappoint either. Although unofficially (Yes it went down as a Bunn Own Goal but we’ll credit Arteta!), Arteta scored the final goal of the game in what was a brilliant send off to his long remarkable career.
Arteta called time on his fantastic career in which he played with a lot of passion, moving across clubs in Spain, France, Scotland and England. Arteta, who was a £10 million buy from Everton, proved to be an underrated success at Arsenal, often completing his job whilst not attracting all the plaudits for his efforts. His commitment to the club and leadership qualities saw him promoted to club captain after Vermaelen’s departure to Barcelona, and with the Spainard struggling with injuries over the last few years of his career, he has played a bigger role off the pitch in coaching than he has on the pitch as captain.
Saying that, Arteta has completed his coaching badges with Arsenal and is now looking to move on to a coaching role after handing up his boots for what is expected to be the final time. Arteta said after the match: “I am going to leave myself one per cent [to continue playing] because, in football, one per cent is a lot and things can twist very quickly. But I have different options now to be related to football, which I am very grateful for.”
“It is very unusual to have opportunities at this level. That has made me think it was probably time and the way I have been watching football in the last few months – or, probably, over a year – it was not as a player, it was more as a coach. Then, you have to think about it.”
Arteta did not go into specifics about his coaching options because of his affection for Arsenal. “I don’t want to say clubs but I have three very different options and I am very proud, because it is not common. I have been left the door very open [at Arsenal] and I may have to make a decision.”
It was previously understood that Arsenal had not made him an offer to remain at the club as a coach, and it seemed very likely he was going to be joining Pep Guardiola at Manchester City next year. However according to Mikel, it now seems that the Gunners have made an offer and he will be seriously considering his next move as a coach. Tottenham have also made an approach. Considering Arteta achieved his coaching badges with Arsenal I found it particularly surprising the Gunners did not form an offer beforehand, since all the effort and commitment he has shown towards the club, but now that he has been offered a role at Arsenal, I really do hope he takes it.
Arteta’s passion for Arsenal showed over his 5 years with the club, and the emotions flowing both from Arteta and his teammates at the end of the match shows how respected the 34 year old at Arsenal. He definitely deserves to remain with us next season in a role off the pitch, but with the likes of City and Spurs lurking in the background it seems like we may have to wait a little longer and see what comes for Arteta.