Arsenal skipper Mikel Arteta has penned a new contract with the club and has ended speculation from all quarters.
The Spanish midfielder had actually agreed a new one-year deal months ago. But, the protracted delay by the 33-year-old in signing the contract gave rise to suspicions that Arteta would be following the curse of Fabregas, Van Persie and Vermaelen who were allowed to leave despite being the club captain..
There were reports flying left, right and center that Arsene Wenger will be looking for reinforcements and that Arteta will be moving out. The delay in him signing the contract did not help things further. But, all those rumours can now be put to rest as Arteta looks to get ready for new challenges.
Arteta appeared more than 100 times for the club in all competitions and scored 14 goals. He joined the club from Everton in 2011 and endeared himself to the supporters. He was signed as a replacement for Samir Nasri who was swayed by the money of Manchester City. In the 2014 season he was announced as the club captain.
He had options to get back to his homeland but Arteta has committed himself to the cause of the Gunners. He will continue to lead the team in a season that is fast turning out to be an interesting one.
Wenger has already signed a world-class goal keeper in Petr Cech which may eventually turn out to be the best signing of the year. He was rumoured to be interested in signing a defensive midfielder, most notably William Carvalho and the Bender twins.
With Arteta signing the extension, it could be said with fair amount of conviction that Wenger has shelved his plans to sign a defensive midfielder. The signs were there in the past couple of weeks. Arsenal dropped their interest in Morgan Schneiderlin of Southampton who was a long standing target. The price being quoted is remarkably higher than his value as per Wenger.
Last season saw the emergence of Francis Coquelin in the center of the park and he should continue his development. Wenger also switched Santi Cazorla to a more central role and seen him flourish there. Add Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey to that mix and you have a proper starting midfield.
With Arteta signing the extension and Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky still available, the chances of slotting a new midfielder into the line-up is remote.
There is still enough time in the transfer window to sign another midfield enforcer but it looks highly unlikely. What do you think? Does the contract extension of Arteta signal an end to the search of new defensive midfielder?
It is great that Arsenal finally have a captain that is unsold but is this the right move for the club in the long term?