Our captain and leader Mikel Arteta has not played for Arsenal since last November, but the 33 year-old has now revealed on Arsenal.com that he expects to rejoin the first team squad in the next “week or two”. Arteta’s contract runs out in June and he has already spoken of his desire to stay if he regains his full fitness and feels that he can contribute to the team, but obviously he needs his ankle to be completely healed first.
“I haven’t trained enough with the team yet to come back into the side,” Arteta said. “We need to manage the workload on the ankle. I played for the under-21s against Stoke recently, and I’ve been feeling OK, but I’m not in a position yet where I can feel perfect and just go out there forgetting about my ankle.”
“I need to train more with the team, get my confidence and build it up. My aim now is to train with the team for another week or two and then be able to say to the boss ‘OK, I’m ready now if you want to pick me.’
“It’s been a frustrating time for me, but I would love to be able to finish the season by lifting a trophy of course.”
Arteta is certainly very talented, despite getting on in years, and will be hoping to get chance to impress Arsene Wenger before the season ends, but with the dogfight Arsenal are in with Man City and Man United for second place means that he is unlikely to be risked at the moment as the club has a whole host of talent in midfield right now.
Arteta has mostly been used as a DM when available, but now that Francis Coquelin has made that spot his own it may be difficult for the Spaniard to even get a game next season, especially if Arsenal bring in another younger DM this summer.
The Arsenal legend Ray Parlour has wondered why Arteta even wants to stay on the bench at the Emirates. “I’m very surprised about that because he’s not going to play. When you get to the end of your career, for me I’d rather move away and play on a regular basis, maybe drop down a few levels or go mid-table,” Parlour said on TalkSport.
The only reason I can think that Arteta wants to remain is so he can can do his coaching courses and prepare for a future in management, and obviously he can pass on his knowledge and experience to our younger players, but surely he won’t get much actual playing time? What do you think?