At the end of last season, Arsenal were fighting against Tottenham to finish in Fourth Place in the League and gain a coveted Champions League berth, but had suddenly notched up losses to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton and handed the advantage to our biggest rivals.
There were many Arrsenal fans calling for Arteta’s head at the time, and saying that he should be sacked if we lost Fourth Place, but suddenly Arteta was given a new contract. This is how the boss described it at the time:”The club offered me the contract on the day we lost three matches,”
“That day I said ‘chapeau and we go’. That doesn’t happen in football. That’s a part of what they think, the belief they have in myself, the coaching staff and what we’re doing. The people that we have now owning and leading this football club. I hadn’t seen it, and I just got emotional when I saw it because I thought ‘these guys are serious and these guys are committed, so I’d better push forward’.”
Obviously the person that okayed the new contract was Edu our General Manager, and the reasoning behind the move was to ensure stability in the transfer window and in continuing the rebuilding project. Edu told the Sun: “It’s not my plan — it’s the club’s. I lead the ideas and open the discussions but we are all building together.
“Mikel is also a big part of that plan and that was why the timing of his new contract at the end of last season was such an important part of the process.
“We were going into a transfer window and we wanted people to see Arsenal as very organised and well-planned.
“For that to happen our manager’s contract had to be renewed, so we could say to players and agents, ‘Mikel is our manager and he’s going to be with us for a minimum of three more years’.
“That’s how to avoid any doubts when you’re going to sign a player.
“The way I sell this club is to tell the player, ‘OK, we’re not in the Champions League yet but you can be the guy that gets us there. How long since we won the title? You can put your name in Arsenal history’.
The project looks like it has now taken on a positive shape and Arteta and Edu are building a team for success in the near future and beyond. It now looks certain that Arteta will still be the manager for the next two years to continue his plan, and who knows how much longer after that if the club starts winning more trophies…
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