Mikel Arteta is about to become Arsenal head coach 18 months after he was first interviewed for the job. He came very close to being appointed in the summer of 2018 after Arsene Wenger left but at the last minute, Arsenal decided to give the job to Unai Emery instead.  While everyone can only predict how successful Mikel Arteta will be at the club and how the performances will change, we lay out facts below on everything related…

What Mikel Arteta was like as a player ?

When Arteta was 14 he was signed by Barcelona who went about converting the No 10 from San Sebastián into a holding midfielder. At 16, Arteta joined in the first-team’s pre-season training camp. The only problem for him was that Guardiola, 11 years his senior, not only played in his position but was Barcelona’s captain. Arteta, mindful that a certain Xavi, would also be in his way if he stayed took the brave decision to leave and forged an accomplished career at Paris Saint-Germain, Rangers, Everton and Arsenal.

David Moyes signed midfielder Mikel Arteta on loan from Real Sociedad with a view to a long-term deal. Few would have backed deadline-day signing Arteta to provide more value to Everton but the player became  crowd favorite.  Arteta used to insist the best way to end the tension and pressure at the club was to take a firm grip of their own destiny. Arteta spent six-and-a-half years  at Goodison Park. Mikel Arteta sensationally handed a transfer request on deadline day to seal a move to Arsenal. Everton had rejected a £10m bid for the midfielder but once the Spaniard, 29, put in his request, manager David Moyes decided not to stand in his way. Mikel Arteta was open about his transfer and actions.

Mikel Arteta said ” It is a big opportunity for me and my family and I think it is the right time for me to take it,” he said. It is a big challenge, a different challenge, fresh for me and I want to see myself on the biggest stage, the Champions League. I am 29 years old so I haven’t got much time left to take a chance like this one. I think I have done my best for Everton. I always try hard, I have been as professional as I could and I was grateful for the support and the love that the club and the fans showed me.

At Arsenal, Mikel Arteta was not an Arsenal great. He was however, a club captain, a leader and an inspiration. Arteta was bought in to replace to another Spaniard and club favorite –  Cesc Fabregas. The no nonsense midfielder played well in his opening season for the Gunners, playing mainly in a central midfield role. His touch, vision and creativity were clearly assets to his game, and he settled in well with Arsenal’s passing orientated style of play, scoring a total of six goals and creating a further two. As Arteta grew in his role with the club, he gradually dropped deeper within the midfield. By the time Alex Song in 2012, Arteta became the starting holding midfielder, charged with running the game while protecting a vulnerable back four. Arteta would become the club captain, the face of the side, someone who was exemplary off the field. He was professional, adept in front of the media, and was very much a centerpiece of a successful Arsenal side. He ultimately captained the side to the 2014 FA Cup victory over Hull, and was an inspirational leader throughout his tenure as captain.

What Mikel Arteta was doing at Manchester City assistant coach ?

Spanish journalist Perarnau has written two books on Guardiola and has unprecedented access. He revealed that Arteta is hugely influential behind the scenes and even has his fingerprints over specific moves and goals. Do you remember from Sunday’s game, after the second goal [against Arsenal], Pep’s hug with Mikel = That was because Mikel said to Mendy, ‘Don’t make a high cross when you get to the end line, make a cut-back along the floor,’ and after that Bernardo scored the goal. He [also] talked with Mendy and Sterling to try to make a double pass before the last cut-back.”

Why Emery was prioritized over Mikel Arteta ?

Arsenal’s committee was looking at 8 candidates: Allegri, Sampaoli, Vieira, Henry, Rangnick, Lopetegui, Arteta and Emery. The latter pair ended up as clear favourites and it was between those two where the real battle took place.

Mikel Arteta impressed in his presentation, he looked a more promising choice because of his potential, ideas and ties to the club. However, he lacked a team around him – even the assistant manager was not in place. Arsenal’s executives wanted the new man and his staff to begin implementing their vision right off the bat. On top of that, while tantalising as a Guardiola understudy, Arteta had (and still has) no experience managing a team, even a youth side or a lower-league club, like Frank Lampard at Derby, for example. Gazidis, Sanllehi, Mislintat, Fahmy and Rosenfield, who were conducting the interviewing process at the time, therefore felt Arteta would be the perfect candidate to succeed Emery, not Wenger.

However, there were some snags with the formation of his backroom staff. There were doubts where many believed he would be too friendly with the players and that the squad may struggle to respect him as a manger so soon after leaving. And in the meantime key Arsenal figures felt that Emery’s record did a lot of persuading on its own. Emery was willing to say yes to the role being offered, and by Monday Arsenal were ready to ask the question.

What is Mikel Arteta’s philosophy ?

During the interview Mikel Arteta described how his team would be built to entertain. Mikel Arteta said “My philosophy will be clear, I want the football to be expressive, entertaining. I cannot have a concept of football where everything is based on the opposition. We have to dictate the game, we have to be the ones taking the initiative, and we have to entertain the people coming to watch us. I’m 100 per cent convinced of those things, and I think I could do it. You can have an idea of a system, but you need to be able to transform it depending on the players you have – how much pace you have up front, how technical your team is, what types of risk you can take and whether your players are ready to take those risks.”






By Premier League Museum Admin

English Premier League fan since 1992. Travel enthusiast, sports buff and blog writer with deep interest in watching sports - English premier league, American Football, Basketball, Tennis, Cricket.. you name it.. Firm believer in giving back to the community which gives you happiness and identity. My inspiration - “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

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