Arsenal has appointed its former midfielder Mikel Arteta as new head coach on a three-and-a-half year deal.
The Spaniard replaces compatriot Unai Emery, who was shown the Emirates exit door at the end of November after just 18 months in charge following the club’s longest winless run since 1992.
Since retiring as a player in 2016, Arteta has become an integral member of Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff at Manchester City, winning seven trophies in his three years as assistant manager at the club.
Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg had taken over as interim coach while the club looked for a new permanent head coach but recorded just one win during his five games in charge.
“This is a huge honor,” Arteta told the club website. “Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world. We need to be competing for the top trophies in the game and that’s been made very clear to me in my discussions with (owner) Stan (Kroenke) and Josh Kroenke, and the senior people from the club.
“We all know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve that but I am confident we’ll do it. I’m realistic enough to know it won’t happen overnight but the current squad has plenty of talent and there is a great pipeline of young players coming through from the academy.”
Two FA Cups
Arteta spent four seasons at Arsenal between 2011 and 2016, playing 150 times for the Gunners and winning two FA Cups.
The 37-year-old, who was also made club captain by Arsene Wenger, takes over with Arsenal languishing in 10th in the Premier League after just one win since October 6. Its last league title came in 2003-2004 when the ‘Invincibles’ went unbeaten in the top division under Wenger.
Josh Kroenke, son of the Arsenal owner and a non-executive director, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing Mikel back to Arsenal. He knows our expectations and those of our fans around the world are high and we are confident he can play a lead role in taking the club back to the levels we all demand.
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“I also want to thank Freddie Ljungberg for skilfully guiding us through the last three weeks. He stepped up at short notice and has helped us through this difficult period with great professionalism.”