Mikel Arteta appointed Arsenal head coach

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Arteta
Mikel Arteta is unveiled as the new Arsenal head coach at London Colney

Arsenal have appointed Mikel Arteta as their new head coach on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

Arteta leaves his role as Manchester City assistant manager and replaces Freddie Ljungberg, who took over as interim head coach following Unai Emery’s sacking at the end of November.

“This is a huge honour,” said Arteta, whose coaching team has yet to be announced. “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 (club owner) Stan and (director) 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.”

Ljungberg oversaw two draws, two defeats and one victory during his time in temporary charge. And departs his role with Arsenal 10th in the Premier League table.

Arteta returns to the club for whom he played 150 games between 2011 and 2016. Winning two FA Cups and two Community Shields in the process.

City and Pep Guardiola were intent on Arteta remaining at the Etihad Stadium. But the offer from the Gunners proved too enticing for their former midfielder to turn down.

Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Mikel Arteta will need a good team around him to deal with his lack of managerial experience

The domestic treble winners were angered by Arsenal’s approach for the Spaniard after pictures emerged of Gunners chief executive Vinai Venkatesham and lawyer Huss Fahmy leaving his Manchester home in the early hours of Monday morning.

“We met several top-class candidates and Mikel stood out to every single one of us as the perfect person for us,” Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi said.

“Mikel understands Arsenal football club and what it means to our fans around the world. We look forward to him getting down to work and bringing the best out of our squad as we work to get our season back on track.

“I must also pay tribute to Freddie Ljungberg for his hard work and leadership. Together with Per Mertesacker, he has done a vital job for us in difficult circumstances. Freddie and Per are important parts of the Arsenal family and care deeply for this club.”

Analysis: Arteta’s in-tray

Arsenal are currently 10th in the Premier League
Arsenal are currently 10th in the Premier League

Sky Sports News’ Kaveh Solhekol lists the five key areas Arteta must focus on in his first few weeks and months at Arsenal…

  • Sort out the defence
  • Mesut Ozil
  • The captaincy
  • Get the best out of Lacazette
  • Get back into the top four

Read more about Arteta’s main tasks at the Emirates here

Analysis: Huge job for Arteta

Arteta played for Arsenal between 2011 and 2016
Arteta played for Arsenal between 2011 and 2016

Sky Sports’ Nick Wright…

‘If Mikel Arteta needed any help to fully appreciate the scale of the job he faces at Arsenal. It is handy that he had a front-row seat for the latest show of evidence. At the Emirates Stadium last Sunday, the flaws were laid bare for the man tasked with transforming their fortunes.

Sat on the Manchester City bench alongside Pep Guardiola, Arteta will have noted the extraordinary openness of Arsenal’s midfield and watched at how their defenders backed off and then backed off some more, inviting Kevin De Bruyne and his Manchester City team-mates into their penalty box without so much as making a challenge…’

Read more analysis on the huge job Arteta has undertaken at Arsenal here

Smith: Arteta the right man

Arteta is the right man to manage Arsenal, according to Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith. And says his work with Pep Guardiola will help in his first managerial role.

“From the outset I thought that he would be the most exciting, the boldest choice as a innovative young coach that can put on really good sessions and that transfers to the pitch.

“Obviously, he’s had a huge influence from Guardiola up at Manchester City. He takes a lot of the sessions and Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne have both credited him with improving their game.”

Read more of Alan Smith from the Transfer Talk Podcast here

Souness: It’s a big risk

Speaking on Sky Sports News after the announcement, Graeme Souness had his reservations over the choice of manager, pointing to Arteta’s lack of experience as a No 1…

“Big risk. Coaching, being a very good coach, doesn’t qualify you automatically to be a very good manager. It’s two different jobs.

“I would suggest Arsenal is a very different football club now to the one when he was there. He’d have been on the training ground most certainly with Pep all of the time, so he would have learned from him there, but it’s just the day-to-day other stuff a manager has to deal with, that he won’t have any great experience of.

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“Whoever got the job at Arsenal would have had a very, very difficult job. The fact they’ve gone for a manager who has never been a manager before is very high risk.

“It will be no quick-fix at Arsenal. They are in trouble right now, and aren’t anywhere near where they need to be. They’re one of England’s great football clubs, but I’d suggest they’re quite a bit off that right now.”