Football: Arsenal set to appoint former captain Mikel Arteta

Mikel Arteta will reportedly be given some control in player recruitment as well as a veto on signings, should he become the new Arsenal manager.
Mikel Arteta will reportedly be given some control in player recruitment as well as a veto on signings, should he become the new Arsenal manager.

Former captain likely to be new manager this week as he prepares to finalise coaching team

LONDON • Arsenal are expected to appoint Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta as their new manager this week.

Their former captain has been finalising the details of his contract and has already named those whom he wants in his coaching team in the past few days.

The expected appointment will end Arsenal's pursuit of a successor to Arsene Wenger, whose 22-year tenure ended last week.

Arsenal initially turned to Massimiliano Allegri but the Italian said that he is committed to Juventus for another season.

Luis Enrique and Joachim Low were also on the shortlist, but the former Barcelona head coach's wage demands were too high and Low extended his contract with Germany last week.

Patrick Vieira, another former Arsenal captain, and Unai Emery, who recently left Paris Saint-Germain, still remain in the frame.

Arteta has the blessing of Pep Guardiola, after spending the past two years under his tutelage at City.

The 36-year-old joined Arsenal in 2011 and spent five years with the club as a player, and the Spaniard will become the seventh former player to manage the club.

While Wenger has said that he believes Arteta has the qualities to do the job, William Gallas, another former Arsenal captain, disagreed.

"I'd be surprised because he's never been in charge as a manager," the former France defender said. "It is completely different when you are in charge of 24 players."

Arteta will have some control and input in player recruitment and also a veto on signings in the club's new structure.

Raul Sanllehi is the de facto director of football, Sven Mislintat is the head of recruitment and Huss Fahmy negotiates contracts.

Arteta is likely to bring in at least three of his own coaching appointments, although Santi Cazorla will not be one of them.

The midfielder, 33, will train with Villarreal during pre-season in the hope of earning a contract, having missed almost two years with injury.

Arsenal began a coaching cull two weeks ago when Gerry Peyton, Tony Colbert and Neil Banfield left the club and were followed by Boro Primorac, Wenger's long-serving assistant.

Steve Bould and Jens Lehmann, who were also part of Wenger's coaching team, have been told that they could stay at the club depending on the new manager's needs.

Lehmann could, in theory, be offered the vacant position of goalkeeping coach while Bould has a potential coaching position at Stoke City, who parted company with Paul Lambert after their recent relegation.

Thierry Henry, the club's record scorer who is Belgium's assistant manager, is expected to be interviewed to find out whether there is a role for him.

On the transfer front, the Gunners have been trying to conclude a deal with Freiburg to sign Turkey defender Caglar Soyuncu, 21, in a bid to shore up their leaky backline.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 22, 2018, with the headline 'Arsenal set to appoint Arteta'. Print Edition | Subscribe