There have been several rumours circulating this week (most likely nonsense) that Mikel Arteta is in the running to replace Arsene Wenger as manager once the Frenchman’s contract ends.
Some have been encouraged by the news, possibly just because of the chance of a fresh face in charge of the club, while others have been incensed by the idea of Arteta being in control of the club, with many citing his time at Man City as a betrayal.
While he undoubtedly lacks the managerial credentials at this stage of his career to take on a huge challenge, such as Arsenal, his career to date suggests that it may not be long before the Spaniard is patrolling the touchline.
Arteta began his career at Barcelona, alongside his current boss, Pep Guardiola. He has studied under the tutelage of some the worlds finest managers, including Frank Rijkaard and Arsene Wenger. He also spent a lot of time with David Moyes.
A Distinguished Career
He made 427 appearances throughout his career, 110 of which were with Arsenal. While there have been many players, quality players, to have made more appearances for the Gunners, Arteta had a major influence on a number of young players at the club.
Having been made full club captain in 2014, he made 16 league appearances as skipper, before his retirement from the game in 2016.
His role on the pitch also highlighted his maturity and composure. Having been an attacking midfielder at Everton, he quickly acclimatised to Arsenal in the form of a deeper playmaker, breaking up opposition attacks and creating chances.
He scored 15 goals and provided 7 assists throughout his 110 appearances. This demonstrates his role in the team. While a crucial player within the squad, it was not his attacking attributes that led to his longevity in an Arsenal shirt.
He was self-aware enough to realise that his attacking ability, as good as it was, was nothing without pace and athleticism. He was aware that he was losing this pace, and accepted his deeper position, allowing the likes of Wilshere, Ramsey and Ozil to attack the opposition defence.
His chemistry with these young, vibrant players, along with an astounding knowledge of the game, is what could facilitate his success in a role with more responsibility.
Learning from the Best
Arteta’s role on the pitch was not dissimilar from that of Guardiola, in fact. The Man City boss made 390 career appearances, scoring only 18 goals in total. He played a deeper role at Barcelona, providing for attacking players such as Rivaldo and a young Xavi.
An excellent reader of the game, it might not be wise to write off the potential tactical role that Mikel Arteta could play as his career progresses.