While it came as no surprise that Mikel Arteta decided to hang up his boots after an emotional Arsenal farewell, his next destination will certainly raise a few eyebrows.
The 34-year-old Spaniard, who succeeded Thomas Vermaelen as Arsenal’s skipper and led the club to a second successive FA Cup victory, has released a statement on Twitter confirming that he is off to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City where he will begin his coaching career.
Hi all, here a statement from me on the next chapter in my football career… pic.twitter.com/2Xb9VifCog
— Mikel Arteta (@m8arteta) July 3, 2016
The tweet reads: “I’ve enjoyed an amazing five years at Arsenal and it’s been an honour and a privilege to captain such a great club.”
The midfielder also thanked Everton, Rangers, PSG, Real Sociedad and his first club, FC Barcelona, for playing a part in his development as a football player.
Last season, Wenger praised Arteta’s leadership abilities. He told the press:
“Mikel has a huge influence even when he is not playing. He is super conscientious, and every morning two hours before training he prepares and that is absolutely right. He has great experience and is respected throughout the squad.
“I really hope Mikel considers going into coaching.”
With the ability to command respect in the dressing room, it seems Mikel has the ingredients to succeed on his new journey.
Following weeks of speculation over where Arteta would end up, Guardiola has finalised a deal to appoint him to a coaching role. Arteta has always spoken of the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss as one of his role models, which was undoubtedly a major factor in the completion of the deal.
Arsenal and Arteta’s relationship ended on very good terms and it is unlikely that there will be any hard feelings despite his choice of club.