Mikel Arteta has completed his return to Arsenal by becoming their new manager, the Premier League club have announced.
Arteta, 37, joins from Manchester City after spending three-and-a-half years on Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff, helping the Etihad Stadium club win two Premier League titles, two Carabao Cups, and the FA Cup.
He has penned a three-and-a-half-year deal with Arsenal and is associated with the Gunners for the first time since retiring as a player in 2016.
“This is a huge honour,” Arteta said.
“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 Stan 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.”
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Shortly before the deal was announced, Guardiola wished him well.
“When you have a dream you cannot stop it,” he said at his pre-match press conference. “Arsenal was an important part of Mikel’s career. One of the best teams in England.
“We wish him all the best. I am pretty sure he will do an excellent job.”
Arteta spent five years on Arsenal’s books, joining from Everton in 2011 and going on to make 149 appearances for the north Londoners.
He was appointed club captain by Arsene Wenger throughout the legendary manager’s reign and helped the Gunners win two FA Cups and two Community Shields before retiring.
Arteta’s first match as Arsenal manager will take place on Saturday lunchtime as he takes his side to another of his former clubs, Everton, though he officially begins work on Sunday, while his coaching staff are yet to be revealed, the club said.
Head of football Raul Sanllehi said: “We met several top-class candidates and Mikel stood out to every single one of us as the perfect person for us.
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.”
Josh Kroenke, speaking on behalf of owner Stan, expressed delight at finally having a permanent boss, while both he and Sanllehi praised the work done by the interim boss.
“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,” Kroenke said in a statement on the club’s website.
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