London: Arsenal hired Mikel Arteta as manager on Friday, hoping their former midfielder can turn around the fortunes of the ailing London club after spending more than three years learning the coaching ropes as assistant to Pep Guardiola at English champion Manchester City.
The 37-year-old Spaniard, who made 149 appearances for Arsenal between 2011 and 2016, replaces compatriot Unai Emery, who was sacked last month after being persuaded to leave his role at City despite potentially being in line to be the natural successor to Guardiola.
Arteta said he was confident he would have the London club challenging for top honours again and asked for patience after signing a 3½- year contract.
After spending the last five years of his playing career at Arsenal, he returns to Emirates Stadium with Arsenal having regressed, no longer in the Champions League or challengers for the Premier League.
“We all know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve that but I am confident well do it,” Arteta said. “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.”
Arsenal are languishing in 10th place in the league, as close to the relegation zone as they are to the top four.
Arteta was close to taking charge of Arsenal after the departure of long-time manager Arsene Wenger in the offseason of 2018.
Emery got the job, however, but couldn’t revive the team and left it in something of a mess when he was let go last month.