Club Captain signs one-year extension

Arsenal’s club captain, Mikel Arteta, has signed on for another year at the Emirates, after it looked as though he might leave following a lengthy delay in the signing of his contract, which was reportedly agreed months ago. 

Arteta, who is now 33-years-old, missed a lot of last season through injury, and now faces an uphill challenge to break back into a hugely competitive Arsenal midfield which has seen Coquelin make Arteta’s position his own.

Reports in Spain have suggested that a number of clubs in La Liga have been interested in signing the Spaniard who has a wealth of experience and was brought up in the Barcelona academy before moving to the UK.

But does this mean Arsene Wenger is no longer intending to bring in additional midfield reinforcements? Having not so long ago signed Tomas Rosicky for another year as well.

Arsenal have been linked with a host of defensive midfielders, including Morgan Schneiderlin, Arturo Vidal, Carvalho of Sporting Lisbon, and even Dortmund’s Ilkay Gundogan. None of whom look any closer to actually signing for Arsenal.

With Francis Coquelin’s new emergence on the scene, and Jack Wilshere, who is familiar with that deep midfield position for England and has reportedly trained over his summer break following some good post-injury form, Arsenal have a wealth of options in the centre.

When you also consider the midfield engine that is Aaron Ramsey, two of Arsenal’s stand out players last year, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil, not to mention the experienced heads of Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini, then suddenly there is a distinct lack of space in the squad.

Surely at least one of these players will need to make way before Arsenal sign another midfielder, but it now appears that this midfielder will not be Mikel Arteta.

Arteta Speaks to the Press Ahead of Bayern Munich

Q: How important is this Champions League run for you, Mikel?
A: “I think it’s one of them games that every one of us is ready to play. It’s a big pleasure to play for this club at that level. Tomorrow we’ve got a great chance, we are facing a very good team, but we are a very good team as well and we are very positive and we can’t wait for tomorrow to come and get a good performance.”

Q: How much does a game of this prestige lift the players?
A: “Obviously it gives you an extra motivation, because you facing top players and a top club, and you want to see how good you are playing against them. So we’ve got a great test tomorrow, and we want to face that test with the maximum desire and a positiveness that we have around the squad, and get out in the game and win it.”

Q: Have you watched many of their games?
A: “Yeah, we have prepared obviously. It is a club that is on TV all the time. You can recognise all the faces that we’re going to face tomorrow, so we know who we’re facing.”

Q: How do you go about stopping slow-starts?
A: “Well I think we have a great chance tomorrow to put that down. I think in the last few big games, we missed the first 20-25 minutes, and give the opposition probably too much respect and we’re on that case tomorrow and we want to face a different scenario and we’re going to get into the game and show that we’re there to win it.”

Q: It’s important to start well isn’t it?
A: “It is massive, because if you score first you’ve got a great chance of winning those big games and that’s a pure statistic thing. We know what we have to do tomorrow, and face them right from the off.”

Q: Is it something you talk about, because in the second half of matches you’ve been very good?
A: “Yeah I think the difference on the table in the Premiership in the first 45 minutes and the second 45 would be very very different. That tells that our qualities are very good and probably when the teams tire a little bit we show we are able to, but as well tell us we are not ready from the off.”

Q: How you find it to play with Jack Wilshere, and his big match mentality? Can he show his class?
A: “He has been showing his class, we don’t want to put too much pressure on Jack, he has been tremendous for us in the last few months. The character he’s shown to get back from a very difficult injury, a long period injury, and to get back to that fitness level and quality level in that short time is unbelievable. He’s got that personality and character, he’s a big winner, and we need players like that here.”