Arsenal have appointed their former captain Mikel Arteta as head coach on a three-and-a-half-year deal. The 37-year-old won the FA Cup twice in a five-year career with the Gunners and succeeds fellow Spaniard Unai Emery, who was sacked in November. Arteta had been working as a coach under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, joining the club in 2016 after retiring as a player. “We need to be competing for the top trophies in the game,” Arteta said.
“That’s been made very clear to me in my discussions with [owners] Stan and Josh Kroenke and the senior people from the club.” He will take over as Gunners boss on Sunday, leaving Freddie Ljungberg in interim charge for the trip to Everton – another of Arteta’s former clubs – on Saturday. Arsenal are 10th in the Premier League with 22 points, seven points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea and a potential Champions League qualifying place. “We all know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve that but I am confident we’ll do it,” added Arteta. “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’s head of football Raul Sanllehi said the Premier League club met “several top-class candidates” before choosing Arteta as Emery’s replacement. “Mikel stood out to every single one of us as the perfect person for us,” he said. Arteta’s coaching team has not yet been announced.