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18 Dec, 2019 15:02

Arteta at Arsenal: Former Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta set to land top job at the Emirates

Arteta at Arsenal: Former Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta set to land top job at the Emirates

Arsenal's search for a new manager appears to be complete, with former midfielder Mikel Arteta looking set to return to the club as its new boss after resigning from his role as assistant manager of Manchester City.

Arteta is expected to sign a three-and-a-half-year deal at the Emirates to take him through to the end of the 2022-23 season as he returns to the club where he finished his playing days before moving into coaching.

The 37-year-old started out his playing career at Barcelona, but never quite made it up the ranks to the full team at the Camp Nou as he was first loaned out to French side Paris Saint-Germain, then eventually sold to Scottish giants Glasgow Rangers, where he won his first league title.

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A stint at Real Sociedad followed before he headed to Merseyside with Everton, where he quickly became a firm favorite with the fans at Goodison Park for his neat, effective midfield play.

He spent six years with the Toffees before heading to London to play out the remainder of his career with Arsenal, where he captured two FA Cups and two Community Shields with the Gunners between 2011 and 2016.

Now the Spaniard is set to return to the London side, this time as manager, as he takes over a team in transition following the failed appointment of former PSG boss Unai Emery.

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The Gunners are blessed with one of the most pacy, exciting forward lines in Europe with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe, but the club has struggled to find consistency, with defensive frailties still a major issue that has dogged the club since the latter days of Arsene Wenger's managerial career.

Now the job of stabilizing, then improving, the Gunners will fall to Arteta, whose former boss at Arsenal said he will need help to make up the shortfall in top-level managerial experience.

"He is intelligent, he has passion, he has knowledge," said Wenger.

"I believe that Arteta has certainly a great future. He has certainly learned a lot in his first position as an assistant coach and after that as well he will have to deal with the fact that he has no experience at that level and he will have to get surrounded well.

"When I left the club was in a very strong financial position and they bought many players in-between, they have not all worked out.

"I believe that it's not a question of time. The change can be very efficient very quickly, it's just about the right decision-making and that's all that it's about in football, it's about good players.

"We speak about the success of Liverpool, of course they have a great manager, but you have to say as well that in the last three-four years, they bought the right players."

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The job of identifying and buying the right players will soon belong to Arteta, who will get little-to-no bedding-in period as he takes over the side in 10th place in the Premier League table, a colossal 27 points behind runaway league leaders Liverpool.

A more realistic target lies just across town, however. Arsenal's North London rivals Tottenham have also made a mid-season managerial change, with Jose Mourinho arriving to replace the departing Mauricio Pochettino.

Spurs lie just four points ahead of Arsenal, in fifth, and represent the ideal benchmark for Arteta as he looks to steady the ship with just over half the Premier League season remaining.