Arsenal are planning to offer Mikel Arteta a new contract before the end of the season in order to help maintain stability at a club that has lurched from one crisis to another in recent seasons.
The 39-year-old inherited a broken and unbalanced squad from his predecessor Unai Emery two years ago, and although the club are no closer to challenging the Premier League’s elite, the future looks brighter with Arteta building around a group of highly talented youngsters.
Recent defeats against Manchester City and Liverpool highlighted the chasm that still exists between Arteta’s emerging side and the best teams in the country, but Arsenal’s board, according to the Daily Mail, are confident the club are headed in the right direction.
Arsenal’s hierarchy are said to have been impressed by the way in which the club’s former captain has dealt with senior members of the squad who have stepped out of line, including the likes of Mesut Ozil and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and navigated the pandemic as whole.
The Gunners failed to achieve European qualification last season and will again finish the current campaign trophyless having been knocked out of both domestic cup competitions in the space of a fortnight.
Finishing in the top six will now represent Arteta’s priority and although even that modest achievement is far from guaranteed, Arsenal are looking to avoid repeating the uncertainty that became commonplace during the latter years of Arsene Wenger’s reign, when he was regularly allowed to enter the final year of his contracts.
Arteta will have 12 months remaining on his current deal come the summer and he is set to be offered an extension that would see him earn a raise on his current £5million-a-year salary.
Arsenal are also mindful that Arteta’s contract expires at the same time as his mentor Pep Guardiola’s and City could look to target their former assistant as a natural replacement for his compatriot, should he call time on his tenure at the Etihad.
Speaking last month about whether he had discussed his future with the board, Arteta said: ‘No, we haven’t discussed anything like that.
‘I think we have many other priorities at the moment that are far more important than that. I don’t know [if we will have talks in the summer], really I’m not thinking about that.
‘I’m just trying to get the best out of the team, trying to cope with all the situations that we are facing at the moment. Things will happen naturally