Arsene Wenger has thanked Mikel Arteta for his contribution to Arsenal, both as a player and a leader.
The manager confirmed the midfielder could leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season, after captaining the Gunners to two FA Cup victories during his five years at the club.
Arteta’s next step could be into coaching and, with reports linking the 34-year-old with various roles next season, Wenger took the opportunity to pay tribute to a “great leader”.
"It is a good opportunity for me to thank him for his contribution, not only as a player but also as a great leader"
“It is true that he is out of contract here and when his contract finishes it is a good opportunity for me to thank him for his contribution, not only as a player but also as a great leader,” he said.
“What kind of orientation will he give now to his career? I heard about [coaching] as a possibility, but he could inform you much better than I can. He is free to decide to do what he wants, he will certainly need some time to reflect on whether he continues to play.
“I still think he can play, in the last months he has come back to a very good physical level and he is a position today where he can continue to play and he would be a very good player everywhere.
“You want your former players to be at the club but you also need the positions to fill. You cannot create artificial positions at the club. If you have coaches in the under-16s, under-15s and under-14s who are very good, you will not kick them out to make room for players who want to coach.
“If we have positions available, we always give a good chance to the players who played here. Let’s not forget I’ve given the opportunity to many, many players to obtain their licence here, to educate them.
“After that maybe there will be someone else. We always open the door to give them an opportunity to be educated. After that we need the positions available to give them the job. We don’t know what will happen with the coaches’ movement.”
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