Arsene Wenger admits Mikel Arteta is likely to end his Arsenal playing career this summer as rumours circle that the Spaniard has been offered a position on Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff when the Bayern Munich boss takes over at Manchester City.
Injuries have restricted the Gunners club captain to only 13 starts in the last two season and he’s turned his attention to the future by taking his coaching badges.
While Guardiola, a childhood friend from his time at Barcelona’s La Masia, is understood to be in pole position to recruit the 34-year-old, Arsene Wenger says he’s not yet ruled out offering the midfielder a position on his staff at London Colney.
“It’s possible [that he could leave],” Wenger told press ahead of Arsenal’s trip to the Etihad.
“It’s possible. It’s true that he’s out of contract here. As his contract finishes here, it’s a good opportunity to thank him for his contribution not only as a player but also as a leader.
“What kind of orientation he gives to his career…I heard about that possibility [of going to City], but I don’t know. He could inform you much better than I can. He’s free to decide to do what he wants, he’ll certainly want some time to reflect.
“Does he continue to play? I still think he can play. In the last month he’s come back to a very good physical level and he’s in a position still to continue to play.
“He would still be a very good player everywhere.”
As he’s mentioned previously, Wenger made clear that the club only tends to offer coaching positions when they are available. Revealing it’s not yet clear whether there will be movement on that front, the Frenchman left the door open for Arteta.
“I don’t rule it out [that he could become an Arsenal coach], but it’s always the same.
“You want your former players to be at the club, but as well you need positions. You can’t create artificial positions.
“If you have coaches in the under-18, 16, 14 who are very good you will not kick them out to make room for players who want to coach. If we have positions we always give a good chance to the players who played here.
“Let’s not forget I have given to many, many players the opportunity to make their licence here, to educate them, after that maybe, to coach somewhere else. But we always open the door to give them an opportunity to be educated. After we need positions available sometimes to offer them a job.
“At the moment we go to the end of the season, I don’t know what will happen with the coaches movement as well, we’ll see.”