Mikel Arteta is in the swansong of his Arsenal career and unsure of his future plans beyond the summer, when the current campaign ends. The Spanish midfielder has just over three months to run on his current deal and has not been offered a new contract by the Gunners. It is likely that they will allow him to leave the club at the end of the season.
The former Everton skipper has struggled with fitness issues throughout the season and has made just 12 appearances since August. Arteta is unsure if he will continue playing or hang up his boots and get into coaching, something that he has already started. The Gunners midfielder has admitted he is currently focusing on getting back to full fitness and helping Arsenal finish the season strongly, and is hoping the club can win their first Premier League title in over a decade. The former Barcelona youth team player has returned to training and with the number of injuries plaguing the Arsenal midfield, he could be used before the end of the season.
The north London club have been eliminated from all competitions following their Champions League last-16 loss to Barcelona and will shift their entire focus on the league. They are currently 11 points behind leaders Leicester City with a game in hand. The manager is confident the title is still possible, despite the team being on their worst run of the season, which has seen them win just one game in their last eight in all competitions.
"Right now I'm just focused on contributing to the team on the pitch, we've an exciting end of the season looming and hopefully we'll win the Premier League," Arteta told El Confidencial, as quoted by the London Evening Standard.
"The next chapter is more complicated, today, I'm not sure on my plans. Obviously, it's not impossible to think three months ahead when my contract ends here, but I won't be thinking objectively until I've had two or three weeks without training."
"I don't want to make any decisions without knowing for sure how I am and what I want to do to be able to get back in the ring," the Spaniard added.
Arsene Wenger is a big admirer of the Spanish midfielder and sees him as a valuable member of the squad, even if he is not fit to play. The French coach is hoping Arteta goes into coaching following his retirement as he believes he has a lot to give back to the younger generation of players. The 33-year-old midfielder has already begun taking his coaching badges and has worked with the U16's at Arsenal and with Wales U16 team to gain experience.