Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta has taken a step closer to retirement after confirming his intention to move into coaching when his career ends. The Spaniard is out of contract at the end of the season, and having suffered from calf and ankle injuries this campaign looks destined to take his leave from the professional game.
The 34-year-old has failed to make a single Premier League start this season and has not played since the FA Cup win over Championship side Burnley in January. Manager Arsene Wenger has offered no indication that Arteta will be offered a new deal and his future took an additional blow after the arrival of Mohamed Elneny from FC Basel.
The Daily Telegraph understands that Manchester City and north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur are interested in adding Arteta to their coaching teams in the summer, should the player indeed leave Arsenal following five years at the Emirates Stadium. The former Rangers and Everton midfielder has swelled speculation that his move into coaching is imminent after outlining his philosophy on the game.
"I am looking to go into coaching at the end of my career, and so I look at everybody and try to analyse what works and what doesn't," said Arteta, who has won two FA Cups with Arsenal, according to The Evening Standard. "I look at all the coaches and managers to see what problems they can create and how they do it. If you were to ask me about my philosophy as a coach – and I've been lucky to work under some of the very best coaches – I will want to play in the opposition half, and to be very aggressive.
"I want to have a very quick transition from defence to attack, and use the width of the pitch. I want speed, I want chances, and if the team we are playing against wants to defend in their own half, they are going to have to defend their own box a lot. I want my back four to be committed, and when we have the ball I want them to play without fear – to go on and attack. The quicker and higher we can the ball, the better. That's going to be my message as a coach, for sure."
Arteta is likely to be joined in leaving Arsenal by Mathieu Flamini and Tomas Rosicky, whose contracts both expire in the summer, with Wenger having offered none of the trio hope of an extension. Flamini has made 12 league starts this term, while knee problems have seen the Czech Republic international Rosicky fail to feature in the top flight.