The Spaniard, who has just a year left on his current contract with the Gunners, has been linked with a move to Athletic Bilbao as a possible replacement for Ander Herrera, who has signed for Manchester United.
But those runours have been put to bed after the player’s representative Inaki Ibanez insisted that there is no chance of his client leaving Emirates Stadium ahead of next season. He said:
This is totally false. Mikel has no interest in leaving Arsenal.
The 32 year old, who joined Arsenal from Everton back in 2011, made 31 Premier League appearances for Arsene Wenger’s side last season, scoring two goals and remained the fulcrum of our midfield for large parts of the campaign.
Arteta got battered with a lot of criticism for his performances at times last season, which was a little unfair. He entered the season as the Gunners primary defensive midfielder, though injury meant that he did not get his first start of the season until September. Flamini’s injury allowed him to settle down into a partnership with the flourishing Aaron Ramsey and the two excelled together in many vital wins in the early part of the campaign.
During that period he showed positional discipline and sense to cover Aaron Ramsey’s bursts forward and by setting the tempo of Arsenal’s attack with his passing game. In some games, he was a little unadventurous with his passing but that also has to do with the movement ahead of him.
The Spaniard struggled in the absence of Aaron Ramsey and his struggles were particularly highlighted in the big defeats against Liverpool, Chelsea and City, for which he was assigned a lot of blame. While some of that can be attributed to the fact that Arteta’s legs are slowing, any defensive midfielder in the world would have struggled in Arsenal’s absurd defensive set-up in those games.
The Gunners will likely look to upgrade on Arteta this summer, but he is still a valuable part of the squad. He provides the experience and game intelligence that Arsene Wenger wants and when alongside Ramsey, his intelligence will allow the Welshman to flourish. He is ageing, which has affected performances, but he has shown more than enough to prove that he can still be a viable option in the Gunners starting eleven.
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