Arsene Wenger has confirmed that captain Mikel Arteta has signed a one-year contract extension at the club after his current deal was set to expire this summer, he told our official website.
The delay in announcing Arteta’s contract led many to believe that the Spaniard may have been released this summer, but he wasn’t named on the list of players let go by the club at the beginning of this month (via Arsenal.com).
Arteta hasn’t featured for the first team since November after suffering ankle and calf problems which eventually forced him to undergo surgery.
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Wenger stated that Arteta’s experience played a key part in the decision to extend the 33-year-old’s contract.
“He will stay with us for one more year because he has extended his contract,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.
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“He’s one of the leaders in the club because he’s the captain of the team. I expect him to contribute much more than last season, but he also faces a battle.”
With the emergence of Francis Coquelin, Arteta may find first team opportunities hard to come by, but his experience and security in possession will be needed next season.
The reaction to this news may not be welcomed by fans if Wenger uses it as an excuse to suggest that we’re no longer in a need to add another holding midfielder.
Taking risks has handicapped our title chances in the past and Wenger backing Arteta to fill in should Coquelin pick up an injury is a gamble we cannot afford to take.