Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta is not the youngest man around. The 33-year old is no longer physically capable of playing every week in the Premier League, and has struggled to break back into the first team despite being club captain. The Spaniard is still a competent player – his positioning and passing abilities cannot be questioned – but with the rise of Francis Coquelin, his playing days for the club are arguably numbered.
He has served Arsenal well, despite being played out of his natural position by manager Arsene Wenger. During his earlier days at Everton, Arteta was a much more advanced player, performing the role that Santi Cazorla does for us now. After joining the Gunners however, the manager shifted him into a deeper role that was much more defensively minded. He coped well and was a regular starter during his first few seasons at the Emirates, but now he lacks the physical abilities needed to perform well at that position.
Arteta has always been accepting of his role at the club, and while other players might have been frustrated at the lack of playing time, the Spaniard has recognised that it is for the good of the team. Similarly, now that his age is catching up with him, Arteta looks to be quietly setting up a career off the playing field. According to reports in social media (via the Metro), the veteran midfielder is looking to enter the coaching field; perhaps at Arsenal itself.
Mikel Arteta coached Arsenal U16s today. Definitely seems to be gearing towards a coaching career once he retires.
— Jeorge Bird (@jeorgebird) October 5, 2015
He certainly has the experience for the role, and will follow in the footsteps of players like Thierry Henry, who coached the Arsenal Under-19’s ahead of their UEFA Youth League fixtures.