Mikel Arteta has put pen to paper on a one-year contract extension. Arsenal and Arteta had come to an agreement months ago on a one-year extension but the Spaniard had yet to sign.
This means that Arteta, who participated in pre-season training with other members of the first squad yesterday, will travel with Arsenal on their pre-season tour of Singapore.
Arteta had a difficult season last year due to a rash of injuries and hasn’t featured for the first team since November. Ever the consummate professional, he still found ways to contribute to the team, namely through his leadership off the pitch.
Also in the news today is speculation in France that Ligue 1 club Bastia is interested in signing Mathieu Flamini. Flamini has one year left on his contract and became a peripheral member of the squad once Francis Coquelin emerged in January.
Both news items further clouds Arsene Wenger’s transfer intentions for the duration of the transfer window. It was believed that Wenger would be in the market for an additional defensive midfielder to provide cover and competition for Coquelin.
Now that Arteta is due to stay another year, it remains unclear if Wenger intends to bring in another midfielder, as Arteta is likely to serve as Coquelin’s backup.
It would not be surprising to see Flamini depart, nor would a departure change Wenger’s transfer plans. Youngster Kyrstian Bielik transferred to the club in January and he is considered to be a defensive midfielder for the future. Calum Chambers has been touted as a possible defensive midfielder in the future and both Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere are capable of playing as the anchor, although their abilities would be wasted in such a limited role.
Arteta is still a very capable player at the age of 33 and would provide adequate backup. However, he is does not provide an upgrade in quality that could push Arsenal closer to a title. At the same, the players who were on the market who might provide that upgrade in quality are not viable options for Arsenal anymore.
Morgan Schneiderlin is likely to sign for Manchester United in the next ten days, Ilkay Gundogan has signed a contract extension with Dortmund, Arsenal have stated they have no interest in Arturo Vidal, and Geoffrey Kondogbia signed for Inter Milan last month.
Arteta’s extension seems like a short-term solution and indicates that Wenger does not see a player on the market that represents value or an upgrade to what the squad has.