Arsene Wenger has thanked Mikel Arteta for his contribution at Arsenal over the years after confirming the veteran Spanish midfielder will leave the Emirates this summer.
The 34-year-old has been heavily linked with a coaching role alongside incoming Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, whom he knows from their days at Barcelona.
San Sebastian-born Arteta is a close friend of Guardiola and his fitness coach Lorenzo Buenaventura, and reports in February claimed he was a recent visitor to Bayern Munich’s Sabener Strasse training complex to meet with Guardiola.
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“It is true that he is out of contract here and his contract finishes,” said Wenger at his press conference on Friday. “It is a good opportunity for me to thank him for his contribution, not only as a player but also as a leader. I heard about that (City) possibility.
“He is able to inform you much better than I. He is free to decide what he wants.
“I still think he can play and in the last months he has come back to a very good physical level. He is in a position today to continue to play. He would still be a very good player.”
Arteta joined Arsenal in a £10million deal on August transfer deadline day, 2011. He has made 148 appearances in all competitions for the club, scoring 16 goals. But he has only made two starts and 11 sub appearances this season.
Asked whether there were opportunities for players to become coaches at Arsenal, Wenger added: “The door is always open for players to get their coaching licenses.”