Arsenal have announced the appointment of former Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta as their new head coach.
The 37-year-old Spaniard, a former Gunners captain, has agreed a three-and-a-half-year contract to succeed Unai Emery, who was sacked last month.
Arteta played more than 100 times for Arsenal – his final club before retiring. He joined City’s coaching staff in 2016 and will now embark on his first managerial post at his old club.
Sunday’s 3-0 defeat to City increased the need for the Gunners to end the uncertainty over the manager’s position, leaving the club as close to the relegation zone as they are to the top four.
Interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg replaced Emery but has won just one of his four Premier League games at the helm, while the club are on a run of only one win from their last 12 fixtures.
Arteta told the club’s official website: “This is a huge honour. Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world. We need to be competing for the top trophies in the game and that’s been made very clear to me in my discussions with Stan and Josh Kroenke, and the senior people from the club.
“We all know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve that but I am confident we’ll do it. I’m realistic enough to know it won’t happen overnight but the current squad has plenty of talent and there is a great pipeline of young players coming through from the academy.”
Josh Kroenke, speaking on behalf of the Arsenal board and our owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, said: “We’re delighted to be bringing Mikel back to Arsenal. He knows our expectations and those of our fans around the world are high and we are confident he can play a lead role in taking the club back to the levels we all demand.
“I also want to thank Freddie Ljungberg for skilfully guiding us through the last three weeks. He stepped up at short notice and has helped us through this difficult period with great professionalism.”
Head of football Raul Sanllehi said: “We met several top-class candidates and Mikel stood out to every single one of us as the perfect person for us. Mikel understands Arsenal Football Club and what it means to our fans around the world. We look forward to him getting down to work and bringing the best out of our squad as we work to get our season back on track.
“I must also pay tribute to Freddie Ljungberg for his hard work and leadership. Together with Per Mertesacker, he has done a vital job for us in difficult circumstances. Freddie and Per are important parts of the Arsenal family and care deeply for this club.”