Mikel Arteta retires from Arsenal to join Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff at Manchester City

Arteta also confirmed his retirement from playing after a five-year stint with Arsenal, during which time he won two FA Cups. Kelechi Iheanacho will not represent Nigeria at the Olympics so he can impress Guardiola.

(Jaime Puebla/The National)
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Mikel Arteta has left Arsenal to join Manchester City in a coaching role under new manager Pep Guardiola.

The 34-year-old also confirmed his retirement from playing after a five-year stint with the Gunners, during which time he won two FA Cups.

The former Everton and Rangers midfielder, who started his career at Barcelona, has been a rumoured target of Guardiola since the Spaniard’s appointment as City boss in February.

“Following recent media speculation surrounding my future I can confirm that I will be leaving Arsenal and retiring from playing to take up a coaching position at Manchester City,” Arteta wrote on Twitter.

“I’ve enjoyed an amazing five years at Arsenal and it’s been an honour and a privilege to captain such a great club.

“I am now looking forward to the challenge ahead at Manchester City. The opportunity to join Pep Guardiola and his team was an amazing opportunity for me and I am incredibly excited for the future.”

Arteta thanked Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, his team-mates and the supporters, while reflecting on a memorable spell in north London.

The path from the Emirates Stadium to the Etihad Stadium is a well-worn one, with Arteta following Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Bacary Sagna, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri to Manchester.

Patrick Vieira, another former Gunners captain, also began his coaching career at City. The Frenchman is now boss of New York City FC, who are owned by Manchester City.

Arteta says he has long considered a coaching role and aims to be part of a successful group at City.

“Throughout my career I have always been interested in more than just the playing side and have had a passion for helping progress and develop the team outside of just my own role as a player,” added Arteta, who has been troubled by injuries in recent seasons.

“Coaching has always been something I’ve been keen to go in to and over the past few years I’ve worked hard off the pitch as well as on it to develop my skills in order to put me in a position to be able to pursue a coaching role once I finished playing.

“I have been lucky enough to play under some amazing coaches and managers during my playing career and I hope to use elements of everything I’ve learnt from them as well as experience from my own playing career to help City achieve success.”

Kelechi Iheanacho ready to miss Olympics so he can impress Guardiola

Kelechi Iheanacho has accepted he will not fulfil his wish to represent Nigeria at this summer’s Olympics as he instead prepares to impress new Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

The 19-year-old striker was included in the African nation’s 35-man provisional squad for the Games last month, along with fellow Premier League players such as Odion Ighalo, Alex Iwobi and John Obi Mikel.

However, with the tournament beginning on August 3, Iheanacho would miss City’s pre-season preparations in Asia and the first few weeks of new boss Guardiola’s reign were he to head to Rio with his international colleagues.

Furthermore, were Nigeria to progress beyond the group stage, Iheanacho would be absent for the opening of the new Premier League season so, while the teenager was prepared to answer his country’s call, he is understanding of why City are keen to keep him in their fold.

“It’s up to the club and country to decide what is going to happen,” he said.

“If your country wants you to play, you really want to go and play as well. (But) It’s not my intention to decide.”

Having scored 14 times last term, the hope for Iheanacho will be that he can continue his progress under Guardiola’s guidance.

“I think everyone knows about him,” the Nigerian added.

“He’s a great manager. He’s coached great teams - Barcelona, Bayern Munich. He’s done great for all the teams, I think.

“I watched Barcelona. He’s a great manager, they played really well, were a great team and won trophies.

“He has a good record working with young players I think and I don’t think this will be an exception. He’s going to prepare the young players and they’re going to improve.”

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