MIKEL ARTETA has been appointed the new Arsenal manager on a three-and-a-half-year contract, replacing Unai Emery at the Emirates.
The former Gunners skipper, 37, will finally take over at the North London club on Sunday.
Upon his arrival, Arteta told Arsenal’s website: “This is a huge honor. 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.”
“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.”
Arteta was at the Emirates on Sunday as he helped Pep Guardiola mastermind a comfortable 3-0 win for Manchester City over Ljungberg’s Gunners.
But after three and a half years working under Guardiola, he is now taking his first job as a head coach – and has the daunting task of trying to get his new side back into contention of qualifying for the Champions League.
Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi is delighted to have secured his man.
He told arsenal.com: “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.”
Arteta spent the final five years of his playing career at Arsenal and was appointed club captain in 2014 before hanging up his boots and joining Guardiola’s coaching staff at the Etihad.
The ex-Everton midfielder was heavily linked with the job when Arsene Wenger left last year before the club turned to former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain chief Emery.
Now 18 months on, Arteta takes over from Emery, who struggled during his tenure and was sacked last month.