Arsenal has offered a one year extension to captain, Mikel Arteta, extending the Spaniard’s stay at the Emirates till 2015.
The 33 year old midfielder was signed on deadline day in 2011, the day after Arsenal got battered at Old Trafford, and was brought in as part of an SOS mission to save the season. Arteta has since played a key role for Wenger, first as the main support to the defensive midfielder, and more recently as the main pivot of the team. His calmness on the ball and ability to co-ordinate play in deep positions saw him shouldered with more responsibilities for the team, first as deputy to erstwhile captain Thomas Vermaelen and now as the Captain.
His experience and influence in the dressing room means Wenger must have had a good reason to offer Arteta an extension, even with the further option of an extra year beyond the 2015/2016 season based on a certain number of games played and other details.
The general view of most gooners is that Arteta has undoubtedly been the loyal servant to the club having come in as part of the rescue squad in 2011. He has been relied on by Wenger to operate in the defensive midfield, acting as the man who balances play. Arteta, though, has never been a defensive midfielder and though he had done pretty well over the past few years, it is only reasonable that we get the proper man for the job.
The continuous lack of a strong imposing defending midfielder to break up play as well as to balance it has been one gaping hole in our set up this season. With the likes of Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla and Ozil all being wonderful at creating and attacking, we still need to sign a core defensive minded player – not one who is so by nurture but by nature, and there is certainly no shortage of names available.
Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin and Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira are both renowned and accomplished defensive midfielders and the fact their contract situations at both clubs currently hang on the defence – with Schneiderlin still pushing for a big-club move – must give us the incentive to make a move. While PSG’s Adrien Rabiot may be looking beyond reach at this stage, PSG’s big rivals Monaco have an equally gifted young lad in Geoffrey Kondogbia who could do our midfield a world of good.
Retaining our experienced players must be vital for bringing the youngsters up to speed with what is required to don the red and white of the Arsenal. Yet, that shouldn’t be a limitation that we do not go all out to get the quality we need to actually fulfill the glory attached to the cannon. It is not enough to sign Flamini on a free and give Arteta one year after another and then hope on a miracle to survive. For all the praise given to Fabregas and Hazard at Chelsea, it is the presence of Nemanja Matic that really makes them thick and solid.
For a team who once had Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva, we should know better than rely on JUST Arteta for another year or two. Arteta’s new deal shouldn’t be a guarantee that he remains the team’s defensive midfielder, even if it does mean that Wilshere will have to wait a little longer to get the rope round his arm.
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