London (AFP) – Mikel Arteta wants to take Arsenal to the “next level” after signing a new three-year contract that will keep him at the Premier League club until 2025.
The 40-year-old, who took charge in 2019 following the dismissal of Unai Emery, is close to leading Arsenal back into the Champions League after a five-year absence.
The Gunners are fourth in the Premier League table, two points clear of north London rivals Tottenham with just four games to go.
“We want to take the club to the next level and to compete really with the top teams. In order to do that, we have to be playing in the Champions League,” Arteta said in a club statement.
“We have to be able to evolve the team, improve our players, improve all departments, generate even more connection with our fans, improve the atmosphere at the Emirates, be able to recruit top, top talent and the best people for this club to drive this project to that level.”
Arteta, who won the FA Cup during his first year in charge at the Emirates, has steered Arsenal back towards the top of the table after their worst start to a season for decades.
The Spaniard was facing calls for his sacking back in September but he has been rewarded for keeping faith with his young players as well as cutting ties with club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who moved to Barcelona in January.
Arsenal have enjoyed impressive recent wins over Manchester United and Chelsea to take control of fourth place but face a potentially decisive derby against Spurs next week.
Arteta, whose team host struggling Leeds on Sunday, revealed at his pre-match press conference that he was offered the new contract after Arsenal suffered successive defeats against Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton last month.
The former Gunners midfielder took that as a sign of how committed the club were to him.
“The club offered me the contract when we lost three matches,” he said. “That doesn’t happen in football.
“That’s a part of what they think, the conversations that I had, the belief that they have in myself, the coaching staff, in what we are doing and the people that we have now owning this football club and leading this football club.”
Arteta hopes the new deal will prove a boost to his squad as they battle to return to the Champions League.
“They thought the best moment was to do it right now, to give a final push to the team, to give some clarity about what we have to do in the summer, in the future,” he said.
Arsenal women’s manager, Jonas Eidevall, whose side are challenging for the Women’s Super League title, has signed a new deal taking him to the end of the 2023/24 season.
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