London: Coach Arsene Wenger thanked outgoing midfielder Mikel Arteta on Friday for his contribution to English football club Arsenal, both as a player and a leader.
The manager confirmed the midfielder could leave the club when his contract expires at the end of the season, after captaining the team to two FA Cup victories during his five years at the club.
Arteta’s next step could be into coaching and, with reports linking the 34-year-old with various roles next season, Wenger took the opportunity to pay tribute to a “great leader”.
“It is true that he is out of contract here and when his contract finishes it is a good opportunity for me to thank him for his contribution, not only as a player but also as a great leader,” he told Arsenal’s official website.
“What kind of orientation will he give now to his career? I heard about (coaching) as a possibility, but he could inform you much better than I can. He is free to decide to do what he wants, he will certainly need some time to reflect on whether he continues to play.”
Wenger added Arteta is still in good shape to continue playing.
“I still think he can play, in the last months he has come back to a very good physical level and he is in a position today where he can continue to play and he would be a very good player everywhere.”