Mikel Arteta named Arsenal head coach

Mikel Arteta has been named the new Arsenal head coach on a 3½-year deal, the club confirmed on Friday.

"This is a huge honour. Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world," Arteta said.

"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."

Sources had told ESPN that Arteta was set for the job at the Emirates, and he has now left his position as Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City to take over from Freddie Ljungberg, who had been in charge as a caretaker following Unai Emery's sacking on Nov. 29.

Arteta's arrival brings an end to a frantic search for Emery's successor, with Carlo Ancelotti, Massimiliano Allegri, Mauricio Pochettino, Marcelino and Patrick Vieira among those considered. Allegri, though, has told ESPN he will not take on a new job until the summer following his exit from Juventus.

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Asked at his introductory news conference why he took the job now, Arteta said: "Sometimes in this industry you can have a plan and an idea of how to develop. And then emotions get involved. When Arsenal knock the door, and it touches my heart, it makes it very difficult [to say no].

"It was a very difficult decision. But I felt the club needed someone to appoint. They were so convinced they wanted me that I said I have to take the challenge."

Arteta, who said he'd give "every drop of blood to make this football club better," added that his first order of business is to inject some life back into the club.

"First thing to do is change the energy. Last week I was here with Manchester City and I was a little down after the game. We have to try to engage everyone. We have to convince the players of what I want and how I want to do it. They have to accept a different way of thinking," he said.

"I want to get all the staff with the same mindset. We have to build a culture to sustain the rest. After that we can talk about other things. We need to start winning games and raising the level of confidence of the players.

"Finally we need to engage the fans and transmit with our behaviours our intentions of what we want to bring. We have to plug these things together. There is so much to do, I'm so excited."

Emery was appointed as Arsenal head coach in May 2018, signing a two-year deal with the option of a third. But after a promising debut season ended with a 4-1 defeat to Chelsea in the Europa League final, Emery was sacked last month after the club's worst start to a season in 27 years.

Ljungberg was placed in temporary charge but has won just once in five matches. After a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City last time out in the league, Ljungberg called on the club's hierarchy to make a definitive decision over management.

Arteta will officially start work on Sunday, with Ljungberg taking charge of Arsenal's match at Everton on Saturday.

Josh Kroenke, speaking on behalf of the Arsenal board and owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, said in a news release: "We're delighted to be bringing Mikel back to Arsenal.

"He knows our expectations and those of our fans around the world are high and we are confident he can play a lead role in taking the club back to the levels we all demand.

"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."