Mikel Arteta’s agent has dismissed speculation that his client could be leaving Arsenal this summer and heading back to Spain.
The experienced midfielder has been suggested as a replacement for Ander Herrera at Athletic Bilbao but his agent Inaki Ibanez says reports of an imminent £3 million bid are misguided.
“The representative of Mikel Arteta Inaki Ibanez told MD that reports from last Friday over a £3 million offer for the midfielder in the coming weeks are ‘false’” reports Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo.
It’s obvious why Athletic Bilbao appear keen to sign Arteta because he’s a top quality, consistent and experienced midfielder.
He’s also a leader having captained Arsenal on numerous occasions, providing Bilbao with something different to the youthful and more dynamic figure of Herrera in the middle of their team.
That position has seen him have to change his natural game slightly and he could benefit from a move further forward into a direct central midfield role should Arsene Wenger sign a cast iron defensive midfielder this summer.
His contract with the Gunners doesn’t expire until the end of next season and if Wenger isn’t thinking about extending that deal, now or January, is the only time that Arsenal can expect to get a fee for the 32-year-old.
However, on the back of a successful season it may be naïve for Wenger to let one of his most experienced players leave when there is the potential for several new faces to settle into the Arsenal side next season.
There’s every chance the Gunners could try and keep Arteta for the rest of his career and his agent’s comments certainly suggest that he’s not keen to leave the Gunners any time soon.