Mikel Arteta's agent comments on Fiorentina speculation

Arteta Arsenal

Spanish midfielder has been linked with a move to Serie A in the latest Arsenal transfer news but his agent has now commented on the issue.

Mikel Arteta, 32, has been attracting overseas interest as Fiorentina are reportedly interested in making an offer for the Arsenal midfielder, however, according to the player's representative, no bid - or indeed any dialogue - has yet been attempted.

Inaki Ibanez said on Radio Blu Toscana: "I have never spoken with Fiorentina. Mikel has one year more on his contract and he has no desire to go away from Arsenal. I have not spoken with any club. With all due respect to Fiorentina, he is fine [at Arsenal] and he does not want to leave."

Cultured passer Arteta sees the terms on his Gunners deal expire next summer and the club face a dilemma over whether to extend his contract or cash-in on the player.

  NationTouches /AppPass /AppPass AccChances CreatedAssistTackle /AppIntercept /AppClean SheetAppMin
Arteta Arsenal 82.7 69.4 92.1 19 0 3.4 2.1 10 31 2,407

Since transferring from Everton in 2011, Arteta has proven to be a reliable asset and, just last season, returned good statistics in key areas: he received a touch on the football 82 times on a per game average, attempted almost 70 passes per match with a 92% accuracy which created 19 goal-scoring opportunities.

Defensively he was also on point as he attempted 3.4 tackles and 2.1 interceptions per appearance, which contributed to ten clean sheets.

The way modern football has developed though and, considering Arsenal's 4-2-3-1 system, there is seemingly no room for a player like Arteta in the '2' in Arsene Wenger's aforementioned set-up when it comes to competing against the elite-level clubs domestically and abroad.

Against clubs who finished the season higher in the Premier League table than Arsenal, the Gunners midfield was exposed.

Jose Mourinho demonstrated the importance of fielding two defensive minded operators in midfield to provide a stringent shield in front of a traditional back four during big matches and either a: Wenger's naivety in tactical planning or b: the lack of quality personnel, proved costly as the Gunners shipped multiple goals to Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City.

Arsenal have been linked with players who can remedy this - such as Sami Khedira, Javi Martinez or Lars Bender - and any one of these athletes would help tidy up the base of midfield when partnering the more box-to-box types like Mathieu Flamini or Aaron Ramsey.

Such an acquisition would push Arteta to the fringes of the first-team but, rather than face the prospect of losing the player on a free basis (like Bacary Sagna to City), Wenger must surely be tempted to cash-in now, even if the club were to receive no more than his transfermarkt.co.uk valuation of £7 million.

Considering wages, though, Wenger would stand to save over £10 million, which would no doubt go a long way in helping fund the packages for potential recruits like Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and Khedira.

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