Mikel Arteta admits he does not yet know what he will do when his contract at the North London club expires at the end of the season.
Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has told Spanish outlet El Confidencial that it is not just the media who are guessing as to what he will do upon leaving the club, revealing he is still uncertain about his own future.
The Gunners captain, who turns 34 later this month, is widely expected to leave the Emirates Stadium when his current contract expires at the end of the season after playing an increasingly marginalised role at the club in recent years.
Injuries and increased midfield competition have restricted the former Everton man to just 23 competitive matches in nearly two years since leading the club to victory in the 2014 FA Cup final against Hull City.
Arteta's compatriot and club teammate Hector Bellerin is amongst those who have tipped the Spaniard to go into coaching, but the man himself admits he still has not made any decisions regarding his future.
He told El Confidencial, as quoted by the London Evening Standard: "Right now I’m just focused on contributing to the team on the pitch, we have an exciting end of the season looming and hopefully we’ll win the Premier League.
"The next chapter is more complicated. Today, I’m not sure on my plans. Obviously, it’s not impossible to think three months ahead when my contract ends here, but I won’t be thinking objectively until I have had two or three weeks without training.
"I don’t want to make any decisions without knowing for sure how I am and what I want to do able getting back in the ring."
The experienced star, who has nearly 550 competitive senior appearances under his belt for clubs including the Gunners, the Toffees, and Rangers, has been linked with a return to his boyhood club Barcelona in some capacity.
Arteta played for the Catalan clubs' academy and reserve sides from the age of 15 until leaving for Glasgow at 19 in 2002, and a return to the club to work on Luis Enrique's coaching staff is a possibility.
He has also been linked with a possible move to stay in the Premier League by linking up Manchester City under the new management of Pep Guardiola, who was starring for the Barca first team while Arteta was developing at La Masia.