Mikel Arteta believes his experience should be taken into account when he sits down with the club to discuss a new contract this summer and thinks Arsenal should bend on their long-standing policy of offering short terms deals for players over 30.
One of only a handful of first team players who’ve not yet put pen-to-paper on a new deal, the 32-year-old, who signed from Everton in 2011, admits he needs to feel wanted by Arsene Wenger before committing to an extension.
Speaking to the Guardian, the Spaniard said: “I don’t value players by age. Whether it is [Tomas] Rosicky or Jack Wilshere, I analyse many other things before age.
“Age can be an asset for the club. For me, a much bigger asset is someone who has played 125 games in three years compared to someone who has played 25, if he is 20 years old. That’s my opinion.
“I understand the club point of view: ‘Mikel is not a £25m player because he is not 22 any more.’ But I know what else I can give. So it’s to find the right balance between mentalities. We need to analyse and talk about it.
“I know the history of this club with players over 30 and I don’t know if they are planning to change it or maintain it.
“I will give them my opinion. I will talk to them this summer and see what they want to do. I am only going to stay if they really want me to stay and I feel productive.
“The day I feel like I can’t perform, I will be the first one to say: ‘Listen, you have kids here, 20, 25, who are much better than me. It’s my time to move on.’ They’re not going to have a problem with me with that.”
You can’t really argue with Mikel on that, he’s got a big decision on his hands with one final contract left in him before he thinks about retiring. He may not have set the world alight like an Ozil or a Cazorla but since arriving in the aftermath of the Old Trafford debacle a few years back he’s been a steady and consistent presence whose maturity has been nothing but a filip for the younger squad members.
The question is really whether Arteta is going to be considered first pick for that defensive midfield position and if he’s not, whether he’d be happy playing back-up to a new signing. We’ll have to see.