For the second time in 10 days the agent of Mikel Arteta has dismissed suggestions that the Spaniard could leave Arsenal this summer.
The 32-year-old had been lazily linked with Athletic Bilbao – he’s Basque-born and a defensive midfielder therefore a perfect replacement for Ander Herrera (duh) – before rumours of a switch to Fiorentina found traction in the Italian press.
Discounting the fact Arteta enjoys the Uffizi’s Renaissance masterpieces and that his client has long harboured an ambition to experience the novelty of living on a bridge, Inaki Ibanez made clear to Radio Blu that his client won’t be leaving the Emirates.
“The player has no intention of leaving London,” said Ibanez as clearly as f*cking possible.
“We have not spoken to any club and I would like to remind everyone that we are talking about the Arsenal [vice] captain, with all respect for Fiorentina.”
Arteta spoke earlier in the summer about the prospect of a new contract at Arsenal hoping the club would make an offer based on his important contribution in recent seasons rather than his age.
“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.”
Since signing from Everton on deadline day in August 2011 Arteta has made 118 starts for the Gunners. To put that in perspective he’s not far behind Abou Diaby (135) who has been at the club three times as long. Granted, he may not be as glamorous as some of his midfield cohorts but he’s adapted his game to become an integral cog in Arsene Wenger’s squad and his experience is vital.
It’s good news that he’s not looking elsewhere and that any new signing in his position will be able to call on his advice for another 12 months at least.