Arteta relaxed amid new contract talk: 'Things will happen naturally'

By Sports Desk February 23, 2022

Mikel Arteta is relaxed about his future as Arsenal coach following reports a new contract is on the cards.

Arteta took over from Unai Emery in 2019 and won the FA Cup in his first campaign, also guiding the club to an eighth-placed finish in the Premier League.

He has come under pressure both last term – when Arsenal finished eighth again to miss out on European football – and in the current season, with the Gunners getting off to a shaky start.

But Arteta is generally considered to have made progress at the club, as they head into Friday's clash with Wolves just four points behind fourth-placed Manchester United, who have played three games more.

Arsenal, then, are arguably the favourites to take the final Champions League qualification spot ahead of United, West Ham, Tottenham and Wolves.

Arteta's role in that does not appear to have gone unnoticed, with reports recently indicating he is in line for a new three-year contract – while not exactly forthcoming on the rumours, he was undoubtedly relaxed.

Asked what the club had said to him about a potential new deal, Arteta said: "Nothing, it's just that I am really happy here and my aim is to build with the club a winning team that people enjoy watching, identify with and that can transmit what we want football-wise and as an organisation.

"As you think, things will happen naturally, like things that have happened in the last few months and now our focus has to be delivering what we want."

A key focus ahead of Friday's match was the race for Champions League football, which was made all the more pertinent by the fact visitors Wolves are very much in the hunt.

While Bruno Lage's men are two points behind Arsenal, they have a couple of games in hand on West Ham and Man Utd as well – victories in those would have them level on 46 points with Ralf Rangnick's side.

Arteta is not getting carried away with Arsenal's standing, but he could not hide his desperation to return to Europe's elite competition.

"I do, a lot," Arteta replied when asked if he misses the Champions League. "As a player I have experiences and it's one of best feelings you can have, to be surrounded by opponents that are the best in the world and challenge yourself and evaluate yourself against that kind of opposition.

"As a club, you play in a competition that brings a different dimension to the club, different impact. It's a competition that's very attached to this club.

"I'm happy with the direction we are taking, not happy with where we are. We want to be competing, challenging the best in the league in consecutive seasons."

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