Arsenal have handed Mikel Arteta more power – and given him the title to boot.
The Spaniard was hired last December to replace Unai Emery as head coach.
But after a summer overhaul at boardroom level, and having led the Gunners to FA Cup and Community Shield success, Arteta has been named first-team manager – in the vein of Emery’s predecessor, Arsene Wenger.
Confirming the move on Thursday night, Arsenal chief executive Vinai Venkatesham – whose own job title has changed, having previously been managing director – says it is fully deserved for the work Arteta has done since his arrival.
“Mikel’s been here since the end of December and the last nine months have probably been the most challenging nine months in Arsenal’s history – and we’ve been around for 134 years” Venkatesham said, speaking on Arsenal’s official website.
“Despite all of those challenges, Mikel has been driving this football club forward.
“He has lifted the spirits and lifted the energy here at London Colney and with Arsenal fans all across the world.
“He is doing an absolutely phenomenal job.
“The other thing that’s clear is that right from the day he walked through the door, he was doing much more than being our head coach. So we’re going to be changing his job title going forward.
“He’ll move from head coach to be the first-team manager. That’s recognition of what he’s been doing from the day he walked in the door, but also where we see his capabilities.
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“He is doing a great job of coaching the first team and that’s his primary responsibility.
“But there is so much more that he can bring and that’s why we’re making this change, in recognition of his capabilities and also the job that he’s doing already.
“So in terms of how that will work, going forward Mikel will join a really strong team with Edu and they’ll be working really, really closely together to manage all the other elements of our football operations that are so important, whether that is analysis, recruitment, high performance or medical, they’ll be looking after those areas together.
“And they’ll also together be responsible for our technical recommendations, whether that’s players that we’re going to buy, whether that’s players that we’re going to sell, whether that’s players that we’re going to loan.
“Of course, working closely with me and the board and working closely with the owners on the financial elements to make final decisions.
“But those are going to be their responsibilities and I think we’re going to have a really dynamic team to drive this club forward.”
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