Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has admitted being sub-standard in his last season at the Emirates Stadium as he bows out of the game. The Spaniard is set to retire from football at the age of 34, and made just nine Premier League appearances in 2015/16, all from the bench.
The last two seasons has seen Arteta struggling with injuries, and he’s admitted being well below the level required to play for Arsenal. “I thought for the last few months I wasn’t good enough to represent this club on the pitch. It has been a long time to be playing football and I didn’t want to cheat them. It is time. I want to leave it like this,” he said.
“I haven’t been upset with the manager, I have been upset with myself. To play at this club, you have to be the best in your position. When you lose that, I think you should be away from this place. It cannot be eight out of 10. It has to be 10 out of 10. When you cannot deliver that, it is not good enough. Sometimes people get away with it. Inside myself, my gut wasn’t clean and when you are like this, I prefer to make the decision myself,” Arteta added.
Signed from Everton in 2011, the deep-lying playmaker has made 150 appearances, scoring 16 goals. He’s been a fantastic servant at a difficult time for Arsenal, and bows out at the right time in truth. Arteta’s contract was up in the summer and unlikely to be renewed, and the injury-laden 24 months have taken a toll on his body.
He was given a great ovation by the supporters in his last appearance for Arsenal, and will be remembered by many as good buy from Arsene Wenger.