The Gunners’ chief executive Vinai Venkatesham has explained the subtle change, in recognition of the Spaniard’s promising start at Emirates Stadium
Mikel Arteta looks set to be granted extra responsibility at Arsenal after having his official title changed from ‘head coach’ to ‘first-team manager’.
The Gunners confirmed the switch on Thursday as Arteta looks to take his side up the Premier League table.
After a poor start under Unai Emery, Arteta could only guide Arsenal to eighth in 2019-20, but there were clear signs of their potential as they beat Manchester City and Chelsea to win the FA Cup – as well as wins over Liverpool in the league and Community Shield.
“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. Despite all of those challenges, Mikel has been driving this football club forward,” chief executive Vinai Venkatesham said.
“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.
“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.”
Arsenal begin the 2020-21 Premier League season with a short trip to newly-promoted Fulham on Saturday, before their first home fixture against West Ham seven days later.
The Gunners then face Leicester in the Carabao Cup, before an away fixture against English champions Liverpool in their final game of September.