Mikel Arteta could quit Arsenal after fourth-placed finish claims Gary Neville

Mikel Arteta on Arsenal's England quartet

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Manchester United hero Gary Neville believes Mikel Arteta could quit Arsenal if his side secure Champions League football at the end of the season. The Gunners have climbed to fourth in the Premier League table after a stellar run of form.

The north Londoners endured a miserable start to the campaign as they fell to the bottom of the table after losing their opening three matches. But Arteta has worked wonders since then and Arsenal are now in the driving seat to claim fourth-place.

If they can see-off the likes of United and Tottenham to cement the final Champions League spot, it would represent a hugely successful season for the club. And Neville believes Arteta wouldn’t be able to achieve anything better than that in the future if he stayed.

“If Mikel Arteta finishes fourth this season – which I think to be fair is 50-50 – I think it’s a long way to go, if he finishes fourth he almost in some ways is as good as he can probably get,” Neville said during a fan debate on his show The Overlap.

“Pep [Guardiola], [Jurgen] Klopp, United, Chelsea – where can you go? Because they’re not going to compete.

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“Mikel Arteta for me is a brilliant coach. I love the idea that when I see a team I can see the maximum is being achieved with those players. I can see exactly how he wants to play, we all can. But if he gets to fourth, if he was really hard about it he’d probably say, ‘right that’s the best I can do there, I’m going now – I’m going to do my next job.”

Arteta took the helm at the Emirates Stadium at the end of 2019 and led the side to the FA Cup final less than eight months later. But he has only been able secure two eighth-placed Premier League finishes during his time in charge.

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The 40-year-old is starting to build an exciting young team in north London, however, and has helped unearth the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Gabriel Martinelli over the last couple of years. And they have rewarded him with a string of top performances.

Arteta has also illustrated his no-nonsense approach by banishing the club’s second most expensive signing ever Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the team following a disciplinary breach and allowing the star to cancel his contract and sign for Barcelona.

The Gunners have come a long way this season but will need serious investment if they are to compete for Premier League honours in the years to come. And it remains to be seen whether Arteta fancies the challenge of helping the team kick-on to the next level.

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