New Arsenal manager Mikel Aretata has revealed he predicted his return to the club as a manager upon playing his final game for the club in 2016.
After ending his career with five seasons at the Gunners, Arteta hung up his boots and immediately set out on becoming a coach.
While his managerial pursuits initially took him to Manchester City as Pep Guardiola’s assistant, the Spaniard always envisaged himself returning to the Emirates as their boss.
“I remember the last time I was going down the tunnel, with my kids in my arms, I said to my wife, ‘One day I will come back here as the manager’,” Arteta told Arsenal’s club website.
“It has come a little quicker than I expected but that was a dream.
“I’ve got more family now – I’ve got more kids! I’ve had more experiences but I had a very clear idea of what I wanted to do so, two years before my retirement, I started to do my coaching badges.
“I already had that feeling that I wanted to try this game over that line, and I am really happy where I am.”
Arteta’s first game in charge saw Arsenal fight back to claim a 1-1 draw against Bournemouth with the Gunners moving to 12th in the Premier League.
Arsenal next face Chelsea at home on Sunday with their new manager quickly pinpointing where he’d like to see improvements from his side.
“I would like to start to see a little bit more control in some situations, and more awareness of why things happened,” Arteta said.
“The players have to understand two seconds earlier the picture that is coming, and where the solutions are. But that will come over time. They will pick it up.
“We don’t have much time to train in, I only have I think two sessions in one week with the starting XI, which is nothing. But through video, through talks, through individual meetings, slowly, they have to embrace that information…and we will start to build some fundamentals and principles that as a team will help them.
“There is a still a big room for improvement, but that’s every day, being on their toes, being demanding with them, being challenging with them, and convincing them that if they do that, straight away they don’t have to run as far, they will be more organised, they won’t fight with each other because one is not doing what is required, and they will control the games better.”