LONDON: Arsenal have confirmed the appointment of former captain Mikel Arteta as their new head coach.

The Spaniard has signed a three-and-a-half year deal with the Gunners, beginning on Sunday following their game against Everton.

Arteta replaces Unai Emery, who was sacked following a poor run of form that left Arsenal trailing in the race for the top-four.

He had been working as an assistant coach under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, but now embarks upon his first job in management.

On his move, Arteta said: “This is a huge honour. Arsenal is one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“We need to be competing for the top trophies in the game and that’s been made very clear to me in my discussions with Stan and Josh Kroenke, and the senior people from the club.

“We all know there is a lot of work to be done to achieve that but I am confident we’ll do it. I’m realistic enough to know it won’t happen overnight but the current squad has plenty of talent and there is a great pipeline of young players coming through from the academy.”

Arsenal director Josh Kroenke added: “We’re delighted to be bringing Mikel back to Arsenal.

“He knows our expectations and those of our fans around the world are high and we are confident he can play a lead role in taking the club back to the levels we all demand.

“I also want to thank Freddie Ljungberg for skilfully guiding us through the last three weeks. He stepped up at short notice and has helped us through this difficult period with great professionalism.”

The Gunners have paid their Premier League rivals £2m in compensation to secure Arteta’s services.

It is understood that the new Arsenal manager gave an emotional speech to the players and staff at City on Thursday before travelling down to London to complete the formalities of his move back to the Emirates.

As a player at the club, Arteta won the FA Cup in 2013/14 and then again in 2014/15 – captaining the side for their first success in the final against Hull.

Arsene Wenger, who was the manager while Arteta was at the club, has previously said that his former midfielder would be suitable for the role.

“Does he have all the qualities to do the job? Yes,” he told The Guardian in 2018.

“He was a leader and he has a good passion for the game and he knows the club well.

“He knows what is important at the club and he was captain of the club. So why not?”

Pep Guardiola expects Mikel Arteta to “do an excellent job” as Arsenal’s new manager.

“He decided to move there. You know when you have dreams,” Guardiola said.

“You cannot stop it. Follow your dreams and Arsenal was a big part of his career as a football player and he’s back at home.

“That’s important to him and (Arsenal are) one of the best teams in England

“We wish him all the best. I’m pretty sure he will do an excellent job.”