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Mikel Arteta’s return to Arsenal as manager has been confirmed after the former midfielder quit his role as No 2 to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City to sign a three-and-a-half year contract with the Gunners.

Arteta said in a statement: ‘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.’

The Spaniard has returned to his former club as the long-term replacement for Unai Emery

The 37-year old made 150 appearances for the Gunners after joining the club back in 2011

Arsenal confirmed in their statement that Arteta’s support staff will be confirmed ‘as soon as possible’, while temporary boss Freddie Ljungberg’s future remains unclear for now.

He was initially expected to be in charge for Arsenal’s game against Everton on Saturday with Arteta watching on, however that could change.

Josh Kroenke, son of owner Stan, said he was ‘delighted to bring Mikel back to Arsenal’.

Arteta has left his role as Pep Guardiola’s (left) assistant at Manchester City

He added: ‘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.’

Head of football Raul Sanllehi said: ‘We met several top-class candidates and Mikel stood out to every single one of us as the perfect person for us.

‘Mikel understands Arsenal Football Club and what it means to our fans around the world. We look forward to him getting down to work and bringing the best out of our squad as we work to get our season back on track.’

The Gunners are in poor shape and lost against Man City at the weekend – they have won just one of their last five games

The appointment comes after Manchester City boss had confirmed that Arteta was in London less than an hour before the announcement to seal the deal.

‘He’s in London and close to finishing the deal with Arsenal. It’s almost done. Yesterday and today he didn’t train and he’s going to Arsenal. I don’t know the last details of the contract but it’s there.’

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