Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has revealed that he could have pursued a career in professional tennis - rather than football - as a youngster.

31-year-old Arteta, who moved to the Emirates Stadium from Premier League rivals Everton in the summer of 2011, has impressed Gunners fans since his arrival and has gradually cemented his position as an integral figure in the Arsenal midfield.

Yet despite his obvious talents as a footballer, Spaniard Arteta, who has previously represented Rangers and Paris Saint-Germain, has stated that he could have turned his back on the so-called 'beautiful game' and instead could have become a professional tennis player.

"I was a really good tennis player when I was young," Arteta was quoted by the Daily Mirror.

"At some stage I had to choose whether I would be a professional tennis player or a professional football player. Hopefully I made the right choice."

Arteta, who has been restricted to just two Premier League appearances so far this season after battling a painful torn quadricep, will be presumably desperate to feature during the Gunners' potentially tricky Champions League clash against Serie A giants Napoli on Tuesday evening after enjoying a 13-minute cameo in Saturday's impressive 2-1 win over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

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