Arsenal: Arteta details plan to return to top four
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Mikel Arteta has refused to rule out a future move away from Arsenal to take charge of Barcelona, according to reports. The Spaniard, who began his playing career with the Catalan giants, has been linked with an imminent return in a managerial capacity with the future of current boss Ronald Koeman far from certain.
Barca president Joan Laporta appears to have developed a rift with the 58-year-old in recent days amid suggestions that the latter could be relieved of his duties within the next two weeks.
Reports in Spain have claimed that the club will spend a fortnight searching for a new boss, but will stick with Koeman if they are unable to find a top-quality successor.
The Barca manager’s agent has also been angered by recent comments from Laporta, who told reporters on Friday that the Dutchman was admitted to hospital after suffering an anxiety attack, a claim that has since been vehemently denied by his representatives.
Arteta has been linked with a possible vacancy at the Nou Camp for a number of months amid Barca’s poor La Liga form, with the club eventually finishing outside the top two for the first time since 2008 this season.
They were pipped to the title by Atletico Madrid, while their El Clasico rivals Real Madrid took second place with a five-point gap over La Blaugrana in third.
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The Arsenal boss is believed to be one of several names on Laporta’s shortlist ahead of the new campaign, but it remains to be seen whether Barca will attempt to prise him away from north London in the coming months.
Arteta is under contract until 2023 but could welcome the idea of a return to his home country, with the 39-year-old said to be keeping his options open.
He is keen on the idea of managing Barca ‘one day’, according to football.london, but remains fully focused on the task at hand with Arsenal for now.
The report also claims that no formal conversations have taken place over the possibility of a move, suggesting that Arteta will likely still be in charge of the Gunners next season.
The Kroenke family are said to be fully supportive of their man and are willing to bankroll a comprehensive summer overhaul in order to bring the club back to the upper reaches of the Premier League table.
Meanwhile, former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell has claimed that Arteta could jump at the chance to join Barca if the five-time European champions decide to act on their reported interest.
“When you actually look at the job he’s doing and where the club are going, it hasn’t been free-flowing all the time but there has been progress made,” Campbell told Football Insider.
“Even experienced managers have struggled to get the dressing room at Arsenal right. So he deserves some praise.
“He’s got rid of the Ozils of this world, which could have been a trapdoor for him. The club is moving in the right direction.
“People on the outside will look at him and say he’s done a really good job at a difficult time at the club. So he will be coveted by people.
“Whether they will pull the trigger or not, I don’t know. But the way Barcelona finished the season, Ronald Koeman might be on borrowed time.
“I’m sure he’ll be interested in Barcelona, but he’s started a project and he’s only 18 months into it. It’s in his blood.”
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