Pep Guardiola will not block Arsenal move for Mikel Arteta but confirms no approach has yet been made

Pep Guardiola believes that although there has been no approach from Arsenal for assistant manager Mikel Arteta, his No 2 is ready to step up to the point that he will not stand in the way if a club comes calling.

Arteta is one of 12 names on the Arsenal board’s managerial shortlist to replace Unai Emery, who was sacked last week after 18 months in charge at the Emirates Stadium.

With Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers signing a new five-and-a-half year contract extension on Friday, Arsenal could choose to lean towards a more financially viable option such as Arteta, though it would take persuading the former club captain to abandon his apprenticeship under Guardiola in order to fill the void currently being looked after by interim manager Freddie Ljungberg.

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Arteta was close to the job when Arsenal were on the hunt for Arsene Wenger’s successor two summers ago, but they are yet to make a move for the Spaniard or any other alternatives to Ljungberg after deciding on a drawn-out and calculated search this time around – in the hope of finding the right individual to stop their alarming slide down English football.

“He travelled to Burnley and tomorrow he will be close to me again against [Manchester] United,” Guardiola told Sky Sports of Arteta.


Player ratings: Arsenal vs Brighton





1/22 Bernd Leno – 7

2/22 Hector Bellerin – 5

3/22 David Luiz – 5

4/22 Sokratis – 6

5/22 Sead Kolasinac – 6

6/22 Granit Xhaka – 6

7/22 Lucas Torreira – 6

8/22 Joe Willock – 5

9/22 Mesut Ozil – 5

10/22 Alexandre Lacazette – 7

11/22 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 6

12/22 Matty Ryan – 7

13/22 Dan Burn – 7

14/22 Lewis Dunk – 7

15/22 Adam Webster – 8

16/22 Steven Alzate – 6

17/22 Dale Stephens – 6

18/22 Aaron Mooy – 8

19/22 Davy Propper – 6

20/22 Pascal Gross – 7

21/22 Aaron Connolly – 6

22/22 Neal Maupay – 8

1/22 Bernd Leno – 7

2/22 Hector Bellerin – 5

3/22 David Luiz – 5

4/22 Sokratis – 6

5/22 Sead Kolasinac – 6

6/22 Granit Xhaka – 6

7/22 Lucas Torreira – 6

8/22 Joe Willock – 5

9/22 Mesut Ozil – 5

10/22 Alexandre Lacazette – 7

11/22 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 6

12/22 Matty Ryan – 7

13/22 Dan Burn – 7

14/22 Lewis Dunk – 7

15/22 Adam Webster – 8

16/22 Steven Alzate – 6

17/22 Dale Stephens – 6

18/22 Aaron Mooy – 8

19/22 Davy Propper – 6

20/22 Pascal Gross – 7

21/22 Aaron Connolly – 6

22/22 Neal Maupay – 8

“Hopefully he will stay but at the end of the season I don’t know what is going to happen.”

But the City manager added: “He is ready [to be a manager]. It’s right when he has an offer and he accepts the offer. But if you ask whether he is ready in his knowledge of the game, as a person, as a professional; then he is ready.”

Guardiola does expect Arteta, who will turn 38 before the end of the season in March, to remain at the Etihad Stadium until the end of the 2019/20 season, but although he offered an arm around the shoulders of his assistant for what he hopes is a long partnership together, he did accept that Arteta will have his own managerial dreams to chase.

“He will be here until the end of the season, I think so,” added Guardiola. “I’m not a guy that puts a gun to the heads of my staff or players and says what they have to do. We are human beings and everyone has dreams and desires. Hopefully he can stay this season and the next one – as long as possible in this club.

“That would be my dream, but Mikel has his own life and I will never say what he has to do.”

One issue for Arsenal is that Arteta would be a likely contender to replace Guardiola if the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach decided to leave City in the near future, leaving him with a difficult decision to make on whether to hold out if an Arsenal approach does eventually arise. But while Guardiola did admit that he believes his assistant would be ready to step up and replace him in the Etihad Stadium dug-out if needed, it is not his decision to make as it would rely on “many things that I cannot decide.”

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