Great Britain

Mikel Arteta: Pep Guardiola expects quick decision on Arsenal manager role

Pep Guardiola expects Mikel Arteta to make a decision on his future quickly to avoid any further distractions, as the Manchester City assistant closes in on becoming the next Arsenal manager.

Guardiola confirmed on Tuesday that Arteta is in talks with the north London club but the Spaniard is still due to travel with City for Wednesday’s EFL Cup quarter-final away at Oxford United.

Arteta’s name has been linked with the Emirates ever since Unai Emery’s dismissal at the end of last month, but speculation intensified on Monday after two Arsenal officials were pictured leaving his home in south Manchester.

Download the new Indpendent Premium app

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s managing director, and Huss Fahmy, the director of football operations, were photographed leaving the property during the early hours of Monday morning, not long after City’s 3-0 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates.

City will not stand in Arteta’s way if he ultimately decides to succeed Emery and return to the club where he spent the final seven years of his playing career, but Guardiola is keen for the matter to be resolved over the next few days.

When asked on Tuesday whether he wanted Arteta’s future to be settled soon, he said: “Yes, I think so. It’s going to happen quick. I don’t know [if it will happen this week]. Tomorrow we travel to Oxford, so I don’t know.”

Arteta would be the second assistant to leave Guardiola’s side in the last 18 months following Domenec Torrent’s departure for New York City FC in the summer of 2018. Torrent is free to return and replace Arteta after leaving New York last month.

“We will move forward,” Guardiola said. “We are going to prepare the next game. We are going to reschedule a little bit the position but we are talking about a ‘hypothetic’. 

“[Arteta] knows the desire and what we would like but after that, if finally he decides to leave for another club, we will make a decision in that moment of what we have to do. 

“In this moment we prepare for the game and the team that is going to play tomorrow, the starting eleven, and he prepare his part of the training, as always we have done in the last three-and-a-half years.”

Despite speaking highly of Arteta over the past few weeks, Guardiola stopped short of guaranteeing that his assistant will bring success to Arsenal if he ultimately decides to return to north London.

Asked if Arteta would restore Arsenal to City’s level, Guardiola said: “I don’t know. I think Arsenal was always one of the best teams of the last 20 years. 

“When Arsene [Wenger] took over the team, he raised the club to another level and now they are struggling a little bit the last years. When the club takes a decision to replace the manager or buy players it’s always to rise to  be better. Whether it’s going to happen or not, I don’t know. 

“You know my opinion about Mikel. He’s a professional human being and a person, I don’t have doubts about that. If he stays I’d be happy, incredible, because we all work together really well – hopefully he can feel the same as me or with us.

“If he decides to move I’ll wish him all the best, for him, his family and for his professional future. I will beat him – that’s a joke! The best of luck.”