Pep Guardiola‘s number two became a fan favourite during his five years at Arsenal, and with current boss Unai Emery feeling the heat, the 37-year-old is tipped for the main job at the Emirates.
Sources at the Etihad have reportedly told The Sun: ‘He knows City would never dream of standing in the way of his ambitions if an attractive offer came from a top club.’
Pep Guardiola’s number two (right) became a fan favourite during his five years at Arsenal
The Spaniard was a well respected figure in Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal dressing room and would command the respect of the players should he take up the management role.
Pundits and fans are calling for fellow Spaniard Emery’s head but his employers today went public with their support for the former Sevilla boss, saying although results have been ‘disappointing,’ he is still ‘the right man for the job.’
But a run of just six wins in their last 19 Premier League matches could see that sentiment quickly change and open a door in to full management for Arteta, whose roll at City is his first after retiring as a player.
The Spaniard (shown 2014) was a well respected figure in Arsene Wenger’s dressing room
He’s enjoyed a successful time under Guardiola, pictured here celebrating a Carabao Cup win
The Sun understand that Arteta, who appeared over 100 times for the Gunners, is on a shortlist of potential future candidates.
Their source told the publication that although the former midfielder is enjoying ‘working under the best manager in the world’ in Pep Guardiola, it is a well known secret that he ‘wants to be his own man one day.’
They added that ‘Mikel still has a lot of affection for Arsenal from his playing days there.’
Arteta with Santos, van Persie, Gervinho and Szczesny after beating Chelsea in the Premier League in 2011
They also drew parallels in the case of Patrick Viera, the one-time Arsenal captain who saw out his career at City.
‘That’s not how they work, nor Pep,’ the source said on the subject of standing in the way on any exit, adding: ‘They want to empower people and see them get on.’
There were also suggestions that he could even be the man to eventually replace Pep himself at City, with the former Barcelona boss known to up and leave projects within a few years – usually after mountains of silverware were won.