All going well, Mikel Arteta should become Arsenal’s new head coach in the coming days.
Yesterday, Pep Guardiola confirmed that our former captain has informed him of his desire to return to the Emirates, however, it’s fair to say the Manchester City hierarchy is less than impressed by the fact we failed to make a formal approach for Arteta’s services before being caught on camera leaving his assistant’s home in the dead of night.
Gunners officials had the chance to chat the matter over on Sunday afternoon in the aftermath of our 3-0 defeat to City, but for whatever reason, decided to maintain a level of secrecy.
“Mikel was honest with me,” said Guardiola at a press conference ahead of his side’s League Cup game with Oxford City.
“Arsenal? We were there two days ago. They were talking with our sporting director, the CEO and they didn’t say anything.
“I don’t know if the meeting [with Arteta] was because they didn’t want to make it public, but in the end it was public.
“Sometimes it’s not easy to handle this kind of situation. We cannot deny that all the clubs around the world make the first contact behind the scenes and try to avoid the clubs that are in charge, they don’t realise it and the media don’t realise it, so that process is normal.
“But all I can say as far as I’m concerned is that Mikel was clear with me and that’s all. Perhaps there is a problem with the chairman and the CEO [at Arsenal], they have to talk to each other.”
Asked whether Arteta has the quality to revive Arsenal’s fortunes, Guardiola made clear that he has no doubts about his compatriot’s coaching quality.
“I don’t know. When Arsène [Wenger] took over the team, he raised the club to another level and now they are struggling.
“Mikel’s a professional and a person I don’t have doubts about. If he stays I’d be happy, incredibly, because we all work together really well.
“If he decides to move I’ll wish him all the best, for him, his family and for his professional future.
“When the club takes a decision to replace the manager or buy players it’s always to attempt to be better. Whether it’s going to happen or not with Arsenal, I don’t know.”
Guardiola was also asked why Arteta wanted to leave City, a team he’s helped coach to every domestic honour in the last couple of seasons.
Pep sounded pretty irked by the line of questioning. “I don’t know the reason why [he wants to leave],” he explained.
“He was honest, he explained everything that happened, the steps involved, but after that I didn’t ask, ‘What do you want to do?’ I don’t want to be involved. I am a guy that likes people to live with freedom and do what they want because they feel that is what they want, in this moment, right now, for their life, their family, with their position, professionally and individually.
“That is what I think all the time with the players, with the staff, with everyone. Mikel knows exactly what we think about him, at the club, after that, we cannot do more. What can we do? We are not going to tell him, ‘Stay, stay stay’, if he doesn’t want to stay. It’s his decision. I don’t know what happens now.”
Elsewhere, it’s been reported that we’re are also in talks with City scout Samuel Fagbemi about a return to Arsenal.
The 25-year-old was a London-based scout for us for six years before taking up a video scout position at London Colney for 15 months.
He was lured to City three years ago and leads their youth scouting strategy in the south. It appears he’s on Per Mertesacker’s hit-list as the German looks to develop a new team in the aftermath of an Edu-led streamlining process.