Pep Guardiola says Manchester City have not received any approach from Arsenal to speak to Mikel Arteta, which could suggest our former club captain is not one of the front-runners for the vacant position.
The Spaniard came very close to succeeding Arsene Wenger 18 months ago and is presumed to be on a shortlist again now that Unai Emery has been sacked. Everton, another of Arteta’s former clubs, are also said to be sniffing around.
Pep Guardiola asked if there's been any approach yet for Mikel Arteta: "No."
Has he spoken to you about his future? "No."
You want him to stay? "Yes."
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) December 6, 2019
Obviously not in a mood to discuss the matter at length, Guardiola gave a series of short, sharp responses to questions posed by the media ahead of this weekend’s Manchester derby.
He denied any approaches had been made, confirmed he’d not spoken with Arteta about his future and went on to say that he wants his assistant to stay at the Etihad.
“I’m not a guy that puts a gun to the heads of my staff or players and says what they have to do,” said Guardiola.
“We’re 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.
“I arrived here and we were in touch about working together and the time we’ve spent together has been magnificent.
“I tried to help him and he’s helped me a lot. He knows what I want and what the club wants.
“Hopefully he will stay but, at the end of the season, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Interestingly, several reports this morning claim that Guardiola is weighing up whether to offer Domènec Torrent the chance to return to Manchester. He is a close confidante of Pep’s – they worked together at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City – and is currently out of work after a stint at MLS side New York City FC.
Elsewhere, Brendan Rodgers has ended speculation that he could be tempted by the Arsenal job by signing a new deal with Leicester City. The former Liverpool and Celtic boss has been handed a pay rise in recognition for the quick turnaround he’s implemented at the King Power stadium; the Foxes are currently second in the Premier League.
News of a big buyout clause in Rafa Benitez’s contract would likely make it impossible to lure him from his current club in China. Dalian Yifang would want around £20 million for the 59-year-old who only joined in the summer.