Arteta plays down Barcelona speculation

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Mikel Arteta has played down speculation that he’s on a shortlist to replace Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman if presidential candidate Joan Laporta wins the club’s election on 7 March.

Laporta, who previously held the presidency from 2003-2010, was the man responsible for putting Pep Guardiola in the Nou Camp dugout and is said to be an admirer of the City manager’s protege.

With a well-documented history of aggressively pursuing Arsenal targets – Thierry Henry, Alex Hleb and Cesc Fabregas included – the concern is that Arteta, who spent several years at Barcelona academy, could eventually be unsettled by a prolonged campaign to get his attention.

It doesn’t seem to be an immediate issue but all floods start with a drip, drip, drip. For his part, Arteta says his sole focus is on Arsenal.

“There is always going to speculation when there are elections in Barcelona,” he said on Thursday.

“It’s a huge team. Obviously, I was raised there as a player and they’re always going to be linked.

“I’m fully focused on the job that I have to do here, and we have a lot to do. I’m really enjoying it.

He added: “Today and tomorrow, I am the manager of Arsenal Football Club, and I’m really enjoying it. I want to do much better than what we’ve done.”

Arteta’s current contract at Arsenal runs until the summer of 2022. The Gunners are thought to be keen to tie him down to a new deal but with the club struggling in mid-table and fighting to keep the season alive via the Europa League, it’s not exactly the moment to talk about extensions

Asked if negotiations were taking place already, Arteta made clear that they were not.

“We’re in the middle of the season,” he pointed out. “We have a lot to play for and at the moment it’s not a priority. That’s OK. I still have a contract here and I am happy here. I don’t think that’s something urgent.”

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Bestie

Didn’t Arteta sign a 3.5 year deal when he joined, which would mean he’s got until 2023?

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Correct.

Biggles

Yes, and I don’t think he’ll be going anywhere soon. I would be very surprised if MA thinks he’s up to a job of that size and complexity at Barca with less than two years experience as a manager. If he did though his contract almost certainly wouldn’t be a barrier. No (sensible) club is going to try and keep a manager who really wants to go somewhere else. Unlikely that will happen here though.

thw14

You say “job of size and complexity” but somehow I read “wallpaper over a cesspit of shameless corruption”.

Don’t think Guardiola gets enough credit for the amount of managerial talent needed to make that “club” borderline palatable. Building on footballing foundations laid by Cryuff, but still.

PeteyB

Doesn’t “a cesspit of shameless corruption” describe the entire football industry from the top to the bottom. FIFA do a good job of leading by example. Arsenal by no means blameless

Johnny 4 Hats

Lots of love for Arteta and I think he’s going to be an amazing asset for the club.

But if Barca’s candidates are trying to win an election by claiming they are going steal a manager who is flirting with the bottom half of the table in his first full season then they are way more fucked than I realised.

What’s next? “Elect me president and I guarantee that I will do all I can to bring Danny Ings to the club”.

Spanish Gooner

You say that but Koeman and Setien had even worse records than Mikel!

Johnny 4 Hats

At least they have records…

Old but Gold

That’s what i thought too

Everything is Awesome

I’ve always wanted to like Barcelona as a club, but they really do make it impossible.

goongot

once messi is gone, that club is not going to have any neutral fans. scum club.

backsakacrack

MES QUE UN CLUB

BLU QUEEN SCUM

Mayor of the Woolwich

Leave our Leggo Haired coach alone.
Don’t you dare drag him into your corrupt quagmire.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Arteta hasn’t done anything to be wanted by Barcelona. The press needs to fill pages and often they don’t even do it in a smart way.

The Only Olivier is Giroud

I hope he gets at least one contract extension. Our improved defensive record under him coupled with our recent uptick in attacking output is indicative of progress imo.

He seems to still be learning how to manage squad fatigue- his recent comments about how burnout is more mental than physical raised an eyebrow considering the amount of youngsters we’re pushing into the “red zone”, but that’ll take time to learn.

Won’t quite go so far as singing “ten more years!” but I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen from him so far and think he’s proven he deserves patience at least.

Daveo

I feel like the comments and reactions blow like the wind here. We win a few games and Arteta is the new “great one” and we need to fight all suitors to keep him at all costs. Lose some games and “they can have him”. It is good we won our “final” against Befica, but there are still 4 more “finals” to go to win the Europa League, which should be our major goal. Sure, we have a realistic chance at top 6 (I mean I still even see comments about making top 4), but the chances of that are… Read more »

Giroulski

I think it’s more likely that two sets of fans have consistent views but are more likely to pipe up after good or bad results respectively.

I’m firmly a fan of Arteta. For me, the football comes first, and results second. Results almost inevitably catch up with performances. In comparison to Emery, where our results were better than our performances and we eventually got found out, with Arteta our performances are better than the results and the league will eventually find out.

Tapps

Absolutely 100% this!

Daveo

I’m definitely not in either group. I don’t want Arteta sacked, but if we fail in the Europa (we should at minimum be targeting the Semi final and probably more) and finish where we are in the league 8-11, then there should be a lot of pressure on Mikel, because whatever way you look at the season it can only be viewed as a regression. Should he be sacked then? I’d still lean towards no, but he’d be on very thin ice for next year. If we win Europa or squeeze into top 6 then sure, success can be more… Read more »

Hank Scorpio

Arteta would definitely be on thin ice if we fail in the EL & finish around 10th. If we keep him on we could fall into the situation where things have not improved next season either and waste 2 seasons. There has been improvement since he stumbled on the benefits of utilising someone capable of playing the # 10 role so it is fair to expect continued improvement this season. I think he should be sacked with EL failure & a midtable finish. Securing European football, however it is done, should be the pass mark in my view. There needs… Read more »

atom

I don’t think it’s just 2 sets of fans so much as this really has been a season of 2 halves. The first 1/2 of the season was as bad or worse than anything we saw under Emery. Emery couldn’t defend. Arteta couldn’t score – we scored less goals from open play than any team in the top 4 divisions of English football and we weren’t creating any chances at all.

The 2nd half so far has been much better as the introduction of ESR has lead to much better performances and results.

Daveo

Absolutely, people talk about the football and performances, but what we saw during the 1st half of the season was absolutely worse than anything we saw under Emery (pts and performances). That was arguably the worst and least enjoyable football I have EVER seen Arsenal play. Since mid December, we’ve turned that around a bit (still need more consistency, but much better). Nonetheless, you don’t get awards for being the best team in the 2nd half (not that we’re even close to City for that hypothetical award anyway). The season needs to be looked at as a whole. Perhaps, Mikel… Read more »

atom

Yep – the jury is very much out on Arteta at this point. Anyone who says otherwise isn’t operating on facts. I hope he succeeds & there seems to be some real progress in terms of style of play the past 2 months. At some point he & Edu need to face real standards however vs. what right now is more or less just a fuzzy idea of progress. Finishing out of the European places & knocked out of every cup (assuming that happens) would be a pretty poor season by any measure.

A P

I am in neither group although Arteta lovers may find it hard to believe. I have written before that I want Arteta to succeed because it means Arsenal is doing well.

However, based on what Arteta has achieved so far, he does not deserve a contract extension. He has some good games and more bad ones.

Reality check

The 7 games to win Europa will show a lot of what this team is made of. Our performances in Europe will also have a positve effect on our league performance and might drive us up the table. There are some first team positions up for grabs, CM, AM, LW, RCB and RB are not secure IMO. Someone either makes it their own before the summer transfer window or hold their peace on the bench. We can’t afford shooting our own foot again this season.

The Only Olivier is Giroud

Hence my point literally being “he deserves patience”. The implication is “I don’t quite like where we are now, but it seems reasonable to expect we will improve under him”. I never said anything about anyone can have him, nor did I bring up any specific results to make my point, but I spoke in broad terms like general defensive improvement and squad management.

But if you insist on lumping me into a specific box, I guess I’m… ARTETA IN! BACK THE MANAGER OR FUCK OFF M8! JFC WHAT DO YOU EXPECT US TO BEAT CITY etc. etc.

Biggles

Yes, I think that’s a reasonable summary. The views of many football fans – not just Gooners of course – tend to go from “hero to zero” or the reverse often based on a short time frame. There’s plenty of evidence from posts on this site – if they’re still available, the ones about Willian, Pepe or Ceballos over their time with us are good examples. The same with MA. Personally, I think we should have gone for a more experienced manager (or rather “an” experienced manager) but we are where we are and he is undoubtedly learning quickly on… Read more »

Quentin Quarantino

I think Arteta has done a decent job so far with a barely better than average squad. Great work has been done with the clear out recently, so I think with a couple of additions in the summer he will have his stamp on things. He should be held accountable good or bad at the end of next season.

Atom

I’m glad we trimmed the squad but it largely just consisted of us paying players off and giving free transfers.

Heavenly Chapecoense

Like Wenger used to say, fans base everything on the last game. We are midtable ffs.

Naked Cygan

We should swap Arteta for Messi.

Gooner79

To manage the club? That will be interesting.

Vaibhav Pandey

Maybe include Ozil in deal too to be installed as CFO

Santi’s Thigh Grab

Keep up.

TeeCee

Let’s see:
Getting on a bit? Check.
Would want a massive wage? Check.
Would want a long contract? Check.

Yes he’d be the perfect signing for us. If only Ivan or Raul were still around to make it happen.

Twatsloch

I hope Arteta stays for the duration of his contract to follow through on the improvements he’s made. Would be interesting to see what he can achieve with more and better signings.

JeremyDG

They are a joke. Employing supporters to run hate campaigns against their own players, corruption, lying about profits while pissing away funds on useless assets, a crumbling stadium (at least it’s the biggest in the world!), an irritating fanbase of neutrals who support individual players more than the collective, every transfer is a tapping up game for them and a culture of diving and cheating. I’d love for them to cease to exist.

The Kolkata Gooner

Thanks for describing exactly how I’ve felt about Barca for many years now. I could never really articulate it into words – in fact considering what a great team everyone says they are, I’d often feel guilty for disliking them without any apparent reason to me. Thanks mate, for letting me hate them freely now.

Spanish Gooner

The elections system really holds them back as a club because it relies on fans deciding the future and we’re generally idiots. Imagine if Edu had to pander to AFTV to make sure he won enough votes to be re-elected as Director of Football – that’s Barcelona.

Fezec

Piqué

C.B.

 “Today and tomorrow, I am the manager of Arsenal Football Club…’

He’s not commiting himself for very long…

Vaibhav Pandey

Well read 😀

Heavy Gunner

But then again,C.B., there is a certain philosophical term that states : Tomorrow never really comes.. Thought of the day?

Gnarls

Gently croons in Ronan Keating.

Johnny 2 Bad

Exactly! A pragmatic position should be held. He didn’t commit to seeing out his contract and obviously has a lot to learn. See how it goes till the end of the season and make a rational decision then.

Chuffy

It seems that a manager these days is selected purely on popularity and appeal. What happened to experience, proven track record and known ability? I mean Arsenal and Barcelona are 2 of the biggest clubs in world football and with due respect Arteta has only been a manager for 18 months and he hasn’t exactly pulled up trees. If we dont win the Europa and dont finish in the top 6, what progress has been made under Arteta? In those circumstances what can Arteta achieve at Barcelona whose halcyon days are gone?They basically need a new team and Arteta despite… Read more »

MrT

Well said Chuffy…
The big ‘ Media ‘ has put him at a place, where as if he has won 10 PL 4 Champions League titles & so on…
Unbelievable !!!
If true…( Which I really, really doubt ) I would be more than happy to take him to the airport myself.

Twatsloch

If the choice is between a club in the process of rebuilding or saving one that’s desperate to salvage an out of date model then the former should be every managers choice. We know which category Barcelona belongs to but the question is which one are we in? I hope it’s the former and not that latter.

Spanish Gooner

Barcelona, for all their faults, could still win the league this year and were Champions League semi finalists last season. They were in total crisis in 2004, then ended up signing Ronaldinho and winning the CL with the help of an offside winner. They were in absolute crisis before a young manager called Pep turned up and two years later they were arguably the best team in history.

Twatsloch

Sure but if rumours are true that they are a billion euros in debt then any comparison with previous crisis pales. Also arrests made at executive level.

Biggles

If we’re honest, I think most of us would have to admit that Barca are a tad bigger than we are on the world football stage (as are their problems though). However, if you want an example of a club, not particularly successful in recent times but historically “big” in England, who went for a manager with precisely those attributes (experience, proven track record and known ability) that you’ve mentioned look at Everton. They pulled off a real coup with the appointment of Ancelotti, and the improvement in their fortunes is pretty obvious I’d say.

Walter White

That’s it. From now on I wish only bad stuff for Barca

Biggles

I don’t think that there’s much chance of MA going to Barca. I suspect that he’s on the supposed shortlist of one of their presidential candidates to fill the “one of our old boys” spot. Given Barca’s problems, which are many including recent police action against some key figures at the club, debts of anything up to £1 billion depending on the report you read, and problems over Mr Messi’s future, it’s unlikely they bring in an inexperienced manager who is still learning on the job to that maelstrom. They need (hopefully, want) someone with a lot of experience to… Read more »

Al Gilmore

I think he is much too smart to take the Barca job. He has pressure at Arsenal sure, but at least despite our faults we are relatively stable and the path back to Top 4 isn’t insurmountable. Taking Barca back to where they think they belong – winning La Liga and the CL and doing it with spellbinding football is much much more difficult. And Messi is a major problem. They can’t afford to keep him and can’t afford to lose him. It’s an unwinnable battle. I think Arteta would, like most managers relish the Barca job – eventually and… Read more »

Biggles

I just don’t see him being offered it. With everything going on at that club off the pitch, would they really put the playing side – superstar players and egos and all that – into the hands of a manager with less than two years total experience? Never say never in football (particularly as it’s Barca) but it’s highly unlikely.

Vonnie

Mikel has unfinished business at Arsenal, when he’s won all there is to win then he may fancy a change but I see him here for a good while yet.