Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has responded to suggestions that his assistant coach Mikel Arteta could possibly leave the Etihad to become Arsenal manager.
The Spaniard spent the last five years of his playing career with the Gunners, a team he also captained. And, with Unai Emery thought to be nearing an exit, the erstwhile midfielder has been linked to the club again.
Arteta was interviewed for the managerial position at Arsenal two summers ago but Emery was the one appointed, given his experience winning league titles with French outfit Paris Saint-Germain. Emery has failed to improve the Gunners’ fortunes and the team hardly pales in comparison to the one that eventually led to Arsene Wenger being dismissed.
Arsenal have failed to win their last six games in all competitions and barely escaped with a point when they played Southampton on Saturday. It took a stoppage-time equaliser from Alexandre Lacazette to save the Londoners’ blushes and the atmosphere around the Emirates is understandably glum.
Emery is under even more pressure to turn things around and it probably wouldn’t come as a surprise if he were to be let go in the coming days. Arteta has been rumoured as a replacement candidate, rather expectedly, and a move to his former club wouldn’t come as a surprise either.
As such, Guardiola was quizzed on the possibility of the 37-year-old heading back to London while speaking to reporters on Monday and, despite fully expecting Arteta to become a manager one day, he doesn’t expect him to leave City this season.
“I think for my news Unai Emery is manager for Arsenal, so… Of course he [Arteta] will be a manager sooner or later,” he said in quotes cited by the Metro. “If I was in his position, as an assistant coach as young as he is, always we will have that. Now we are going to finish this season and in the future, I don’t know what is going to happen.
“I would like honestly for him to stay with us as long as possible. Not just Pep, Manchester City has an incredibly valuable person to work in this club for the future. ‘But personal life is personal life. Professional desires are professional, each one. Everyone, not just me, are more than satisfied to have him here, but what will happen at the end of the season I don’t know.”
Arsenal are currently eight points off the top four and aren’t favoured to finish in a Champions League place by the best bookmakers in the UK. Bet365 is offering odds of 9/2 on their chances while Betfred and Betway have 11/2 and 13/2 on same, respectively.
Leicester City and Chelsea are currently positioned there at second and fourth and Skybet have the former at 4/11 after their excellent performances under new boss Brendan Rodgers this term. Frank Lampard also has his young Blues playing some impressive football so far and Paddy Power have odds of 2/9 going on a top-four finish for the Stamford Bridge side.
As it pertains to the next manager to get axed during the current campaign, Everton’s Marco Silva leads the pack at 1/4 with William Hill but Emery is next in line at 5/1, with West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini also at 5/1.
Arsenal, though, are known for being patient with managers and, who knows? Maybe Emery makes it to the end of the season. But that’s definitely not going to happen unless he can string some positive results together quickly.
That said, the team’s next five fixtures look very manageable, with Eintracht Frankfurt, Norwich, Brighton, West Ham, and Standard Liege all up next ahead of a home clash against City on December 15.