Belfast Telegraph

Pep Guardiola backs Mikel Arteta to replace him as Manchester City manager

City assistant boss Arteta has been linked with the managerial vacancies at Arsenal and Everton.

Pep Guardiola, left, and assistant Mikel Arteta (Martin Rickett/PA)
Pep Guardiola, left, and assistant Mikel Arteta (Martin Rickett/PA)

By Andy Hampson, PA

Pep Guardiola believes Mikel Arteta would be a suitable replacement for him when he leaves Manchester City.

Guardiola’s assistant Arteta has been linked with the managerial vacancies at Arsenal and Everton, two clubs he represented as a player.

City manager Guardiola wants his fellow Spaniard to stay at the Etihad Stadium, and he has no doubt he could follow him into the hotseat one day.

Asked if he would recommend Arteta as his successor, Guardiola told Sky Sports News: “He is able to do that, but it depends on him, the club – many things that I cannot decide.”

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Mikel Arteta has been learning under the guidance of Pep Guardiola at City (Martin Rickett/PA)

Guardiola, however, says he will not stand in the 37-year-old’s way if he wants to seek an opportunity elsewhere.

Although there has been speculation about Guardiola’s future, a vacancy at City may not be imminent with the former Barcelona boss indicating a desire to stay beyond the end of his current contract in 2021.

Guardiola said: “He is ready (to be a manager). I’m not a guy that puts a gun to the heads of my staff or players and says what they have to do.

“We are 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 have spent together has been magnificent.

“I tried to help him and he has helped me a lot. He knows what I want and what the club wants.”

Despite the rumours concerning Arteta, Guardiola said the club have not received any approaches.

Guardiola said: “No. He travelled to Burnley and tomorrow he will be close to me again against (Manchester) United.”

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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola after his side’s win at Burnley on Tuesday (Martin Rickett/PA)

City face United at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday in a derby which, due to the sides’ fortunes this season, has lacked some of the usual anticipation.

United have been off the pace this term and trail third-placed City, the champions, by 11 points.

Guardiola, however, has no doubt the fixture remains a big occasion.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, he said: “It is an important game, of course – a good rival, big history.

“We play against a good team. We will try to follow the performances we’ve put in in the last games and try to win the game.”

City’s recent successes have eclipsed United’s, who have toiled in the last few seasons, but Guardiola insists that will count for little this weekend.

He said: “Normally here we speak about what happened in the past, and the recent past, but everything has changed.

“United have huge history and their quality is always there but we must try to beat them. We will speak with the players about what they are as a team and what we should do to beat them.”

PA

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