Pep Guardiola will not stand in Mikel Arteta’s way if the former Arsenal man wants to leave Manchester City to take over from Arsene Wenger.
Speaking to the media after his side’s 1-0 win over Southampton that saw his side finish the season with 100 league points, Guardiola said, “Mikel’s contribution was outstanding, and we have been so good together.
“So, if he stays I will be the happiest guy in the world. If he decides to move because he has this option I will not say: “You don’t have to go”.
“I want the best for my friends and he is a friend.
“If he decides to go I will be sad but I will understand his decision.”
Over the weekend it emerged that Arteta and Max Allegri are the two leading candidates to replace Wenger.
While Arsenal are reportedly in discussions with Allegri, the feeling is they want a younger manager who will enmesh himself with the club in the same way that Arsene Wenger did for over two decades.
They reportedly see this as the best way of avoiding having to change manager every two to three years like the rest of world football.
The overall feeling is that the club would prefer a young manager, one who would allow more power to remain in the hands of Ivan Gazidis, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi.
While the Sunday Telegraph report that Arteta has edged ahead of Allegri, the Mail on Sunday are reporting that Arteta, along with Patrick Vieira and Julian Naglesmann will attend for interview next week while Allegri is already in discussions.
Manchester City could offer Arteta a new contract in order to keep him at the club but the Telegraph report that, although they do not want him to leave, they will not stand in his way should he opt to take the job.
The Kroenkes are said to be pushing for a younger coach and seem to have convinced Gazidis et al that this is the way to go.
Stan, apparently, wants to try and emulate the success he had with the LA Rams when he hired then-30-year-old Sean McVay to take charge of his team.
Josh Kroenke, meanwhile, is a known admirer of Thierry Henry whose name had fallen away from discussions. It seems as if he will also speak to the club executives this week and is likely to be offered a job, although not the managerial position.
Those worrying that Jose Mourinho’s long time assistant, Rui Faria, could be in the mix will be relieved to know that the man who played attack-dog for Mourinho for 17-years is quitting United to spend more time with his family and is not believed to be in the running for the Arsenal job.
Reports from Italy, however, claim that Allegri is Arsenal’s number one target to replace Wenger, but the club will have to wait until May 20th to get a response from the Italian coach.
David Ornstein, meanwhile, confirmed on Saturday night that Freddie Ljungberg will return as a youth team coach, claiming ‘that deal is done’.
And as mentioned by others, former Arsenal midfielder Freddie Ljungberg is returning to the club this summer as a youth team coach on a permanent basis – that deal is done #AFC
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) May 12, 2018
After his retirement, the former winger came back to Arsenal to work as a club ambassador. He took over coaching the u15s in July 2016.
Then, less than a year later, he left with head of the academy Andries Jonker to work as an assistant manager at VfL Wolfsburg.