Pep Guardiola says Mikel Arteta was a big factor in Manchester City’s success this season, and the Spaniard deserves whatever he wants amid links to the Arsenal job.

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Last week, David Ornstein listed Arteta as one of the possible names on Arsenal’s five-strong shortlist to replace Arsene Wenger. Although the rumours haven’t progressed much since then, Guardiola sung the praises of his assistant in his press conference.

“My opinion about Mikel is overwhelming,” said Guardiola. “He deserves the best. We are so comfortable working with him. Part of the reason for our success this season was because Mikel is here.

“I know there are a lot of names for the next position at Arsenal but I don’t know what their plans are. Mikel deserves all that he wants.”

Arteta spent five years in North London, up until his retirement in 2016. The Telegraph says the 35-year-old is well regarded at Arsenal after his club captaincy.

His existing connections with head of football relations Raul Sanllehi as well as Ivan Gazidis also help his case to take over at the club.

It would be a massive gamble to jump from one of the most experienced managers in the game to someone without a single day in charge of a club. However, Arteta knows Arsenal, and he’s worked under some of the best coaches around.

For now, I’m not expecting this story to go much further. If Arsenal’s priority targets end up turning the club down though, perhaps they’d turn to their former player. We’ll see.

Click ‘next’ to see the other managers Ornstein names as potentially on Arsenal’s shortlist