Pep Guardiola warns Arsenal: I want Mikel Arteta to stay at Man City

Speculation increases that Arteta has been identified as the No.1 target to replace Unai Emery

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and assistant coach Mikel Arteta celebrate the 2018-19 Premier League title win
Man City manager Pep Guardiola and assistant Mikel Arteta celebrate the 2018-19 Premier League title win
(Image credit: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images)

Manchester City will not allow Mikel Arteta to leave the club this season, says head coach Pep Guardiola, as speculation increases that Arsenal have identified the Spaniard as their No.1 target to replace Unai Emery.

With Everton also interested in Arteta as an alternative to Marco Silva, Guardiola felt obliged to address his assistant’s situation on the eve of their Champions League group C clash with Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday evening.

“Of course he will be a manager sooner or later,” Guardiola told reporters. “We are going to finish the season and in the future I don’t know what will happen.”

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Incredible person

Asked for his opinion on Arteta’s future, Guardiola replied: “I’d like him to stay with us as much as possible. Manchester City has an incredible, valuable person to work in this club for the future, but personal life is personal life and professional desire is for professionals and everyone, not just me.”

However, in singing the praises of his assistant, Guardiola probably only further whetted the appetite of his admirers.

“He’s an incredible human being and has a work ethic,” he said of Arteta. “After a few months together, I said this guy will be a manager sooner or later. He’s already a manager, he behaves as a manager that’s why we are satisfied to have him here.”

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Arsenal strikers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

(Image credit: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Fears grow for frontmen

Arsenal’s decline in recent weeks could have serious implications for their squad, reports the Daily Express, which claims that the club risk losing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

The paper alleges that the two strikers are becoming increasingly dispirited at the club’s drift and may not look to extend their contracts when they expire in 2021, forcing Arsenal to sell them next summer to avoid them leaving on a free transfer the following year.

The pair want to play Champions League football and that is unlikely to happen this season if Emery remains in charge. As a consequent Aubameyang and Lacazette will “look to leave the Emirates if the club persist on entrusting Unai Emery to turn things around”.

Crisis talks

The Express goes on to say that Aubameyang and Lacazette aren’t the only players to believe that there must be a change at the top.

Several other Gunners share their alleged “serious concerns” at the turmoil that has seen Arsenal fail to win a league match since early October.

The Express says head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu held “crisis talks” with Emery at the weekend in a bid to discover what has gone wrong.

Today’s back pages

‘Auba and out’ for Emery - star Gunners could be goners

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