Mikel Arteta is expected to be unveiled as Arsenal’s new manager this week, with The Sun reporting that the 37-year-old Spaniard will “hold final talks with Josh Kroenke” on Tuesday.
Kroenke, son of Arsenal owner Stan, is ready to offer Arteta a £5m-a-year deal after the Manchester City assistant held an initial round of talks on Sunday evening with Arsenal managing director Vinai Venkatesham and chief contract negotiator Huss Fahmy.
According to the Sun the presence of the pair suggests that the Gunners are “already discussing transfer budgets and salary offers with their former midfielder”.
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Arteta spent five seasons at the Emirates as a player before joining the City staff in 2016 when he hung up his boots.
Since then he has been learning the manager’s craft under Pep Guardiola, and while the City boss is said to be relaxed about his protegee leaving, Etihad officials are less enamoured.
The Times reports that newspaper photographs of Venkatesham and Fahmy leaving Arteta’s house in the early hours of Monday morning did not “impress” the champions.
Officials from the two clubs shared the same executive area of the Emirates Stadium on Sunday when City thrashed Arsenal 3-0 and the subject of Arteta’s future was not raised.
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The perceived deviousness of Arsenal’s approach could have consequences, warns the Times, which claims that City’s “annoyance at such secrecy may well lead them to adopt a tougher stance in negotiations over any compensation”.
The Guardian endorses the Times’s claim but says that City will nonetheless not stand in the way of Arteta should he wish to accept the Arsenal job.
They will ask for “at least £1m in compensation” and also make it clear to the Spaniard that the door will always be open should he wish to return to the Etihad.
The Daily Mirror also believes that Arteta will be appointed manager this week, but says he may face hostility from some members of the squad who had hoped Carlo Ancelotti would get the job.
Italian Ancelotti now seems set to join Everton, but the issue, if true, could be the excuse Arsenal need for having a mass clearout of their squad next month.
The problems at the Emirates go far beyond who sits in the dugout and as recent performances have shown around half of the current squad are simply not up to scratch.
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