Monday 27 January 2020

Mikel Arteta holds talks with Arsenal chiefs as he emerges as leading contender to replace Unai Emery

Arteta gained huge Premier League experience as a player with Arsenal and Everton (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Arteta gained huge Premier League experience as a player with Arsenal and Everton (Andrew Matthews/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta has held talks with senior Arsenal officials as speculation mounts that he is set to take over as Gunners managers.

Gunners chief executive Vinai Venkatesham and the club's lawyer Huss Fahmy were photographed leaving Arteta's home at around 1.20am on Monday morning, following a reported two-and-a-half-hour meeting with the respected coach who has yet to hold a management position of his own.

Several bookmakers have closed their betting markets on Arteta becoming Unai Emery's successor at Arsenal, with the north London club considering appointing the 37-year-old who was a strong contender to take over at the club following Arsene Wenger's exit in the summer of 2018.

Arteta will be fully aware of the scale of the task he may be about to undertake after watching an Arsenal side managed by caretaker boss Freddie Ljungberg dismantled by City in a 3-0 defeat at Emirates Stadium on Sunday, yet his eagerness to hold talks with Gunners chiefs suggests he is open to the prospect of ending his tenure as Pep Guardiola's assistant.

There have been suggestions that City may tempt Arteta to remain in his post by assuring him that he will replace Guardiola when his compatriot opts to leave the club, with a decision over what happens next now appearing to be imminent for all parties.

"He's an important, important part of the team, but if it happens, it will happen," said Guardiola, as he was asked to comment on Arteta's links with Arsenal on Sunday. "When he wants to talk we are open to talk but it's private, I don't want to make things uncomfortable."

Carlo Ancelotti, Massimiliano Allegri and Mauricio Pochettino have all been linked with the Arsenal job since Emery's sacking last month, yet it appears Arteta is now emerging as their first choice to land the role.

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