Arsenal: Pep Guardiola admits Mikel Arteta will become a manager ‘sooner or later’

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admitted his assistant Mikel Arteta will become a manager “sooner or later” after the Spaniard was repeatedly linked to the Arsenal job.

With Unai Emery’s sacking at Arsenal now acknowledged by many to be inevitable, after the dire 1-1 draw with Southampton stretched the Gunners’ winless run to six successive matches – the club’s worst club record in over 20 years, Arteta has immediately been installed as one of the favourites to succeed his compatriot at the Emirates.

Arteta was one of the eight candidates shortlisted by Arsenal to replace Arsene Wenger by the club’s hierarchy in the summer of 2018, before eventually opting for Emery.

Asked about the possibility of Arteta’s departure, Guardiola said: ”Of course he [Arteta] will be a manager sooner or later. If I was in his position, as an assistant coach as young as he is, always we will have that.

“Now we are going to finish this season and in the future I don’t know what is going to happen.”

When pressed whether the best thing for Arteta’s potential as a manager would be to remain working under him, Guardiola added: “I would like honestly for him to stay with us as long as possible. Not just Pep, Manchester City has an incredibly valuable person to work in this club for the future.

“But personal life is personal life. Professional desires are professional, each one. Everyone, not just me, are more than satisfied to have him here, but what will happen at the end of the season I don’t know.”

Despite retiring just three years ago, Arteta, who came through Barcelona’s La Masia before spells at PSG, Rangers, Real Sociedad, Everton and Arsenal, immediately established himself as an integral member of Guardiola’s staff and is well-liked and respected by the Premier League champions’ squad.

When asked how he had identified Arteta as having the potential to be a great coach, Guardiola said: ”He was an incredible player, normally the holding midfielders they have a vision to see what happens all on the pitch.

“When you are a striker you think only of goals, when you are a keeper to save it. But I think the holding midfielder is an incredible lesson during your period as a football player to learn what happens.

“You don’t need to go to school, you read it [on the pitch], you learn it completely, and he was already so clever in that. And more than that, he is an incredible human being and work ethic and works a lot. I said after a few months of working together, this guy will be a manager sooner or later. He is already a manager, he behaves as a manager, so that’s why we are satisfied to have him here.”