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Mikel Arteta responds to speculation linking him with Barcelona job

The Arsenal manager started his career on Barcelona’s books, and the Spanish club are on the lookout for a new manager after dismissing Ronald Koeman during the week

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Arteta gives update on Nketiah’s contract negotiations with Arsenal

Barcelona are looking for a new manager after parting ways with Ronald Koeman, and they have a history of appointing former players to the role.

Koeman played more than 250 games for the club before being appointed in 2020, but was dismissed on Wednesday night after a defeat at Rayo Vallecano left Barca ninth in La Liga.

Previous bosses Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique are the others to have played at Camp Nou before entering the dugout there, and former club captain Xavi has been linked with the latest managerial vacancy.

Another former Barcelona man currently managing on one of Europe’s top leagues is Mikel Arteta, and it feels inevitable that the Arsenal manager was left addressing links with his former club this week.

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Mikel Arteta was quizzed on links with the Barcelona job
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Image:

SkySports)



Arteta played for Barcelona’s B side after coming through the ranks as a teenager, joining La Masia as a 15-year-old and working his way up alongside the likes of Andres Iniesta and Thiago Motta but never making it into the first-team.

He was asked about his former club this week and spoke of the challenge facing Barca in the light of Lionel Messi’s summer departure, saying “all that takes time”.

“I just hope everything works out well,” he said, amid a tough time for the Catalan club.





However, when asked about links to the job at Camp Nou, Arteta made his thoughts about the vacancy very clear.

“I am extremely happy at Arsenal and I feel privileged to be here,” he said.

Arteta was appointed by Arsenal after the dismissal of Unai Emery in 2019, and is closing in on 100 games in charge of the London club.

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Barcelona have had a tough time since losing Messi and Antoine Griezmann over the summer, with the forwards joining Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid respectively.

New signing Memphis Depay has shown some promise, but they are yet to see the best of Sergio Aguero with the Argentine only just returning to full fitness.

Under Koeman, Barcelona failed to win a single away game this season in La Liga or the Champions League, and currently sit nine points behind league leaders Real Sociedad.








Koeman was sacked after a third defeat in four league games
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Image:

REUTERS)



Arteta’s Arsenal side are also outside the Champions League spots in England, but the Gunners’ trajectory is different to that of Barcelona.

His team are on an eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions, having beaten Leeds United during the week to reach the last eight of the Carabao Cup.

The former Arsenal and Everton midfielder was speaking ahead of a big challenge for his side away to Leicester City on Saturday, where a win could put the Gunners on the fringes of the top four.


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