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Arsenal have stepped up their interest in Mikel Arteta – placing Pep Guardiola’s assistant on a shortlist of just four names to replace Arsene Wenger.
The London club are seriously considering the bold move of appointing a managerial novice in the form of the Manchester City coach.
It is a measure of just how impressed the Gunners are with their former midfielder that he is being considered among just a handful of stellar candidates.
Arsenal have also singled out Juventus manager Max Allegri and former Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.
A fourth candidate is believed to be Julian Nagelsmann.
Guardiola is desperate to keep hold of Arteta, who he considers pivotal to his backroom staff at City.
The Catalan immediately approached Arteta when agreeing to take over at the Etihad – valuing his knowledge of English football.