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Pep Guardiola hopes Mikel Arteta will stay at the club amid growing interest from Arsenal.
However the Manchester City manager insists he will not stand in the way of the Spaniard if he is offered a managerial role away from the Etihad.
Arteta is a leading contender to fill the managerial vacancy at the Emirates when Arsene Wengerleaves at the end of the season.
Guardiola admits he is delighted that his assistant coach has been tipped to succeed the Arsenal great this summer – however he would love to keep Arteta at the club if possible.
When asked about his assistant’s future Guardiola said: “I don’t know. What we have done this season, for all the staff, Mikel, his contribution, was outstanding, amazing.
“We were together so good, all the staff, Mikel. So if he stays I will be happiest guy in the world. If he decide to move because he has this offer, this option, I will not say you don’t have to go.
“I want the best for my friends, and he’s a friend of mine, and I want the best. If he decide to go, I will be so sad, but I will understand his decision, because it’s his career, his life, his family, and I am not right guy to say you don’t have to do that.
“But hopefully, hopefully he can stay and finish what we have started together in the coming years.”