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Pep Guardiola will not stand in Mikel Arteta’s way if the former Arsenal man wants to leave Manchester City to take over from Arsene Wenger.
Speaking to the media after his side’s 1-0 win over Southampton that saw his side finish the season with 100 league points, Guardiola said, “Mikel’s contribution was outstanding, and we have been so good together.
“So, if he stays I will be the happiest guy in the world. If he decides to move because he has this option I will not say: “You don’t have to go”.
“I want the best for my friends and he is a friend.
“If he decides to go I will be sad but I will understand his decision.”
Over the weekend it emerged that Arteta and Max Allegri are the two leading candidates to replace Wenger.
While Arsenal are reportedly in discussions with Allegri, the feeling is they want a younger manager who will enmesh himself with the club in the same way that Arsene Wenger did for over two decades.
They reportedly see this as the best way of avoiding having to change manager every two to three years like the rest of world football.
The overall feeling is that the club would prefer a young manager, one who would allow more power to remain in the hands of Ivan Gazidis, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi.
While the Sunday Telegraph report that Arteta has edged ahead of Allegri, the Mail on Sunday are reporting that Arteta, along with Patrick Vieira and Julian Naglesmann will attend for interview next week while Allegri is already in discussions.
Manchester City could offer Arteta a new contract in order to keep him at the club but the Telegraph report that, although they do not want him to leave, they will not stand in his way should he opt to take the job.
The Kroenkes are said to be pushing for a younger coach and seem to have convinced Gazidis et al that this is the way to go.