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Barcelona eyeing Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta after Xavi leaves

Mikel Arteta certainly seems to be able to do nothing wrong this period as far as the flighty football gods are concerned as he has reportedly been lined up as a potential target for La Liga’s Barcelona for when club legend and current gaffer Xavi Hernandes eventually leaves the club.

The Blaugranas have identified the Gunners’ Spanish manager as a likely replacement for Xavi when the time comes for the latter to eventually depart from the Nou Camp, according to reports. Arteta has managed to successfully reverse Arsenal’s on-pitch fortunes since his initial fledgling, stumbling days after immediately taking over from Unai Emery back in 2019. His no-nonsense approach, single-minded philosophy and astute transfer decisions have seen the Gunners overturn a really rocky patch they were navigating then to return to the uppermost pinnacles of the Premier League table over the last few months.

The straight-as-an-arrow with his usual cut and dry direct approach Arsenal boss penned a new long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium earlier this year, which will keep him at the club until at least the summer of 2027. Yet be that as it may, it looks like Barcelona with the ever-roving eyes are keeping a hawk’s eye gaze on the Spaniard’s work in north London as they weigh up the pros and cons of appointing him when Xavi’s tenure ends, according to Sport.

Allegedly Arteta would be a ‘firm candidate’ for the Barcelona job when it becomes available with the powers-that-be at the Nou Camp being most impressed with his work at Arsenal. Pep Guardiola’s role in helping Arteta to cut his milk teeth in football management during the latter’s time serving his coaching apprenticeship under the older Spaniard is undeniable and has made an indelibly stron impression with the top brass at Barcelona. That aside, his preferred style of play has also been singled as another dominant factor shaping their interest in his services.

Arteta’s cut-through-the-crap approach to dressing-room management is also scoring points with Barcelona in the wake of his resolute stance taken in dealing with recalcitrant Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang over a disciplinary breach before his exit from the club earlier this year.

Realistically, however, Xavi is widely expected to remain in his current role at Barcelona for the immediate foreseeable future as a change at this early juncture does not appear imminent, but it is still anybody’s guess when the club’s president Joan Laporta could suddenly decide on Arteta being the flavor of the new season. It now remains to be seen whether Guardiola’s former protegé will be targeted by the Catalan giants as and the tide should turn in the latter’s favor.

Arteta had previously been linked with a move to Barcelona after the sacking of former defender Ronald Koeman prior to Xavi’s appointment during the early stages of last season. However, the Spaniard was quick to reject the idea of leaving the Gunners for a return to his native Spain at the time but insisted that he was keeping a close eye on how things were unfolding at Barcelona, the club he played for as a youngster before joining Rangers back in 2022.

“It’s been a lot going in the past few years,” said Arteta when asked about the situation at Barcelona and whether he would be prepared to take over if approached by the club.

“Obviously how COVID has affected [them], obviously you have to overcome a situation like the departure of [Lionel] Messi who has been the key player for many, many years. All that takes time and we will see.

“I just hope that everything works out well, [although] I’m extremely happy at Arsenal and I feel privileged to be here. My only focus is here.”