Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger says Manchester City counterpart Manuel Pellegrini is experienced enough to deal with speculation that Pep Guardiola is on his way to the Etihad Stadium.
With his contract at Bayern Munich ending in the summer and an announcement on his intentions expected next week, Guardiola has been linked with a move to the Barclays Premier League.
In varying reports, the Catalan is being lined up by the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and City, should he opt not to extend his stay in Germany.
Pellegrini has already dealt with his position being threatened in the past and takes his side to the Emirates Stadium on Monday night looking to beat Arsenal in a match that could potentially see the victors topping the table at Christmas.
Wenger acknowledges such rumours can be unsettling, but feels his Chilean rival can deal with such talk.
Asked if links to Guardiola could be destabilising to Pellegrini’s ambitions, Wenger replied: “It can be, but Pellegrini is experienced enough to deal with it.
“Maybe if it was a very young beginner, it could be destabilising, but I don’t think that at his level it will affect him. I don’t know if that (the speculation) is down to City – that’s down to media speculation and I don’t know where that comes from.
“It’s very difficult to master nowadays, to have this kind of speculation. If you look at Real Madrid, there is always speculation. It looks like it’s part of our job now.”
Wenger dismissed any suggestion his side will take advantage of any issues that may arise over the uncertainty of Pellegrini’s situation and wants Arsenal to think only of themselves on Monday.
“I believe that what will be an advantage to us is to focus on our performance and not hope for any weakness from City. We go into a top-level game where all the rest will be forgotten and everybody else will just focus on the performance on the day,” he said.
“The number of goals scored and goals conceded, the number of passes made, percentage of possession, is all very close. If you look at all the numbers (Arsenal and City are very close).”