Mikel Arteta in cutting 41-word response to Arsenal exit rumours as Euro giants are put firmly in their place

Mikel Arteta, Arsenal manager, during a Europa League press conference

Mikel Arteta has moved to swiftly deny talks that he could be tempted away by Arsenal this summer amid claims one of the world’s biggest clubs have identified him as their manager in waiting.

The 40-year-old Spaniard was something of a risky choice by Arsenal when he was chosen as Unai Emery’s successor in December 2019. With zero experience of management at that stage, he had learned his craft as Pep Guardiola’s No 2 at Manchester City.

And while he led Arsenal to the FA Cup in that first season, he then had to endure a rocky period with growing calls for the Spaniard to be sacked.

However, Arteta rode out that storm and has since defied those critics to lead the Gunners to the Premier League summit. With 12 games left this season, they hold a five-point buffer over Guardiola’s City. And hopes are burning bright that Arteta can lead Arsenal to a first Premier League title in 19 years.

Understandably, Arteta rates highly among this rating of all 32 Premier League managers this season.

As a result, the Gunners boss finds himself in high demand and very much admired by other clubs.

To that end, a report on Wednesday suggests Arteta was attracting attention from Real Madrid.

The reigning European champions are reportedly considering a change this summer with Carlo Ancelotti no longer flavour of the month. And the Spanish media claims that a simmering row with president Florentino Perez is likely to leave to his departure this summer.

As a result, Arteta is emerging as their No 1 choice with Perez reportedly seeing him as their manager in waiting.

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Arteta underlines Arsenal commitment amid Real Madrid links

Arteta though has quickly responded to claims he tops Real Madrid’s wanted list.

And in a cutting 41-word response, he spoke out to banish the talk in its tracks.

“Managers and players can’t control what is written by the press,” he said.

“What I can tell is that I’m fully focused on what I’m doing here. I’m extremely proud and grateful to do what I’m doing in this football club. That’s it.”

Arteta’s comments will spell good news for Arsenal, who have the Spaniard tied down to a deal until summer 2025. That new arrangement only came into effect in December. However, few would be shocked were another extension be put before him before too long.

Leading Arsenal into the Champions League was his first objective this season. However, they look likely to smash through that and title success would far exceed his and Arsenal’s initial plans.

The Gunners are playing some brilliant football and are also alive in the Europa League too.

They, however, face a tricky round of 16 tie against Sporting Lisbon, with the first leg on Thursday evening.

Tottenham were losers there earlier this season in the Champions League. However, the Gunners travel there with hopes full of confidence and with a belief they can overcome the Portuguese giants.

READ MOREArsenal pair labelled best in Europe give Arteta agonising decision that could scupper their season