Premier League • England

Mikel Arteta to Barcelona: ‘Really upset’ Arsenal boss issues brutal response to exit rumours as he sends beautiful message to Klopp

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has denied claims of a move to Barcelona during a press conference

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during a press conference

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has furiously snapped back at rumours suggesting he was planning to quit Emirates Stadium this summer with a strong message to Gunners supporters and following claims he was being lined up the role of Barcelona manager.

The LaLiga giants are beginning their quest to hunt for a new manager after legendary midfielder Xavi confirmed on Saturday that he plans to step down at the end of the season. After guiding Barcelona to LaLiga glory last season, Xavi has found himself under pressure this season with the Catalonian giants slipping 11 points behind surprise leaders Girona.

Indeed, Barcelona could have found themselves slipping out the top four on Sunday had Athletic Bilbao managed a win at lowly Cadiz, with a goalless draw not enough to further dampen the mood at Barcelona.

Nonetheless, with the hunt on for a new coach, strong reports in the Spanish media on Sunday claimed Arteta was ready to call time on his Arsenal reign at the end of the season and become the new Blaugrana boss.

Indeed, per the report, Arteta’s name features prominently on a five-man wishlist drawn up by Barcelona president Joan Laporta, with his ‘dream appointment’ also coming from within the Premier League.

And with his contract at Emirates Stadium currently due to expire in summer 2025, claims had been made that Laporta views Arteta as a highy obtainable target.

However, when questioned about the possible links, a raging Arteta has been quick to play down the suggestions that he is to leave Arsenal this summer.

And, in a message to all those who published the story, he has reminded all outlets to check their sources before going live with such wild speculation.

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Arteta hits back at Arsenal exit and Barcelona job rumours

Addressing the claims in a press conference to preview Tuesday evening’s Premier League clash at Nottingham Forest, Arteta was perfectly clear in where he sees his future.

“No, that’s totally fake news what you read yesterday,” Arteta said. “I don’t know where it’s coming from and it’s totally untrue. I’m really upset about it.”

He added: “I could not believe [it] I don’t know where it’s coming from and it’s got no source, it’s got nothing. I think we have to be very cautious when you talk about personal things to put it in the way it was put yesterday.”

Arteta was also at pains to stress that he is more than happy at Arsenal and already sees himself as being at the ‘right club’.

“I’m in the right place, I’m with the right people, I feel really good about it,” he said.

“As I said many times, we are in a beautiful journey with this football club, with these players, the staff these people and there’s still a lot a lot to learn.”

Asked directly about where the article had come from, Arteta responded: “That’s something that we cannot control, this is part of football.

“But that’s something very different to someone putting a statement about something that I’m doing, that’s very very different. Otherwise, it’s just part of football and this industry.”

Arteta opens up on possibility of signing new Arsenal deal

Of course, with his current arrangement expiring in just 18 months time, there still remains some doubts over Arteta’s future.

Asked whether stories about links to Barcelona could encourage the Gunners to open new deal talks with him of their own, Arteta was staying silent, though was keen to underline his strong working relationship with those higher up the chain of command at Emirates Stadium.

“I don’t know. I think I’ve got a strong relationship with the board, with Edu, with Tim [Lewis] with ownership.

“Things come in a natural way and we always honoured that and it worked out really well. When the time is right we will have those discussions and think about the best way to do it.”

Upon Jurgen Klopp’s decision to announce his exit at Liverpool, the German had made clear his wish to ‘never manage’ another English side after the Reds.

Asked if he too would take a similar stance when leaving Arsenal, Arteta commented: “Today no. I don’t know. I played for two great clubs in this country [Everton being the other].

“I’m extremely young and I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Asked again on why he wants to stay, Arteta added: “There is a lot to do here as well. You can feel it that we want more we’re not satisfied.”

Arteta did have a message for Klopp, though, after his announcement to leave Anfield on Friday.

“I think he’s made this league much better. First of all the person. The character, the charisma, I think he’s had a big contribution for this league. I love the way he did it.

“When you see that human side, the challenges and everything that is related to the club. We have to say thankyou because he made this league much better.”

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