Gabby Agbonlahor has urged Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta to ignore talk of a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid and turn the Gunners into a Champions League force instead.
The Gunners chief has been tipped to replace the outgoing Carlo Ancelotti in Madrid, with a recent report from Italian outlet Tuttosport claiming that the current Premier League leaders are already eyeing up Brighton boss Roberto de Zerbi as a replacement.
Arteta currently has just over two years remaining on his Emirates contract but is on the brink of guiding the club to their first Premier League title in almost 20 years.
However, his achievements in north London have led to Real earmarking the 41-year-old as their next head coach.
Agbonlahor thinks Arteta needs to turn Arsenal into a real Champions League contender before he can be considered good enough to take charge at the Bernabeu.
The former Aston Villa frontman told Football Insider: “I don’t think Arsenal can be considered Champions League contenders yet. That’s a while away.
“Real Madrid are in that bracket, every season.
“But there’s no reason why Arteta can’t make Arsenal contenders for that competition.”
Real job not right for Arteta, just yet
Agbonlahor also feels that the timing is not right for Arteta to be swapping clubs.
He added: “The talk of him going to Madrid, I don’t see why he would want to go right now.
“He’s built something special. Even if he doesn’t win the league this season, he’ll want to do it next season. He’s got Champions League football to look forward to.
“Arsenal is his club. Dream jobs like Real Madrid, or Spain – that can wait for the future. He’s got plenty of time.”
The Gunners are back in action on Sunday when they head to West Ham in the Premier League.
Arteta’s men will be looking to get back to winning ways after being pegged back in their 2-2 draw at Liverpool over the weekend.
That result leaves them six points ahead of Manchester City, who have a game in hand and also welcome Arsenal to The Etihad on April 26.