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Arteta praises Xavi; dismisses rumours of Barcelona interest

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By Martin Graham | 4th Nov 2022

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has, in recent comments, delinked himself from the rumours of a discussion within Barcelona about making him their next manager.

After three years at the helm of affairs in Arsenal, the vision of the La Masia youth product has started to become clearer. Arsenal, as a result, are now enjoying their best start to life in the Premier League for almost a decade. The Gunners look set to go into the peculiar international break as league leaders, staving off the Manchester City challenge.

The club has been fully behind him and the fans are now coming around to his vision as well. And that vision is also quite clear to the rest of the world as they witness a resurgent Arsenal. The season has not been without its faults, however, but the Gunners are looking sharper and are now being considered as genuine title contenders.

The former Everton midfielder’s work at the club has now reportedly attracted Barcelona and media talk claims that some at the club are eyeing him as Xavi Hernandez’s successor should things go south.

Arteta, who never got a chance to prove himself as a La Masia graduate in Barcelona’s first team thanks to Xavi’s presence at the club, has praised his former academy teammate for his work so far at Barcelona while dismissing the talks of him taking his job.

Xavi failed to guide the side past the UEFA Champions League group stages for the second year in a row. Although this is his first season, many feel that the task may be too much for him despite him getting the absolute support of the club’s leadership.

Arteta believes Xavi’s work has “lifted” Barcelona, regardless of what the results are saying, and that the club is on a “really good path”. The Arsenal captain-turned-manager was speaking ahead of his side’s UEFA Europa League match against FC Zurich on Thursday. “What I can say is that I’m extremely happy and proud to be where I am,” Arteta said.

“Barcelona now are on a really good path. I think they have a phenomenal coach who is an absolute legend at the club and has lifted the whole place.

“You have to be very respectful of that.”

Arsenal are looking to claim the top spot in their Europa League group following their loss to PSV Eindhoven in their penultimate group stage game.

They will have to win their game against Swiss side FC Zurich to avoid being paired with the teams who will drop down from the Champions League.

The Spaniard is looking ahead to a tough match but believes in his team’s ability to pull it off.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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