MANCHESTER, England — Pep Guardiola has conceded there is no reason for Mikel Arteta to turn down the Arsenal job.
Arteta is in talks about becoming the next manager at the Emirates and Guardiola admits it will be difficult for the Spaniard to reject the role to stay as his assistant at Manchester City.
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“It is a good argument — why not?” said Guardiola, ahead of City’s trip to Oxford United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
“It is uncomfortable for me. It is a question for Mikel, I am not in his brain. We talk about it a little bit but his feelings are his feelings.
“If he decides to move I’ll wish him all the best, for him, his family and for his professional future. I will beat him — that’s a joke!”
Sources confirmed to ESPN that talks between Arteta and the club continued on Tuesday, with the Spaniard speaking to Josh Kroenke, the son of Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke, with things progressing well and the club hopeful Arteta can take charge for this weekend’s match against Everton.
Sources added that Arteta is keen to take the job but details need to be ironed out before that happens, including his compensation package which is still being discussed.
Arteta’s potential departure would leave Guardiola’s coaching team short as City look to close the gap on Liverpool at the top of the Premier League and make inroads in the Champions League.
Guardiola has said in the past he would recommend Arteta for the top job at City once he leaves but suggested he has not discussed when that might be with his No.2.
“Do you want to sack me?” joked Guardiola, who has a contract until 2021.
“He was honest with me, he explained everything that happened, the steps but after that I didn’t ask what you want to do. I don’t want to be involved. I am a guy that [lets] the people live with freedom.
“I said many times, it’s the same with the players, if they have other desires or wishes whatever, what can we do? We are not going to tell him, stay, stay stay, if he doesn’t want to stay.
“He knows exactly what we think about him, at the club, after that, we cannot do more. I think the club has done everything and we cannot do anymore.”
Meanwhile, City have been handed a tough round-of-16 draw against Real Madrid in the Champions League, but Guardiola insists he is confident of progressing.
“It’s positive as we are one of the best 16 teams in Europe and that’s good news,” Guardiola added.
“If you want to go through you have to play these teams sooner or later, you can do it now or later. It’s an incredible test for us, we want to prepare well for two months and get the injured players back.
“We’ll see the feeling in February. If you want to make a step we have to face them. They have more experience in this competition but we’ll try to compete with them. I have incredible confidence to do a good two games.”
Guardiola has been handed a boost ahead of the second half of the season after Leroy Sane stepped up his recovery from knee surgery by returning to training.
The winger has not played since suffering an injury during the Community Shield victory over Liverpool in August.
“He’s taken the next step to go on the pitch, then he’ll take part in training,” Guardiola said. “It’s incredibly good news for us. It’s good.”
Information from ESPN correspondent Julien Laurens contributed to this report.