Arteta upset over 'fake news' links to Barça job

Mikel Arteta dismissed speculation he could quit Arsenal for Barcelona at the end of the season as “totally fake news” and said he was “upset” by the reports.

Reports in Spain on Sunday said the 41-year-old coach was ready to succeed Xavi at Spotify Camp Nou, where he came through the club’s fabled La Masia youth academy as a teenager.

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Multiple sources told ESPN that Arteta remains fully committed to Arsenal, and he reflected that position ahead of his side’s Premier League trip to Nottingham Forest.

“That’s totally fake news,” Arteta said in a news conference on Monday when asked if he would be leaving. “What you read yesterday is … I don’t know where it is coming from and it is totally untrue. I am really upset about it.

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

“I am in the right place. I am with the right people. I feel really good about it. As I said many times, I am invested in a beautiful journey with this football club, with these players, these staff, our people, and there is still a lot to do.

“I am really cautious when I talk publicly about my personal things, and when someone puts a statement saying something I said or did, it is upsetting.

“I understand we are in this industry, but the second one, I don’t think anyone deserves to hear in news like that and I have always been really straight and always said the complete opposite; how happy I am, how grateful I am and how much I enjoy where I am now, that is why I am upset.”

Sources have told ESPN that Arsenal are relaxed about Arteta’s commitment to the club despite not yet opening talks over an extension to his contract, which expires in summer 2025.

“This is something [a contract extension] that will happen naturally when it has to happen, and that is it,” said Arteta, who has also been mooted as a possible successor to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Arteta spent three years as a coach under Guardiola prior to taking his first step into management with Arsenal in December 2019.

When the former Arsenal and Everton midfielder was pushed on whether he could ever manage another club in England, Arteta said: “Today, no. But I don’t know. I played for two great clubs in this country. I moved around in different things. I am extremely young and I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Thomas Partey is still unavailable as he recovers from a hamstring injury, but Declan Rice and Gabriel hope to return from slight muscle strains sustained in Arsenal’s previous game against Crystal Palace.

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