Mikel Arteta has reaffirmed his commitment to Arsenal and hit back at sensational reports in Spain that claimed the Gunners boss could leave the club at the end of the season.
A report from Spain had claimed that the 41-year-old football coach had told those close to him that he was considering a move away from the north London club.
But speaking in a press conference today ahead of Arsenal’s trip to play against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday the Gunners boss flatly denied that the surprising rumours were true.
‘No. That’s totally fake news,’ the 41-year-old said when asked on the reports. ‘What you read yesterday, I don’t know where it’s coming from it’s totally untrue. I’m really upset about it.
‘I could not believe it. I don’t know where it’s coming from. I think we have to be very cautious when you talk about personal things especially when it was put in the way that it was yesterday.
He added: ‘I’m in the right place. I’m with the right people and I feel really good about it.
‘As we’ve said many times, I’m embracing a beautiful journey with this football club. With these players, the staff, our people. And there is still a lot to do.’
Speaking on tomorrow’s game, Arteta added that Thomas Partey will not be in the squad to face Nottingham Forest tomorrow, but is hopeful Declan Rice will be fit.
Rice came off early in the 5-0 victory over Crystal Palace and has since been assessed.
On Sunday night, sources close to Arsenal had also adamantly denied there was any truth to the reports.
Arteta also admitted that the claims had left him feeling upset, stating: ‘One is a consequence of the other. First of all I’m really cautious when I talk publicly about my personal things.
‘When someone puts a statement about what we’ve done personally. Secondly because I don’t think someone deserves to hear news like that. I’ve always said completely the opposite. That’s why I feel upset.’
After wrapping up his playing career with Arsenal in 2016, the Spaniard would move to Manchester City to work as an assistant manager under Pep Guardiola. He would subsequently return to the Emirates and take over from Unai Emery going on to oversee 210 matches as Arsenal’s manager.
Arteta was questioned on whether being linked with the vacant Barcelona manager’s position was a compliment to him.
It comes after Xavi left his role as the team’s head coach on Sunday amid their turbulent start to the 2023-24 season that has seen the LaLiga outfit crash out of the Copa del Rey and fall 11 points clear of league leaders Girona.
But Arteta responded: ‘That’s something that we can’t control. That’s a part of football. That’s something very different to someone putting a statement about something that I’m doing. That’s very, very different.’
Arteta’s current contract will expire at the end of the 2024-25 season and the Arsenal boss spoke out on contract negotiations with the club.
‘I don’t know. I think I’ve got a strong relationship with the board with the team and the ownership and things come in a natural way.
‘We have always done it that way and it worked out really well. When the time is right we’ll have those discussions and think about the best way to do it.’
On Jurgen Klopp stepping down at the end of the season, he said: ‘I think he’s made this league much better. First of all the person. The character, the charisma, the ideas and his passion for the game is something special. I think he’s had a big contribution for the growth of this league. Then I love the way he did it. When you see the emotion that he put in and you see that human side, explaining the reasons behind his decision and the challenges and everything that is related to our job, I think he was spot on.
‘When someone has done what he’s done for that football club and the league you have to respect that and basically say thank you because I think he made this league much better, he made every manager better and he’s made the league much more beautiful and intense.
‘Sometimes you feel like you don’t have it any more, sometimes that can happen when you’re a player, a manager or you’re in any job, you have to be very cautious managing that energy and that time and how much you invest.
‘It is extremely demanding. I love it and I am young and have a lot of energy but I understand that after a lot of years — I think with Jurgen it was 24 years doing different jobs in different countries — it is something that naturally happens.’
More to follow…