If You Were Arteta – Would You Leave For Barcelona? by Dan Smith

Mikel Arteta has gone from being linked with the sack before Christmas to now being rumoured as the next Barcelona manager.

The presidential elections at the Nou Camp are due on the 8th of March and given the turmoil on and off the pitch, this year’s is as crucial as any in the club’s recent history.

It’s traditional for candidates to promise various things to supporters to garner votes.
Usually those discussions involve Messi’s future but according to RAC1 Joan Laporte wants Arteta to follow Ronald Koeman.

Given that the Catalan giants are 5 points behind top in La Liga (Atletico have a game in hand) and lost 4-1 at home in the first leg of the Champions League last 16, the Dutchman’s future isn’t safe, even if there is more an acceptance that the club are in transition.

Whether it’s right or wrong, Barca have a dressing room who hold influence over who is in power. The senior players will forever be grateful to Pep Guardiola and therefore might not mind working with his apprentice who would have been taught the Barca way.

It’s believed that if Laporta gets re-elected for the second time it will increase the chances of Messi staying (although for the first-time senior figures are doubting the financial sense of keeping the Argentine).

Laporta has the trust based on his previous tenure. In many ways he was the man who promoted the model of promoting within. Not appointing the most experienced names as head coach but Barcelona men.

That’s why Arsenal being 10th wouldn’t be held against Arteta. Arteta was part of the club’s youth team and his mentor is Mr Guardiola, someone who Laporta would listen too.

If club legend Pep says Arteta is the man to take Barca forward, then that will be enough. Plus with the Man City’s boss’ help Mikel could quickly point to the restraints he has to work with (an owner with zero ambition) and add that even with them he won the FA Cup.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 21: Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City bumps fists with Mikel Arteta, Manager of Arsenal after the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester City at Emirates Stadium on February 21, 2021. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

I believe Arteta has a lot of respect for Arsenal, but if an offer came from Barcelona it would be heart vs head.

His heart might say he’s at the start of a project at the Emirates and he might have loyalty to a club who gave him his first job. His head might say ‘how often do you get the chance to manage one of the biggest clubs in the world’.

As a former player, he’s smart enough to know the fickleness of the sport. He will know there were gooners who wanted him gone in his rookie year and that will only increase if this time next year we are not in the top 4. At that point would Barca still be interested?

Taking the emotion out of it, I believe Arteta is an ambitious coach. So he needs to ask himself the following ……..

Can he ever win the Premiership with Arsenal? In my opinion not under the current owner.

Is he more likely to win La Liga with Barcelona? In my view 100 percent.

It’s not as rosy in the Barca garden as it has been in the last two decades, but there is too much pressure from fans, the media, the dressing room, etc to let any President do anything else but build again.

As a fan owned club, a Stan Kroenke type at Arsenal wouldn’t work in Spain.

At Arsenal it will be always two steps forward, one back because the Kroenke Family earn so much off TV revenue they no longer care where we finish. Arteta will never be allowed to compete in the transfer market with the Manchester clubs or Chelsea.

For example, we finished in our worst position in 25 years, so our manager asked for a number 10 to make us better. Instead of Aouar, he had to wait till January to get a loan signing but only after we had slashed the wage bill. That’s the best a Billionaire can do? He’s worked that way since he joined our board so isn’t going to suddenly change now.

Arteta might have more credentials than you think.

In the short term Barca need someone happy to bring through youngsters. Something Arteta has done in North London.

He clearly wants to play the style taught to him by Pep but doesn’t have the quality to do that at Arsenal, but he would in Spain.

Equally, he felt the need to organise his defence at Arsenal first, which is something maybe Barca could do with.

I know there are some readers who would be happy to see Arteta jump ship while others rate him.

I want him to succeed but don’t think he will under the current process so logically jump before you are pushed.

Especially if you are jumping off a sinking ship to a sexier one…

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This article first appeared on Just Arsenal and was syndicated with permission.

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