Arteta downplays Barcelona links: ‘I’m extremely happy’ at Arsenal

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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has downplayed recent rumors linking him with the not-yet vacant job at Barcelona.

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Despite the fact Ronald Koeman is still very much the Barcelona manager — not to mention the fact that Arteta has had very little success as Arsenal manager and they currently sit 10th in the Premier League — Arteta, a product of Barcelona’s famed La Masia youth academy, has emerged as a candidate to replace the Dutchman ahead of this weekend’s presidential election at the Camp Nou.

Arteta went on record on Wednesday, downplaying the links and reaffirming his commitment to Arsenal — quotes from our partners at Sky Sports:

“There is always going to be speculation when there are elections in Barcelona. It’s a huge team and obviously I was raised there as a player, and they’re always going to be linked.

“But I’m fully focused on the job that I have to do here. We have a lot to do and I’m really enjoying it.

“I feel privileged to manage this football club and I’m extremely happy.”

“Today and tomorrow I am the manager of Arsenal Football Club and I’m really enjoying it and I want to do much better than what we’ve done.”

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Arteta’s current contract with Arsenal is set to run through the summer of 2023. Asked whether or not he and the club have had any discussions over a new deal, Arteta confirmed that they have not.

“No. We are in the middle of the season, we have a lot to play for and at the moment it’s not a priority. I still have my contract here and I’m happy here, and I don’t think it’s something urgent.”

After a horrid start to the 2020-21 La Liga season (4W-2D-4L in their first 10 games), Barcelona have recovered quite well (12W-3D-0L during their current 15-game unbeaten run) as they currently sit second in La Liga, five points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand. Real Madrid are level on points (53) after 25 games.