(Reuters) - Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he would understand if assistant coach Mikel Arteta was lured to Arsenal to become their next manager but hopes the Spaniard remains at the Premier League champions to finish what they started.
Guardiola’s assistant at City since 2016, former Arsenal captain Arteta has been mentioned as one of the leading contenders to succeed Arsene Wenger, who brought the curtain down on his 22-year reign at the London club on Sunday.
“Mikel’s contribution has been amazing,” Guardiola told reporters after City’s 1-0 win over Southampton.
“We work together so good and him staying will (make me) the happiest guy in the world.
“If he decides to move because he has this offer, I will not say you don’t have to go. I want the best for my friends.
“... I will be so sad but I will understand his position. It is his career, his life, but hopefully he can stay and finish what we started.”
Former midfielder Arteta made 150 appearances for Arsenal under Wenger from 2011 to 2016.
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford