Arteta insists he's 'fully focused' on Arsenal amid Barcelona links

Mikel Arteta insists he’s ‘fully focused’ on Arsenal and is ‘really enjoying’ the challenge of getting the club back on track amid links to his boyhood team Barcelona… as he claims signing a new contract is not a ‘priority’

  • Mikel Arteta was mentioned as a replacement for Ronald Koeman at Barcelona
  • The Arsenal manager began his career at Barca but didn’t play for the first team
  • Arteta played down the speculation as the Spanish giants prepare for elections
  • He insists he is committed to Arsenal and wants to do ‘much better’ at the club
  • The Spaniard has a deal until 2023 but says agreeing an extension is not ‘urgent’ 

Mikel Arteta has played down speculation linking him with a return to his old club Barcelona and insists agreeing a new contract with Arsenal is not ‘urgent’.

Reports in Spain have linked the Gunners boss with the top job at the Nou Camp, with presidential candidate Joan Laporta reportedly keen to install him as manager.  

But Arteta, who came through the club’s famous La Masia academy but left without making a first team appearance, insists he remains committed to Arsenal. 

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says he’s ‘fully focused’ on the job amid links to old club Barcelona

‘There is always going to be speculation when there’s elections in Barcelona,’ he said during a press conference on Wednesday.

‘It’s a huge team. Obviously I was there raised there as a player and there’s always going to be links but I’m fully focused on the job that I have to do here, which we have a lot to do, and I’m really enjoying it.

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

Ronald Koeman’s position could be in doubt once Barcelona’s new president is confirmed

Barcelona are set to announce the winner of their presidential elections on March 7, with Laporta the strong favourite for a return to the Nou Camp. 

RAC1 journalist Gerard Romero claimed that Arteta was a possible replacement for Ronald Koeman, although the report was later denied by Laporta’s camp.

The former Gunners midfielder, who won the FA Cup last season, has a contract until the summer of 2023, having replaced Unai Emery as boss in December 2019.

Arteta celebrates with Willian after Arsenal’s comeback victory at Leicester on Saturday

Arteta insists that agreeing an extension is not important at this stage of the season, with his side still battling to finish in a European position.

‘We are in the middle of the season, we have a lot to play for and at the moment it’s not a priority,’ he added.

‘That’s okay, I still have a contract here, I am happy here and I don’t think it’s something urgent.’ 

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