Pep Guardiola has discussed his relationship with Mikel Arteta and the exits of Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus ahead of Manchester City’s clash with Arsenal on Friday evening.
Manchester City host Arsenal in the FA Cup’s fourth round this evening in a clash between the Premier League’s top two teams at the Etihad.
Arsenal are top of the Premier League table and have emerged as City’s biggest challengers this season, with the Gunners having made huge progress under Mikel Arteta.
Arteta spent three seasons working on the coaching staff at Manchester City before departing to take his first senior role at Arsenal in 2019, and Guardiola has discussed his relationship with his former assistant as the two prepare to go head-to-head.
“I said many time to my players and staff. We felt if one team could offer him as manager he would leave. I am not a guy to say stay with me,” Guardiola told his pre-match press conference.
“Everyone has dreams. I know he went to his club, a supporter, he was a captain there. He loves the club.
“I remember here when we score goals he jumps a lot except one team. He was sitting there. It was Arsenal. I said that guy likes Arsenal. Like here if I’m training as assistant and Barcelona call me, I go. People have to fly when he believes is the best. To players if they are not happy they have to leave, life it too short.”
Arteta will not be the only familiar face in the Arsenal set-up, after Oleksandr Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus signed fro the north Londoners last summer.
Each have made a major impression with the Gunners after squad roles at City and Guardiola was asked whether he regretted the decision to allow the duo to leave for a Premier League rival.
“Why not? Because they are winning. Ah! Aleks and Gabriel have been amazing with us, incredible respect as persons and players.
“Of course we want to beat them. I’m more than delighted, it’s because the players, both clubs agree with that. Many times Aleks maybe could leave and said he wanted to stay. Gabriel the same, we agreed. Arsenal wanted him, it happens. It’s going well for them, congratulations. We have to try and be close to them.”
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