LONDON: Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta says reports linking him with succeeding Xavi as Barcelona manager are “totally untrue”.

Xavi announced on Saturday that he would be stepping down from the role at the end of the season.
Spanish newspaper Sport said Arteta, who is a product of Barcelona’s youth academy, was also thinking of leaving his post with the Gunners.

“Who, me? No. That is totally fake news,” said Arteta, whose Arsenal contract runs until the summer of 2025. “What you read, I’m really upset about it. I couldn’t believe it. It has no sources. I’m in the right place with the right people and feel really good about it.

“I’m embracing a beautiful journey with this club and there’s still a lot to do. I have a strong relationship with the board.

“Things come in a natural way. When the time is right we will have those [contract] discussions and find the best way to deal with it.”

Arteta never played a competitive game for Barcelona’s first team and, after a loan spell at Paris Saint-Germain, the former midfielder went on to play for Rangers, Real Sociedad, Everton and Arsenal. After retiring, he worked as a coach under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City before taking over as Gunners boss in December 2019.

He won the FA Cup with the north London club in 2020 and Arsenal finished second to Manchester City in the Premier League last season after being overtaken late in the title race.

The Gunners are third – five points behind leaders Liverpool – in the top flight going into Tuesday’s game at Nottingham Forest. They are also still in the Champions League and face Porto in the last 16.

Arteta added: “There is a lot to do here and we all share that ambition. We want more, we aren’t satisfied and the club wants another push to go to another level. We have everyone on board to achieve it.”

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