Mikel Arteta has insisted that he is “fully focused” on managing Arsenal amid speculation he could soon take the reins at Barcelona.
Arteta joined Barcelona’s youth team as a teenager in 1997 and played for the Catalan giants B and C sides, but never broke into the first team.
Arteta left the club in 2002 and went on to have a successful career at English Premier League clubs Everton and Arsenal.
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Despite not being involved with Barcelona for almost 20 years, rumours emerged that Arteta was being lined up to replace Ronald Koeman, who has overseen a largely unsuccessful period at the club.
However, Arteta dismissed suggestions that he would soon take over at Camp Nou, saying that he is “extremely happy” at the north London club.
“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,” Arteta said via Sky Sports.
‘I want to do much better’
While Arteta didn’t rule out one day managing Barcelona, he refused to be drawn on the immediate future, suggesting that he wasn’t looking past his current position as Arsenal manager.
“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,” Arteta commented.
The Spaniard took over as Arsenal manager in December 2019, having previously worked under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City as an assistant manager.
Arteta will have two years left on his contract at the end of the current season, but stated that he has not yet begun contract negotiations with Arsenal to extend his time at the Emirates.
“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,” he said.