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Arsenal’s talks with Mikel Arteta have reached a “sensitive stage”, Sky Sports News has been told, as the Gunners work to install the Manchester City assistant as their new head coach.
It is understood the Spaniard has yet to decide where his future lies despite more than 24 hours of discussions, including at his Manchester home where Gunners chief executive Vinai Venkatesham and lawyer Huss Fahmy were pictured leaving after 1am on Monday.
Arteta has a strong emotional pull to former club Arsenal but is also said to be conscious of the strength of his relationship with Pep Guardiola and the potential opportunity to eventually become his successor at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola said a few weeks ago he would not stand in Arteta’s way if he wanted to take a job as a number one, but also does not want to lose his trusted assistant of two Premier League title-winning campaigns.
Talks between the two clubs are ongoing and the Etihad hierarchy are known to be frustrated by a lack of communication from their Gunners counterparts over the past days.
Negotiations are further complicated by the unusual structure within the Gunners hierarchy, with owner Stan Kroenke and son Josh still to be convinced after getting through interviews Venkatesham, Fahmy, head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Edu.
Edu is understood to be keen on hiring former team-mate and club legend Patrick Vieira, who is currently the manager of Nice in France.
Arsenal want a head coach rather than a manager, which also may have led them to Arteta over Carlo Ancelotti, who appears poised to join Everton this week – and Arteta has become recognised as one of the best coaches in the Premier League since his retirement in 2016, developing novel and creative ways of working with the Manchester City players.