ARSENAL academy chief Per Mertesacker has claimed he “would love” to work with Mikel Arteta after the Spaniard was tipped to take over from under-fire Unai Emery.
The former midfielder, 37, was linked with the Gunners job even before Emery took over from Arsene Wenger.
But with the North Londoners desperately struggling for form – with the fifth-worst record in the Premier League in the last six games – club chiefs are already looking elsewhere.
Luis Enrique was thought to be Arsenal’s No1 target – but he has just retaken his old job as Spain boss.
Arteta, who played alongside Mertesacker for five years at the Emirates, is currently Pep Guardiola’s No2 at Manchester City.
The former Germany defender was Arteta‘s vice-captain for a spell in North London too.
And Mertesacker hopes to be working with him one day soon, telling FourFourTwo: “I was his vice-captain at Arsenal and he trusted me.
“I was by his side during team meetings and we had a great bond.
“I’d love to work with him again, [he’s] a top guy.”
Arsenal chiefs have been given a major boost in their pursuit of Arteta, too – with Man City revealing they won’t stand in his way.
An Etihad source said: “Mikel loves working at City and learning from the best manager in the world in Pep.
“Everyone knows he wants to be his own man one day, though.
“Mikel still has a lot of affection for Arsenal from his playing days there.
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“He knows City would never dream of standing in the way of his ambitions if an attractive offer came from a top club.
“That’s not how they work, nor Pep. They want to empower people and see them get on.
“It was the same with Patrick Vieira when he was behind the scenes at City before wanting to manage at New York City FC.”