Guardiola backs Arteta as his successor

Guardiola’s team is currently 3rd in the Premier League. (AFP pic)

MANCHESTER: Pep Guardiola believes Mikel Arteta would be a suitable replacement for him when he leaves Manchester City after his Spanish assistant was linked with vacant jobs at Arsenal and Everton.

But the City boss said he would not stand in the 37-year-old’s way if he wanted to seek an opportunity elsewhere.

Asked if he would recommend Arteta as his successor, Guardiola, whose City contract runs until 2021, told Sky Sports News: “He is able to do that. But it depends on him, the club, many things that I cannot decide.

“He is ready (to be a manager). It’s right when he has an offer and he accepts the offer. But if you ask whether he is ready in his knowledge of the game, as a person, as a professional, then he is ready.

“I’m not a guy that puts a gun to the heads of my staff or players and says what they have to do.

“We are human beings and everyone has dreams and desires. Hopefully, he can stay this season and the next one – as long as possible in this club.”

Arteta, who played for Everton and Arsenal, is one of the names in the frame to succeed the sacked Unai Emery at the Emirates, while Everton are also looking for a boss after dismissing Marco Silva on Thursday.

Guardiola, preparing for Saturday’s Manchester derby, said he had been “impressed” by Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, despite the Norwegian’s struggles.

“I’m not there – it’s difficult to judge my colleagues,” said Guardiola, whose team are third in the Premier League table, 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.

“I judge the qualities of the players, incredibly fast, set-piece with (Harry) Maguire. They have good players and believe in what they do. I’ve been impressed.

“I’m manager of City and I think he’s an exceptional person. United have huge history and their quality is always there but we must try to beat them.”

Sergio Aguero remains sidelined but left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko could figure against United after knee surgery in October.