Pep Guardiola sends message to Arsenal board after Mikel Arteta’s transfer plea

Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal take on Manchester City for a place in the FA Cup final this weekend (Picture: Getty)

Pep Guardiola says Arsenal can be a major ‘contender’ in English football over the next few years as long as the club give Mikel Arteta the financial backing he needs to build a successful squad.

Arteta worked alongside Guardiola as Manchester City’s assistant for three-and-a-half years but stepped down to take charge of Arsenal following Unai Emery’s dismissal in December.

It was a case of master triumphing over apprentice in the Premier League last month as Guardiola’s City defeated Arsenal 3-0 at the Etihad – and Arteta will be desperate to get his revenge when they do battle for a place in the FA Cup final this weekend.

The Gunners will be buoyed by their victory over Liverpool on Wednesday night which kept their Europa League qualification hopes alive and Arteta has received widespread praise for the promising start he’s made in the hot seat at the Emirates.

But the Spaniard admitted after the 2-1 win that Arsenal’s lack of spending power could be a ‘big concern’ in this summer’s transfer market.

Arteta had to settle for just two loan signings in the January transfer window – although Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares’ moves have since been made permanent – and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future remains in doubt, with the striker’s current contract due to expire in 2021.

Asked whether he had been given a guarantee of funds, Arteta replied: ‘You know, you just have to see how they build these squads.

‘There is no magic, you need to improve with quality, quality players in the squad. And you need bigger squads to compete in this competition and this is the challenge.’

On whether he faces a similar task to the one assigned to Arsene Wenger when he took charge back in 1996, Arteta added: ‘I think the context is different I think the competition in the country is much harder than what it was before.

‘Arsene did some incredible things, brought some new ideas, a new philosophy to the country and he was very successful.

‘I have done nothing yet and have everything to do. We need support, we need belief and we need to go in the direction.’

Manchester City v Watford - FA Cup Final
Manchester City are looking to defend their 2019 crown (Picture: Getty)

Guardiola is refusing to underestimate Arsenal despite beating the north London club in their last seven meetings.

And the City head coach is confident the Gunners can go on and become a major force if they support Arteta ‘in terms of investment’ and give him the players he requires.

‘We approach Arsenal the same as we for the other teams,’ Guardiola said.

‘They’re one of the elite clubs in English football, especially in the last 20-30 years.

‘And I’m pretty sure they have brought the right person to come back and the position before when the club supports him, there are no better people to do the job than Mikel.

‘I have the feeling he’s creating something unique and if he is supported by the club in terms of investment and given the players that they need, they will be another contender for the next few years.’

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