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Mikel Arteta emerges as Joan Laporta target to be next Barcelona manager

FOOTBALL By Mirror | March 1st 2021
Soccer Football - Premier League - Wolverhampton Wanderers v Arsenal - Molineux Stadium, Wolverhampton, Britain - February 2, 2021 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta during an interview after the match [Pool via REUTERS/Nick Potts]

Mikel Arteta is on Joan Laporta's shortlist to take charge at Barcelona.

The Catalans will soon hold presidential elections and Laporta is among the favourites to be voted into power for a second stint.

He has big plans for the club whom he led during their trophy-laden era under Pep Guardiola.

Laporta is eyeing current Arsenal boss Arteta as a replacement for current incumbent Ronald Koeman.

The Dutchman was only appointed in the summer but has overseen an indifferent season with a team in need of an overhaul and was never seen as much more than a stop-gap - even more so after the removal of ex-president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

A new president is set to look to appoint their own man and Catalan radio reports that Laporta - who handed Guardiola his big break at Camp Nou - has Arteta in his sights, amid suggestions that club legend Xavi Hernandez does not want to return this summer..

Arteta is a former La Masia graduate and spent more than three years working as Guardiola's No.2 at Manchester City where he earned rave reviews.

Taking charge at the Emirates was Arteta's first go at holding the top job and he has impressed many.

Soccer Football - FA Cup Final - Arsenal v Chelsea - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - August 1, 2020 Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrate with the trophy after winning the FA Cup, as play resumes behind closed doors following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) [Pool via REUTERS/Catherine Ivill]

The Gunners were languishing in midtable when he took over midway through the campaign, but he led them to the FA Cup and then the Community Shield.

He has endured challenging times this season, but he has been praised for the way he has looked to change the club's culture.

Arteta will appeal to Laporta due to his connection with Guardiola and his style of football.

He has also proved savvy in dealing with internal club politics, retaining the confidence of senior figures at Arsenal amid indifferent spells of form and numerous ins and outs among club staff.

Sporting director Edu claimed the Gunners were "in the process to have a beautiful future" under Arteta.

“Mikel is doing a great job, he’s doing really well here,” he said in December.

“If we’re not talking about patience with Mikel. It would be very unfair to him because what a year we have faced: three months without football matches, a lot of things changing in the club.

"He started, stopped, and when he started to get an understanding of all the squad he stopped again.

"It would be really unfair to Mikel to say something about that because the year was so challenging for everyone, but even more for Mikel, who had just arrived at the club.”

Mirror Football understands Laporta also has an agreement in place with Hector Bellerin’s representatives too try to negotiate a deal with Arsenal that would see the right-back return to the club with whom he began his youth career.

Bellerin, 25, has made over 200 appearances for the Gunners since joining as a 16-year-old.

His contract runs until June 2023 but it is understood he is open to rejoining his old club and returning to his home city.

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