Pep Guardiola believes Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta would have been the best person to replace him at Manchester City had he not renewed his contract.
Arteta was the Man City boss’ assistant manager before leaving to take the Arsenal job in December 2019.
The two sides will face off in the FA Cup on Friday and Guardiola believes Arteta would have been the ideal candidate to replace him had the now Arsenal boss remained at the club and Guardiola decided not to extend his deal with City until 2025.Embed from Getty Images
“I’m pretty sure if I would’ve left before and he was here, he would be the best,” Guardiola said.
“But I extended the contract. I’m sorry, and he didn’t wait. But definitely.
“I had a feeling and I said many times, we knew it when he was here, that his ability, his capacity and everything.
“I remembered the first game we played, I think it was against Sunderland, and we played against David Moyes who was there at that moment, now with West Ham.
“He said he knew him very well from Everton, he does this and does that. After 15 minutes or half-an-hour, no more than that, I said yeah, this is the man.
“This is the guy who can help me to anticipate the knowledge about what it means to go to Stoke City away or go to every stadium.
“I don’t know what my part on him was, but his influence on me was great, it was massive. It was so important to become a better manager.”
Arteta has guided Arsenal to lead the Premier League at the halfway point of this season and Guardiola believes it was always possible that he might leave for another job while at City.
“We knew a team could offer him to be a manager and he would leave,” he continued.
“I know he went to the team that’s his club, the team he dreams of. He’s a supporter of Arsenal from the fact he played there, was the captain there, and he loves the club.
“I remember that when we worked together here, when we scored a lot of goals against our opponents he always jumped and celebrated except one team.
“That one team, every time we scored a goal I jumped and turned back and he was sitting there. It was Arsenal. At that moment I said that guy likes Arsenal.”
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