EXCLUSIVE: Arteta rumours ‘nonsense’ as Barcelona target another former player to replace Xavi

Steve Kay
Steve Kay
  • Updated: 30 Jan 2024 07:49 GMT
  • 3 min read
Mikel Arteta will not leave Arsenal for Barcelona
© ProShots

Mikel Arteta will not be leaving Arsenal next summer, with sources describing the rumours to FootballTransfers as “nonsense”.

A report broke on Sunday suggesting that Arteta is ready to quit the Gunners at the end of the season, following Barcelona boss Xavi and Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, who have already announced that they will be leaving at the end of the season.

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The implication of the story was that Arteta would leave Arsenal and become the next Barcelona head coach, with Xavi having announced his intention to leave the Camp Nou side in the summer following a difficult string of results.

FootballTransfers has been told that Arteta will not leave Arsenal and the implication that he might is nothing more than “nonsense”.

Garcia Pimienta is Barcelona's priority

Barcelona are likely to go for a more affordable option in their dugout in the former of Francisco Garcia Pimienta, who is presently head coach at Las Palmas. The 49-year-old is one of Barca’s priorities for the post, despite coaching a side seen as LaLiga minnows.

He was previously on the club’s shortlist to take over from Ronald Koeman when he was sacked in 2021.

A former Barcelona B head coach, it is thought Garcia Pimienta would jump at the opportunity to manage the first team, though he has previously claimed he is not interested in the post because of a poor relationship with president Joan Laporta over his sacking as B team boss in 2021.

"He had no excuses, he just wanted to put his people in, which was the reason they gave me. Telling me that I was not following the line of grassroots football… it’s the complete opposite. In 2018 when I go up to Barca B is when we return to our roots," Garcia Pimienta, known as Pimi, explained when Laporta claimed he did not integrate his players into the first team.

Xavi will leave Barcelona in the summer
© ProShots - Xavi will leave Barcelona in the summer

But the tune of the board has changed, likely out of financial necessity.

The hierarchy at Barcelona especially like the way Pimi is renowned for bringing through youth players, and he was a major factor in Gavi's development as well as many others. With the financial position at Camp Nou likely to be stretched for several seasons, this could be an essential talent for any candidate applying for the job.

He was at Barcelona for 28 years as a player then became a coach in the youth academy, although he only featured for the first team on one single occasion.

Garcia Pimienta has done an impressive job at Las Palmas, leading them into the top half of LaLiga, with his side unfortunate not to beat both Barcelona and Real Madrid this month, having led in both fixtures before losing 2-1.

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