Guardiola hit back to questions over club’s decision to let Arteta leave for Arsenal in 2019

Guardiola also took issue with the timing of such questions surrounding Mikel Arteta’s departure from City.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has hit back with a strong response to questions over the club’s decision to let Mikel Arteta leave for Arsenal in 2019.

Both managers will lock horns at Etihad for the first time this season. This time, these two clubs are fighting for the Premier League title. Arsenal and Man City will go head-to-head in FA Cup fourth round.

Arteta knows Manchester City very well and he has worked under Pep Guardiola during his time at Man City as an assistant coach during their two Premier League title-winning campaigns of 2017/18 and 2018/19.

It is a subject Pep Guardiola certainly feels strongly about, as the City boss responded, “Mikel wanted to leave! What do you want me to say? Put a chain here (on his wrist) and say, ‘No you don’t leave!’”

He added, “I’m so happy for him because I have massive respect.”

Guardiola also took issue with the timing of such questions surrounding Mikel Arteta’s departure from Manchester City, suggesting that such topics have only come about as a direct result of his counterpart’s success at the Emirates Stadium this season.

“This question, (why not ask it) in a previous season when they didn’t win, ‘Why did you let Mikel leave?’ Now it’s easy because they have 50 points (in the Premier League). It’s before that you have to tell me, ‘Why did you let Mikel leave?’, When they were not qualified for the Champions League, or they were not there (competing for the title) Tell me then! Not now.

“It’s the same person, the same manager, the same everything. I’m sorry, but I’m a completely different person.

“Friends of mine, or people there, they have dreams to achieve because they want to do it. Who am I to avoid them of that? Who am I? I’m not, because after this guy cannot behave the best he can. It’s as simple as that.”

Manchester City currently trails Arsenal by five points in the Premier League table, with the North London club also holding a game in hand on their title rivals.

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