Pep Guardiola has urged Mikel Arteta to resist overtures from clubs offering him a start on the managerial ladder, insisting he can take over from him at Manchester City when the time comes.
The highly-regarded No 2 admitted he was tempted to leave the Etihad in 2018 when Arsenal came calling, only for the board at the Emirates to opt for Unai Emery instead.
And he has since conceded there was also interest from Newcastle in the summer, an approach he said was easier to turn down.
But Guardiola made no secret of how pleased he is the former midfielder decided to stay put in Manchester and maintained he has no doubts he could succeed in the City hot-seat when he calls it a day.
Asked whether he believed Arteta could take over Pep Guardiola said: “I’m pretty sure, yes.
“He will have success. I’m thankful he he decided to stay but sooner or later it’s going to happen.
“He’s a young young manager, he’s 37 so he is young, he has experience already to handle big players and teams and when it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen.”
Guardiola has followed Arteta’s career since he was in the first team at Barcelona and his assistant was in the academy and praised his character in striking out from La Masia to forge a career first in Paris, then with Rangers and then in England.
“He speaks five or six languages, so he’s smart. He has incredible work ethic, and he has a special talent to analyse what happens, and to find the solutions,” Guardiola said.
“Mikel has helped me a lot. Especially in the first year, when he knew the Premier League like for example in games against Stoke or whatever, he could tell me the players we will face better than myself, because he played against them.”
Guardiola and Arteta have analysed last weekend’s shock 3-2 defeat against Norwich and put it to bed with the former maintaining he was not unhappy with the way his team played.
He added: “I’m relaxed. It’s going to happen (losing matches) and there are 99 points to play for. We are five behind (Liverpool) but let’s see how many we get.”
Of more concern ahead of today’s visit of Watford will be getting through a match without sustaining any more damage to his defence with Aymeric Laporte (five months) and John Stones (one month) away from a return to competitive action.
Fernandinho will continue to deputise at centre half alongside Nicolas Otamendi and Guardiola is also hopeful left back Benjamin Mendy can boost his options in defence with a sustained spell in the side.
Yet the City boss is not expecting a repeat of the last meeting with the Hornets at Wembley last May when the Blues dished out a 6-0 thrashing in the FA Cup.
“I don’t find any similarities to the FA Cup final,” Guardiola said. “It’s the beginning of the season. they’ve changed their manager and they were incredible in the second half against Arsenal – so strong in the middle.
“They are strong and fast, every game there can be problems.”