Barcelona’s links with Arteta is simply political posturing in Spain

Some Gooners will be relieved that Barcelona have seemingly removed from Mikel Arteta from their shortlist to join them in the summer. It’s believed those in power have cited our manager’s lack of experience to handle the pressure in Catalonia. Which doesn’t make sense as the current boss Xavi had less time in the dugout when hired by the same regime.

Their current boss is yet to give an official explanation why he wants to resign just two years into a job. If you believe the theory of the 44 year old being exhausted by the demands on him, you could understand why his employers might want to change their selection criteria.

Like most things in Spanish football though, a lot of what is being said could be political.

It’s believed Joan Laporta was never in favour of Xavi returning to Northeast Spain due to the ex-midfielder’s relationship with presidential candidate Victor Font who was opposing Laporta at the time.

The President only publicly backed Xavi when he realised he could benefit out of the situation. The story of a former legend returning to the country masked that, in reality, that for financial reasons Barca couldn’t afford to attract established names anymore.

The irony is that’s why Arteta first managerial job was Arsenal. While the Gunners have always maintained the Spaniard was their first choice, it’s widely believed that others who interviewed withdrew their interest once they learnt about the limited transfer budget at the time.

That’s why Arteta would be an obvious candidate. Yes, he’s been financially backed in recent years, but he clearly prefers to work with youth who he can micromanage and teach his ethos to. Look how many senior pros he’s paid to have their contracts ripped up.

Xavi is the opposite. Used to winning his whole career, he wants to give himself the best chance of silverware and believes that’s by having established stars.

Developing youngsters isn’t what Xavi was led to believe his role would be. Taught by Pep Guardiola, he is a perfectionist who doesn’t just want to win trophies, but do it playing beautiful football. It seems Xavi feels misled by the job specification.

Even though Barca were champions in his first season., the club legend feels he can’t implement his principles with limited funds. Mateo Alemany and Jordi Cruyff have since left, two Directors who had his vision. Ex teammate Deco does not.

Xavi had met Haaland and Bernardo Silva but quickly realised he couldn’t compete with the wage’s others could offer.

So, you could argue that Arteta, not the icon at the Nou Camp that Xavi is, would be better suited to do what Barca need at this moment.

That’s why Laporta leaking out his thought process might be a political move. Feed the public the narrative that they rejected Arteta, masking the fact that the reality might be the other way around. To admit that would again be confirmation that Barcelona no longer has the muscle to get what they want. They are too proud to want anyone to believe that.

I’m not denying Arteta’s love for the team he joined at 15 but for security, your job is safer in North London.

Arteta has increasing power at the Emirates where Edu and Josh Kroenke listen to his point of view. Stakeholders at Arsenal trust him as part of a long-term plan.

You’re not going to swap that for a workplace who have whispers and murmurings even after they won La Liga. If that’s how they treat a man who won every medal possible in his career, imagine how they would treat someone who never played a competitive appearance for them beyond their B team?

Even if Arteta’s heart favoured a return to his homeland, I don’t think his head would. Taking charge of Barca most likely is on his bucket list but such is the high staff turnover behind the scenes the vacancy will be available again one day.

Oddly since Xavi announced his intention to walk away at the end of the campaign his team have not lost a match.

While silverware remains unlikely it’s not impossible. They are now just 5 points behind Real Madrid. Yes, their rivals have a game in hand but there is still an El classico to play.

As for the Champions League, on paper they appear to be on the kind side of the draw?

That’s why Laporta remains adamant (at least in public) a desire to change Xavi’s mind.

Can a compromise be reached on transfer policy?

Does he now believe he has the benefit of the regime?

Will further trophies inject him with energy he feels he has lost?

Again, though it’s self-interest. It doesn’t help you get votes if the fanbase summarise you’re not supporting one of the greatest to ever pull on the famous Blue and Maroon stripe shirt?

Arteta is cerebral enough to base any decision on what suits him. He watched Arsene Wenger reject offers based on loyalty towards the badge, jobs that would have made more medals on his CV more likely. He’s since admitted that he rejected not leaving sooner when a section of our fanbase didn’t repay that loyalty.

Yes, Mikel’s stock is high now, but our ex-captain is smart enough to understand that won’t last forever if our title drought continues.

Arteta is intelligent enough to know that while he works under pressure in England, it’s not as intense as it would be back home. Arteta took us twice to our lowest League finish in quarter of a century yet was shown patience that wouldn’t exist in Spain. There would be a riot if he took Barcelona out of Europe like he did with Arsenal.

Los ‘Cules’ wouldn’t label 5th ever as ‘ progress’ like some of our supporters did.

If you’re not 2nd your last in Barcelona. Those standards don’t exist in the red half of North London.

Arteta might one day go back to where it all began – but on his terms.

Arteta is the pretty girl at the bar. Laporta is boasting to his mates he’s not interested but secretly the pretty girl refused to give him her number in the first place.


Tags Barcelona Joan Laporta


  1. The Kroenke’s seems confident enough not have extended the young Spaniard contract already.

    Early indications, he’s destine to be a top class manager in the mold of Pep Guarrdiola as opposed to the legendary Frenchman.

  2. One COULD summise that the Kronkies are waiting to see what their huge investment under MA will result in before offering another contract.

    If they continue to support him, then I see no earthly reason why he would want to leave our club…. but he needs to start winning trophies.

    1. I am convinced ken that both Kroenkes are and have been for some time already, way ahead of some of our fanbase, in total belief in MA, as KSE have already demonstrated and financially too, their absolute conviction that MA is the right man forus and that their choice was fine, correct and vindicated

      . Lets be honest shall we; Silent Stan was not known for splashing his money around to our previous two managers.
      But with MA, he HAS!

      That tells ME at least, everything I need to know about how highly KSE RATES MA.

  3. I’m afraid the likes of Arteta/ Xavi will never beat their Catalan teacher in a long marathon like EPL and La Liga, but they might get lucky in UCL

  4. Hi Dan
    An interesting article.
    I ask this purely out of interest but do you or anyone else know if Arteta has a strong allegiance to returning to Barcelona?

    I do though, fundamentally disagree that he only wants to work with youth, with your assertion that by ripping up certain contracts of more senior players is the reason why. Xhaka wasn’t a youngster, but he had the necessary character, which sadly wasn’t exactly on display with the ones who were allowed to leave. Jorghino isn’t in the first flush either but has been a good signing. Partey was an established player too. Yes, youth is favoured but I don’t believe it is purely on the basis of them being pliable.

    Having spent half his life in the UK, it maybe that Arteta is settled here. Not all ex players and managers head of to their homeland.

    1. Sue You seem unsure but personally I am convinced MA is here for the long haul.

      It make no sense, given our stability and the fact we play in the worlds undoubted BEST QUALITY LEAGUE for him to go to unstable, broke, second class league playing, Barcelona. His heart is undeniably with us!

  5. 2 requirements for managing Barcelona:
    1. You must bring through La Masia players regularly
    2. Incoming transfers must mostly be free transfers else no deal

  6. One would’ve thought you’re a culé yourself, Dan. Well written! I have to agree with all you said.

  7. I STILL think Arteta’s destined to be an international team manager/coach. Probably not for a few years yet, but once he gets some trophy winning credibility on his CV they’ll come after him.

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