Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola could call on a favour from his former assistant, Mikel Arteta, during next summer’s transfer window. In a bid to reinforce his defence at the Etihad, Guardiola supposedly has his sights set on Arsenal centre-back Ben White but the Spaniard may have to wheel out crafty tactics to convince his rivals to do business.
Arteta spent three years learning the ropes alongside Guardiola with City. He left to take his first senior managerial post with Arsenal in 2019 and, after a rocky start, everything has fallen into place this season.
Part of the Gunners’ newfound success can be attributed to a double summer transfer deal that introduced extra quality and a winning mentality into their squad. Painfully for City, Gabriel Jesus and Oleksandr Zinchenko both came from their very own books and they were convinced into letting them go when Arsenal shelled out a combined £75million.
The hefty outlay could prove invaluable come the end of the season as Arteta boasts a five-point lead over his former boss, with Man City bidding to close the gap over the second part of the campaign.
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It is not guaranteed that Arteta will sanction the deal, however, with White seemingly enjoying life in his new full-back role. Arsenal missed out on the top four altogether last term and they caught many by surprise with their early Premier League title charge this season, which could ultimately prevent City from scooping up their third crown in a row.
The presence of Gvardiol may just save Arsenal if City are able to fend off competition and land the 20-year-old’s signature. A stellar run to the World Cup semi-finals with Croatia saw him land in many respected outlets’ Team of the Tournament and long-term admirers Chelsea may be about to clear a path by dropping out of the race.
The Blues, who have been strongly linked with Gvardiol in the past, are reportedly in advanced talks to sign Monaco youngster Benoit Badiashile which could take them out of the market for a new defender.
Despite that, rival interest from Real Madrid means that signing Gvardiol would still be an expensive venture and Arsenal star White could be the cheaper option. The 25-year-old was selected to go to the World Cup with England but went home early for ‘personal reasons’ without making an appearance.