Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has so far not had any contact with anyone connected to Barcelona, despite being linked with a return to his boyhood club to replace current coach Ronald Koeman.
Koeman has come under pressure at Camp Nou this season as a result of poor La Liga campaign up until the New Year. His team also face certain Champions League elimination at the round of 16 after a heavy first leg defeat to Paris Saint-Germain and are tasked with overturning a 2-0 Copa del Rey semi-final aggregate deficit against Sevilla.
With Barça set to name a new president in the coming days and the club as a whole in desperate need of a fresh start, it would not be surprising to see Koeman out of a job in summer.
Arteta, regardless of difficulties he is encountering at Arsenal, is considered one of the brightest young coaches in Europe, having previously been mentored by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
It was rumoured in Spain earlier this week that presidential candidate Joan Laporta, who is seeking a second term as Camp Nou chief after his previous stint between 2003 and 2010, has interest in potentially appointing Arteta as new Barça coach.
Speaking to RAC1 after the rumours began, Laporta insisted he would not be making a coaching change before the end of the season, putting his immediate faith in Koeman, although he also didn’t rule anything out beyond the next few months.
“I am not talking about names this season,” Laporta explained. “Our coach when we arrive is Koeman. He is a great of Barca and has [recent] results in his favour. We will use the coaching staff that is already there and I will not destabilise them.”
So far, with Laporta’s determination to have a destabilising effect on the remainder of the season, discussions about potential successors appear to remain internal and informal.
football.london writes that no one connected to Barcelona has had any contact with Arteta. That isn’t to say the rumours of interest are untrue, but nothing has been done to act on it.
90min already revealed last week that Barca’s interim hierarchy has been weighing up potential coaching options with a view to compiling a shortlist once the election is over, with Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers another whose name has been mentioned in discussions.