By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Mikel Arteta could join the Tottenham coaching staff in the summer, according to a report.
The Arsenal midfielder is out of contract at the end of the season and, as revealed by Football Insider in February, is weighing up retirement from playing.
The Times have reported that incoming Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has sounded out Arteta about joining his coaching set-up at Etihad Stadium. Arteta is a friend of Guardiola and his fitness coach, Lorenzo Buenaventura, and visited the pair recently at Bayern Munich’s Säbener Strasse training headquarters.
The Mirror report that another option is for Arteta to make what would be a seismic switch from Emirates Stadium to White Hart Lane and join the Spurs coaching staff.
The Arsenal captain played alongside Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino when they were together at Paris Saint-Germain at opposite stages of their careers.
Pochettino, now 44, was nearing the end of his playing days at PSG while Arteta, 34, was just starting and claims his former team mate was “like a Dad” and one of the biggest influences on his career.
Although the prospect of an Arsenal player moving on to the coaching staff of the club’s biggest rivals might be more palatable for supporters than a playing move, it would still be regarded as a shock given the antipathy between the two sets of fans.
Only 15 players in the history of English football have played for both Arsenal and Tottenham, and even fewer have made the direct switch from one club to another.
The two most recent examples are William Gallas, who transferred from the Gunners to Spurs in 2010, and Sol Campbell, who ran down his contract to move in the opposite direction in 2001.
Arteta has begun preparing for his post-playing days by starting to take his coaching badges at Arsenal and works with the club’s academy during his increasingly frequent absences from the first team.
As revealed by Football Insider, Arteta is batting a chronic calf problem that is struggling to heal, and is ready to hang up his boots in the summer.
In other Tottenham news, Thierry Henry has said it is time to pay tribute to an unsung Spurs hero.