Barcelona boss Xavi ‘had a feeling’ Mikel Arteta would succeed at Arsenal - ‘He had the best references’

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Barcelona manager Xavi “had a feeling” Mikel Arteta would succeed at Arsenal.

The Gunners are leading the way in the Premier League and could well end their 19-year long wait for a League title at the end of the season.

A dramatic weekend of action saw Arteta’s side reclaim top spot following a late win over Aston Villa while Manchester City drew with Nottingham Forest.

Barca, meanwhile, sit eight points ahead of eternal rivals Real Madrid in LaLiga.

Speaking to The Times, Xavi has praised Arteta – who has been linked with a move to the Camp Nou at some point - for his work in north London.

“No, he’s not surprised me because he had the best references,” he said.

“Pepe Reina is a close friend of his and has always spoken very well of him. I had a feeling that Arteta would do very well, but it was just a feeling.”

While Arteta and Xavi are both successful managers in their own right, it’s difficult to ignore the Pep Guardiola connection.

The Arsenal boss spent time at City as Guardiola’s assistant, while Xavi formed part of his all-conquering Barca side between 2008 and 2011.

Burnley manager Vincent Kompany, another to have learned under Guardiola, has his team leading the way in the Championship.

Last month, Arteta said of Guardiola: “We have learned a lot from him, we have been inspired by a lot of things he’s done and then everyone has to build his own career and his own pathway.

“And that career is not for six months or a year or two years. Let’s see and let everybody develop in the way they should.”