Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has insisted that the club should not stand in the way if assistant manager Mikel Arteta wants to take the head coach's job at Arsenal.
Arteta, a former Gunner in his playing days, has emerged as the prime choice to succeed Unai Emery at the Emirates Stadium having lost out on taking the role to the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla boss in the summer of 2018 following Arsene Wenger’s departure.
City boss Pep Guardiola values Arteta’s contribution at the club highly, but De Bruyne feels that City should not prevent the 37-year-old from furthering his career and pursuing his personal ambitions, despite praising the impact the coach has had in his time in Manchester.
“He came here three years ago, and had to find his way a little bit, because to transition from player to coach is a little bit different,” De Bruyne said to the Manchester Evening News.
“He is finding his role really, really good right now. I guess one day he will want to be a head coach – I don’t know when but he’s helping the team in the way he thinks he can help and is doing a good job.
“He is helping us a lot, but if he gets a good opportunity to be a head coach, and he thinks it’s time for him to take that, I think as a club you need to let somebody go.
“You want to grow as a head coach, I guess. If he doesn’t, it’s his decision, but why, otherwise, start coaching in that way?
“It’s difficult for me to explain. Whatever he wants to do, you have to do it – if you want to grow you need to take opportunities when they come."
Arteta has also been praised publicly by Guardiola, Wenger and former Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino, and has moved ahead of the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Patrick Vieira in the running to take over at Arsenal.
Freddie Ljungberg has taken charge of five games as interim manager since Emery was sacked following a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League, and may have overseen his last game in the role, losing 3-0 to Arteta’s City on Sunday.
The Gunners take on Everton – another of Arteta’s former clubs – at Goodison Park in their next match on Saturday, and the Spaniard may be in the dugout in time for that game if he is indeed appointed.