Mikel Arteta has admitted that he turned down the chance to take over at Newcastle United, telling the Star that he instead wanted to stay and achieve the Champions League dream at Manchester City.
Before Newcastle made the controversial decision to hand boyhood fan Steve Bruce the job of his dreams, a former Everton, Arsenal and Rangers midfielder was being heavily tipped to make a first foray into management at St James’ Park.
As reported by the Telegraph, The Magpies were interested in taking a risk on Arteta as they did not want to turn to one of ‘the usual suspects’. The irony of Bruce’s appointment, then, won’t be lost on anyone.
With three years as Pep Guardiola’s right-hand man on his CV, you could forgive Arteta for suffering a nasty case of itchy feet but, despite the chance to drag Newcastle back into the big-time, the 37-year-old Spaniard appears to be more than happy with his number two role at the Etihad.
“I was about to leave, but I stopped myself,” Arteta said. “I am not in a hurry and I have not felt that I need to take the step.
“(It is) a matter of loyalty, when you promise someone to continue next year, with little time to manoeuvre, it was not appropriate to make that decision (to leave).
“And because I think we still have that space for improvement and that ambition to be able to do something we dream of, which is to win the Champions League. That work remains to be done.”
While Arteta is one of the most dynamic and forward-thinking young coaches in the game today, a man who has learned under not only Guardiola but Arsene Wenger and a peak-era David Moyes too, Bruce understandably felt like an underwhelming backwards step for Newcastle after three years under Rafa Benitez.
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