Mikel Arteta insists he is in the “right place” as the Arsenal manager revealed he was left upset by rumours he had told colleagues he was set to quit for Barcelona.
Reports began circulating in Spain on Sunday evening that Arteta had let it slip he was going to leave the Emirates Stadium in the summer and take over at his formative club.
Current Barca boss Xavi announced on Saturday he would step down in the summer after a string of disappointing results – leading to Arteta being installed as one of the favourites to replace him.
Having come through the fabled academy at Barcelona, Arteta has a long-standing connection to the Nou Camp, but the 41-year-old is keen to stay put as he aims to lead Arsenal to glory.
“I am in the right place. I am with the right people,” he said.
“I feel really good about it. And, as I said many times, I am invested in a beautiful journey with this football club, with these players, these staff, our people.
“There is still a lot to do here. We all share that ambition, and you can feel it as well, that we want more, that we aren’t satisfied and that the club wants to take another push and another level in everything we are doing.
“This is where we are. We need everyone on board to achieve it, and I am certainly on board.”
Arteta, who takes his side to face Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Tuesday, said the reports were completely fabricated.
“That’s totally fake news,” he added.
“What you read yesterday is… I don’t know where it is coming from and it is totally untrue. I am really upset about it.
“I could not believe it. I don’t know where it is coming from and it has no source. It has got nothing and I think we have to be very cautious when you talk about personal things, to put it in the way it was put yesterday.
“I understand we are in this industry but I don’t think anyone deserves to hear news like that and I have always been really straight and always said the complete opposite; how happy I am, how grateful I am and how much I enjoy where I am now. That is why I am upset.”
Arsenal welcome league leaders Liverpool to the Emirates Stadium on Sunday with Reds boss Jurgen Klopp having announced on Friday he will leave Anfield in the summer.
The German said he could never manage another club in England but – having coached under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City – Arteta did not rule out such a switch in the future.
Asked if he could see himself managing another Premier League team, he replied: “Today, no. But I don’t know.
“I played for two great clubs in this country (Arsenal and Everton). I moved around in different things. I am extremely young and I don’t know what’s going to happen.
“I think he (Klopp) made this league much better. First of all the person. The character, the charisma, the ideas and his passion for the game is something special. I think he’s had a big contribution for the growth of this league.”