Manchester City are perplexed that Arsenal have not been in contact with them despite being in talks with their assistant manager Mikel Arteta as they seek to appoint the Spaniard as their next boss.
Mikel Arteta is locked in talks with Josh Kroenke about taking over as manager of his former club Arsenal. However, one more hurdle still needs to be crossed according to Manchester City, who insisted even after news of the Kroenke meeting broke that Arsenal still had not asked for permission to speak to their assistant manager.
Talks with the man who effectively runs the club for his father, owner Stan Kroenke, were expected to be very much a two-way process.
The club is keen to make sure that after the disastrous appointment of Unai Emery and, in the short term, Freddie Ljungberg, they are sure about a man they overlooked when Arsene Wenger left 18 months ago.
But at the same time, it will be the chance for Arteta to assess for himself the ambition of the Arsenal board after they have been criticised by fans of under-investment and a lack of ambition since the family, under father Stan, took a controlling share at the Emirates in 2011.
All the while, Manchester City remained perplexed as to why no contact at all has been attempted by the London club over an approach to Pep Guardiola’s No 2.
Not least because this now appears to be the third meeting between the two parties, after an initial discussion last week.
City directors spent the whole of Sunday afternoon at the Emirates for Sunday’s 3-0 win, and said goodbye to their hosts in the boardroom with no mention that senior staff from Arsenal would soon be chasing them back up to Manchester.
Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s managing director and the man heading up the recruitment process following the departure of Unai Emery last month, was spotted leaving Arteta’s mansion in the northwest around 1.20am on the morning after the game.
With him was contract lawyer Huss Fahmy who was present for what is understood to have been two-and-a-half hours of talks.
City believe Arteta has kept them fully informed of the situation at every step and have no intention of standing in his way if his ambition is to step out from under Guardiola’s wings and begin his own path as a head coach.
Although they understand, too, that Arsenal are not the only suitors sniffing around their assistant manager.
Arsenal hero Charlie Nicholas is excited by the prospect of the former midfielder returning to the Emirates.
He told Sporting Life: “Mikel Arteta has had three-and-a-half seasons working under Pep Guardiola and he knows the fabric of Arsenal.
“They spoke to him before Unai Emery but they weren’t prepared to meet his demands. He is being offered one of the bets jobs in the world, and he stuck to his guns laid his cards on the table – I love a decision-maker.
“He is a leader, he has been Arsenal captain before, I like his authority and his passion.
“This decision would be spot-on and I would be happy to have Arteta. You give him the principles he wants, nail him down and get the gig done.
“They cannot delay this anymore, he must be given it and be given it now, this week.”
Arsenal take on Everton in their next match this weekend (Saturday, 12.30pm).