Mikel Arteta responds to Real Madrid links ahead of Arsenal's Europa League last-16 tie against Sporting
- Real Madrid reportedly unhappy with Carlo Ancelotti
- Arteta linked with a move to Madrid
- Gunners' boss played down the speculations
WHAT HAPPENED? Madrid officials are reportedly not pleased with the performance of current manager Carlo Ancelotti since the turn of the year, after they followed up a defeat to Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final by falling nine points behind the arch-rivals in La Liga. Barca also beat Madrid 1-0 in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie, and it has been suggested that Ancelotti is now on borrowed time. Reports have surfaced naming Arteta as a possible successor to the Italian, and the Arsenal boss has now come out to address the rumours directly.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "It’s things that managers or players can’t control what is written," Arteta told reporters before his team's trip to Sporting. "What I can tell is that I’m fully focused on what I’m doing here and extremely proud and grateful to do what I’m doing in this football club. That’s it."
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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Arteta has attracted the interest of Madrid after an incredible season with the Gunners. The north London outfit are currently top of the Premier League, five points clear of second-placed Manchester City with only 12 games left to play. They are also favourites against Sporting in their Europa League last-16 tie, having made it to this stage after topping Group A with five wins out of six.
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WHAT NEXT FOR ARTETA & REAL MADRID? The Spanish manager will rally his troops against Sporting CP at the Jose Alvalade Stadium on Thursday evening, while Real Madrid are set to host Espanyol on Saturday in La Liga.