Mertesacker would welcome Arteta return

Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has backed Mikel Arteta to eventually replace Pep Guardiola in the dugout.

Arsenal's academy director Per Mertesacker has confirmed he would love to work with Mikel Arteta again in the future.

The pair formed a strong friendship during their time together at the Emirates Stadium as part of the Arsenal squad.

Arteta joined Arsenal in 2011, and he went to make 149 appearances for the club, scoring 16 goals. The Spaniard won two FA Cups during his time at the club, and he was joined in the squad by Mertesacker.

The German also moved to London in 2011, but he stayed longer than the midfielder and won another FA Cup medal as a result.

They have both stayed in the game, with Mertesacker overseeing Arsenal’s academy at the moment, while Arteta decided to leave London and move to Manchester City to be Pep Guardiola’s assistant.

Arteta, 37, has been linked with managerial roles at Everton and Arsenal in the past but he has stayed loyal to Guardiola so far.

He has helped the Citizens win two Premier League titles in a row, but the latest reports suggest he could replace Unai Emery as Gunners boss. The former Sevilla chief has endured a tough start to his spell as Arsenal manager, and the Gunners are sixth in the table in his second full season.

They are already 17 points behind league-leaders Liverpool, and Emery’s men face a real fight to secure a top-four spot.

As a result, the pressure is on and Jose Mourinho, Arteta and Massimiliano Allegri remain the favourites to replace Emery, and Mertesacker appears to have thrown his support behind his former team-mate.

He told FourFourTwo: “I was his vice-captain at Arsenal and he trusted me. I was by his side during team meetings, and we had a great bond. I’d love to work with him again, a top guy.”

Arsenal have not won any of their last five games, and if Emery fails to turn that form around, he could be out of a job before Christmas. The Gunners are also out of the Carabao Cup, but they look set to qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa League.

However, they will fancy their chances of climbing the league table in the coming weeks. They welcome Southampton to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday before then taking on Norwich City and Brighton & Hove Albion.