Mikel Arteta demands Arsenal response if Sheikh Jassim completes Man Utd takeover

Mikel Arteta wants Arsenal to react on the pitch if Manchester United become the next state-owned Premier League club. Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Qatari businessman Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad al-Thani are the two frontrunners to buy United in a £5billion deal.

Should the Glazers accept the Qatari bid, United would become the third English top-flight club owned by a state. Abu Dhabi have invested hugely at Manchester City over the past decade while the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund took charge of Newcastle last year.

Arsenal - owned by American billionaire Stan Kroenke - could head into the 2023-24 season as the only Premier League club playing in the Champions League who are not backed by a nation. And Arteta insists the Gunners must capitalise on their current position before their rivals catch up as they look to cut the gap to league leaders City back to one point at Newcastle today (4.30pm).

Ahead of the trip to St James' Park, the Spanish manager said: "It is the best time because this is the moment - right now. The best time is when you have something and try to take it, especially in elite sports...

"Because you don't know when you are going to have another opportunity. That is what we're trying to do. We're going to Newcastle to win and continue to be there.

"We have to compete with those teams, for sure, because we are Arsenal Football Club. The demands are to be the best in everything we do, so we have to find a way to do that."

Arsenal were held 0-0 by Newcastle at the Emirates in January and on their last trip to the north east were humbled in a 2-0 defeat at the end of last season. That loss came off the back of a reverse at Tottenham and ultimately crushed their top-four hopes.

Asked if the Gunners are on another revenge mission in Newcastle, Arteta added: "We felt like this when we went to Tottenham and then we won that game. We're capable of doing it but we need to show it - on the pitch."

Eddie Howe's side have been one of the most impressive teams in the division this term alongside Arsenal but Arteta admits he cannot gauge yet whether they will be contenders for the crown next term. Instead, Arteta expects much to change over the summer.

Quizzed on Newcastle's title prospects next year, the Arsenal tactician responded: "I don't know. They've performed really well and deserve to be where they are. We have done the same. But next season will be something completely different, in my opinion."

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