Pep Guardiola can take Bukayo Saka and Declan Rice to new Arsenal heights amid managerial change


Imagine having both Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola as your coaches, that would be pretty incredible, wouldn’t it? Well, a couple of the best wide players in the world from the past decade had exactly that combo when the two Spaniards were at Manchester City together.

Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane were both based in the northwest when Arteta worked with Guardiola in his setup at the champions. However, Arteta left to become the Arsenal head coach yet if recent reports are to be believed, some players might again have the pleasure of receiving such coaching.

According to the journalist Sami Mokbel, England see Pep Guardiola as a dream appointment to replace Gareth Southgate, who could be set for a departure from the job after Euro 2024. Guardiola would end a stay at City which has become something of a thorn in Arsenal’s side of late, as the Spaniard pipped the Gunners to the title last season and the Citizens’ perfect start this season sees them lead by two points.

A switch from City to England wouldn’t only be a huge benefit for Arsenal no longer having to worry about the prospect of Guardiola at City, but their England stars would then be under the tutelage of arguably the best coach in the world. Arteta’s philosophy has taken so much from his former mentor, as is evident in so many of his setups in north London.

That, in turn, would create a far less dramatic difference when switching from club to international football. Southgate’s style has not been particularly praised for its fluid tactical impact and more so a functional way to progress through tournaments before being knocked out in games that England, arguably, should have won – although the defeat to France was more justifiable.

The thought of Rice and Saka playing with Guardiola was once a reality that Arsenal fans dared not even speak of, out of fear they might tempt fate of a switch to their league-chasing rivals. Yet with this latest news, perhaps the scenario for it to happen could be the complete opposite and not necessitate their exits from the club – or in the case of Rice not joining at all.

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Guardiola’s defensive midfielders such as Sergio Busquets, Philipp Lahm, Joshua Kimmich, Fernandinho and now Rodri were all elevated to world-class status by the Spaniard. For me, Rice is already a world-class player but perhaps he could reach even higher heights with the insight from the Man City manager.

Meanwhile, in wide areas the list of names that Guardiola has worked with includes a certain Lionel Messi, need I say more? Saka has become one of the best right-wingers in the world under Arteta so could working with Guardiola too make him the outright number one? I’d love to find out – if it means he stays in north London of course.

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