Mikel Arteta has denied he is ‘conflicted’ despite Man City’s ban from the Champions League potentially opening up an opportunity for Arsenal.
The Gunners have a fresh chance to secure a place in next season’s competition, with City excluded for the next two years.
Arteta’s former club were found guilty of breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations, and were handed the suspension by UEFA along with a £24.6million fine.
With City likely to finish in the top four of the Premier League, that has opened up a Champions League place for the side who claim fifth, which could be Arsenal.
When asked about the prospect of Arsenal benefiting at the expense of his former employers, Arteta reponded: “[It’s] very difficult. [I am] Not conflicted at all.
“A week ago, before we went to Dubai, and we drew with Burnley, everything looked like it was too far and it was going to take an incredible run to do it. Today it feels like a little bit closer. But it is going to have to depend on us.
“I have been in contact with him and I just want the best for City. The admiration and love I have for Pep and his staff and the players, I just want the best for them. I know how hard they work and hopefully a positive thing might come for them.
“I don’t think about it. I just want the best for Manchester City, I really do. That is the way I feel, but now I have to do the very best for Arsenal to try to maximise everything we have here to bring this club as high as possible again.
“My first reaction to the news was I was shocked. I got in contact with Pep and the people at the club I know because I know they are suffering.
“I don’t think we know at the moment what can happen and if there is any further action to other clubs. We will have to wait and see.”
Man City have already stated they intend to appeal the ban, which would come into effect at the end of this season.
Meanwhile Arsenal gave their chances of finishing in the top five a boost with a convincing win over Newcastle on Sunday.
Second-half goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nicolas Pepe, Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette saw them run out 4-0 winners at the Emirates stadium.
The win propels Arsenal back into the top half of the table, and six points off north London rivals Tottenham in fifth.
Arsenal have a favourable run of games to come in the next few weeks, while Tottenham must face fellow Champions League chasers Chelsea, Wolves and Man Utd.
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