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Rio Ferdinand sparks Arteta to Real Madrid rumours

Arsenal Training Session Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has claimed that he has heard rumours that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta could be set to leave the club for Real Madrid in the summer.

Arteta, who joined Arsenal in 2019, has led the Gunners to the top of the Premier League table this season, with a four-point lead over second-placed Manchester City.

However, Ferdinand, who won six league titles and a Champions League with United, has suggested that Arteta may have his sights set on a move to Spain, where he could replace Carlo Ancelotti at Real Madrid.

“I heard something... I heard that Real Madrid [are interested] and when they come knocking your players will be coachless,” Ferdinand said on his YouTube show Vibe with Five.

“I heard Ancelotti, Don Carlo, the eyebrow, he might be getting off, and that Arteta is looking to go to Real Madrid. That’s the rumour on the streets. The streets are talking.”

Ancelotti, who returned to Real Madrid for a second spell in charge last summer, has guided the Spanish giants to the semi-finals of the Champions League, where they will face either Manchester City or Bayern Munich.

Ferdinand’s comments have sparked speculation over Arteta’s future at Arsenal, with some fans fearing that he could be tempted by a switch to the Bernabeu.

Arteta, who played for Barcelona’s youth teams before moving to England, has never managed in Spain before.

He has previously expressed his gratitude and loyalty to Arsenal, saying that he feels “privileged” and “happy” to be at the club.

However, he has also admitted that he has ambitions to manage at the highest level possible, and that he would not rule out anything in his career.

“I don’t know what will happen in five years or 10 years,” Arteta said in an interview with Sky Sports last year.

“I have a lot of admiration for what I have seen in different leagues and how they have evolved. I have a lot of questions about how things are going to develop here.”

Arteta is under contract with Arsenal until 2024, and has reportedly been backed by the club’s owners to continue his project at the Emirates Stadium.

He has also been praised by his players and former colleagues for his tactical acumen, man-management skills and vision for the club.

Arsenal legend Emmanuel Petit has urged Arteta to stay at Arsenal and reject any approach from Real Madrid, saying that it would be a “mistake” for him to leave now.

“He has improved so much in the last three years. Remember when he was first appointed, his first few months were very difficult,” Petit told

“Arsenal were in the relegation zone and the board gave him time to execute his vision and do exactly what he wanted with the team both individually and collectively, now we’re all applauding the way Arsenal are playing right now.”

“Arteta needs to play with Arsenal in the Champions League first, then we will see what could happen after that.”

“Madrid is a huge, huge club and you need to get a manager that has already won big titles and can manage their dressing room.”

“There are so many big egos, so many big players over there. With all due respect to Arsenal, it’s not the same club.”

Arteta will be hoping to lead Arsenal to their first Premier League title since 2004 this season.

He will also be keen to prove Ferdinand wrong and show his commitment to Arsenal amid the rumours linking him with Real Madrid.

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