Mikel Arteta to resist Barcelona interest and see through Arsenal project

Mikel Arteta intends to bring his Arsenal project to fruition with Spanish reports that the Basque will leave for Barcelona at the end of the season strongly denied.

The Catalan club are now searching for a new manager after Xavi Hernandez announced his resignation on Saturday evening after another defeat, this time 5-3 at home to Villarreal, having been ahead with seven minutes to go.

Although it is understood that Barca officials knew he would be going before the game, the process is described as only in its earliest stages.

This was despite reports that Arteta has already been targeted with negotiations advancing to the point that he told "his entourage" that he is leaving Arsenal at the end of the season, having guided the Gunners back into the title race.

This has now been flatly denied by figures within the club. Arteta feels he can make Arsenal one of world football's greatest forces in the long term, having overseen an essential overhaul of the club since Arsene Wenger's departure.

The Basque is completely invested in the project.

Arteta is inevitably on Barcelona's list but the Camp Nou hierarchy are currently casting around for an alternative replacement.

That may be a challenge to attract the kind of profile they might have historically been able to, since the club is perceived as having a lot of issues as well as a huge wage bill.

While Barcelona will obviously hold sway, the issue is more that any prospective manager must weigh up a choice between the Catalan club or a major role in the Premier League.

It is why figures in the market see the Liverpool job as a much more attractive option for potential candidates, despite the huge potential pressure of taking over from Klopp.

As one source with knowledge of the situation says, the issue has echoes of Brendan Rodgers's line about the Chelsea job over a decade ago.

"I am trying to build my career and not destroy it."

Xavi referenced the mental toll that it has taken on him on Saturday, while the Catalan executives around Pep Guardiola at Manchester City say he found the job like "an oven".

Although both are Catalan so feel a greater pressure from affinity with the club, one delivered a league title and the other is probably the greatest coach in their history.

A common view around Arteta, as the most recently named example, is that it would be a huge mistake to walk out on the immense progress at Arsenal for a multitude of problems at Barcelona.