Mikel Arteta is a vital part of the successes of Manchester City, according to head coach Pep Guardiola, but he'd be allowed to leave, if he wanted.
Arteta has been his fellow Spaniards right hand man during a period of unprecedented glory for the Blues. He has been linked with a return to his former club, Arsenal, who were the opponents in a comfortable 3-0 City win on Sunday.
Guardiola is clear he wants his assistant to remain in the North West, but says he wants to avoid making the ex-Gunner feel ‘uncomfortable’.
- Milan's 'Magic Mike' Maignan making Juventus look like losers in Donnarumma PSG transfer
- No Trent, no Robertson, no sweat - Liverpool's title credentials beyond dispute after show of squad strength
- Ex-Man Utd star Herrera eclipsing Messi, Neymar and Mbappe at PSG
- Odegaard on target as Arsenal 'change the narrative' by battling their way to vital victory at Burnley
"[He has] a lot [of influence],” Guardiola told Sky Sports.
“He is part of the huge success we had. An important part. What will happen will happen. I think he is part of our staff so what is going to happen I don't know.
"At the end it's personal, if he wants a job we are open to talk. I don't want to make him uncomfortable."
Guardiola handed Phil Foden a rare start, and the youngster rewarded him by setting up the second of Kevin De Bruyne’s brace in a three-goal first period that set up the win.
His boss was unsurprised by the phenom’s excellence.
"Played so good, as we knew it, as normal,” he added, “he played in a position he was not used to but playing away at a big club, always he does every action with a good rhythm."
The Catalan occasionally appeared to cut an angry figure on the sideline, but he said he was happy overall.
He singled out the man who replaced Foden for praise, saying the introduction of Bernardo Silva led to a better display from his side.
"It's not frustrating, we play fantastic. We spoke about spaces and didn't find them so well. We talked about that and we played better when Bernardo came on.
"We lose games this season and last season only a few, we sometimes play much better than today and we lost, football is sometimes about duty to analyse the game not just the result."
City end the weekend three places and 14 points behind Liverpool, who are 10 points clear of Leicester City in second.
The two City’s play one another next Saturday, after Guardiola’s men take on Oxford United in the Carabao Cup quarter-final on Wednesday.