Rio Ferdinand 'has heard Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is off' as Man Utd icon sticks knife in

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has incredibly claimed he has heard whispers that Mikel Arteta will be joining Real Madrid this summer. The Spaniard has totally transformed the fortunes of Arsenal since replacing Unai Emery back in December 2019 and he is hoping to win the club’s first Premier League title since 2004 this season following a barnstorming campaign.

While Arsenal now have their work cut out trying to keep City at bay, Ferdinand has now looked to stick the knife in by claiming Arteta will be off this summer – whatever the outcome of the title race.

During a discussion on his Vibe With FIVE podcast, the former England centre-back cheekily said with a smug smile: “You’ve got to keep Arteta, first and foremost.”

Arsenal fan Joel Beya then pressed him for clarity, asking: “What is this about? You’ve been doing this all afternoon.”

To which Ferdinand replied: “I heard something. I heard that Real Madrid and when they come knocking your players will be coachless.

“I heard [Carlo] 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. I hope he stays.”

Ancelotti’s contract is due to expire in the summer of 2024 but there are fears he could be dismissed in Madrid should he fail to win his second successive Champions League.

Real Madrid have endured a below-par season in La Liga and are currently 11 points behind Barcelona in the table.

Los Blancos still have a Copa del Rey final against Osasuna on the horizon though meaning they could still end the season with two trophies.

Should that be the case, it seems unlikely that Ancelotti will lose his job despite reported interest in Arteta.

Back in November, Arteta was persistently lined with the Barcelona job as pressure began to mount on Xavi’s shoulders following their poor form in the Champions League.

But Arteta was keen to provide Gunners supporters with assurances that he remains committed to the club’s project moving forward, downplaying the idea of a departure.

“What I can say is that I’m extremely happy and proud to be where I am,” Arteta said ahead of the Europa League clash with Zurich at the Emirates.

“Barcelona now are on a really good path. I think they have a phenomenal coach who is an absolute legend at the club and has lifted the whole place. You have to be very respectful of that.”

Furthermore, if Arsenal fail to win the Premier League title this season there will be a sense of unfinished business in north London.

Arteta’s Arsenal contract is due to run until the end of the 2024/25 season after he signed an extension in May 2022.