football

Arsenal next manager: Mikel Arteta tops four-man shortlist to replace sacked Unai Emery



Arsenal will again make a pitch to former player Mikel Arteta as they seek to replace the sacked Unai Emery.

The Independent has been told the Manchester City assistant head coach is once more one of the top candidates, along with Carlo Ancelotti, Max Allegri, and Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo.

Brendan Rodgers has previously been highly considered, but there is a realisation he would be almost impossible to prise from Leicester City right now, and Patrick Vieira’s status has slightly lessened given a drop-off in results with Nice.

Arteta had previously been very close to the job in May 2018, only for Arsenal to then decide on Emery. The former midfielder had felt a bit stung by that but is so interested in a managerial career in his own right, and has such affection for the club, that he would be willing to reconsider any offer.

Arsenal had not planned to yet replace Emery, and had hoped a winnable run of games could bring the team out of the slide they’d entered, so that has meant there had been no formal approaches to a potential replacement.

A few potential candidates had been sounded out through intermediaries, however, and it is understood Arteta was one.

Assistant Freddie Ljungberg will now step up as interim, and there is a hope from some close to him that any good spell could see him given the job until the end of the season, not unlike Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United.

Ancelotti and Nuno would bring with them Premier League pedigree while Allegri has long sought a job in English football, but there are some suggestions he is holding out for the Manchester United job.

Sources say that they are still some way off a full appointment. Arsenal decided in the international break to give Emery a run of “winnable” games until mid-December, in the hope they could restore the team’s confidence and get things back on track, but it quickly became apparent after the 2-2 draw with Southampton that it would just make things worse.

The Eintracht Frankfurt defeat, and – crucially – the thousands of empty seats, were seen as a nadir so the club decided to accelerate the process.



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