Arsenal have drawn up a four-man shortlist in case long-standing manager Arsene Wenger leaves the club in the summer.
The Frenchman’s contract is up at the end of the season, and despite the London side offering their man a new two-year deal, they have fears he may finally end his tenure at the club.
In case Wenger does call it quits, the Gunners’ chiefs have pinpointed possible candidates to replace him, with Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel topping the list, according to the Daily Mirror.
Tuchel has impressed in his management career, enjoying a successful stint at Mainz before becoming Jurgen Klopp’s replacement at Dortmund.
Now regarded as one of Europe’s top coaches, Arsenal feel they could be able to poach him away from Germany.
Further candidates include Max Allegri of Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt and Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim.
Allegri is reported to be keen on the job and when quizzed on the speculation, the Italian acted coy, stating: “I won’t deny or confirm anything.”
Jardim is currently enjoying a successful period at Monaco, leading his men to the top of the Ligue 1 table and the final 16 of the Champions League.
However, according to Mirror Sport, there’s a very strong possibility Wenger will stay on at the Emirates but will wait until the end of the campaign to make his decision.
Arsenal won’t sack the Frenchman, so the decision will lie completely on the shoulders of Wenger.
Pressure has once again started to build on the 67-year-old after back-to-back defeats in the League to Watford and Chelsea.
The defeats leave Arsenal 12 points behind Antonio Conte’s men in first, but Wenger refuses to concece that he needs to change his managerial approach or that the title fight is over.
“When you are a competitor you fight,” the Frenchman said. “You fight as far as you can and we are in a double fight. We are in a fight to be in the top four, but we also have to fight because we want to catch Chelsea. We have to refuse to give up.”
In the past week, Arsenal players have been called mentally weak and Wenger believes his side now have the best opportunity to show their strength in the coming games.
“The way we respond to our disappointing result last Saturday is vital,” he said. “We are here to win football games so when we don’t win football games we are very disappointed. But it’s also an interesting week because it’s a good test at an important moment of the season and it’s a good opportunity to show what we are made of.
“We have a big fight in the Premier League, a big fight in the Champions League and we still have the FA Cup as well. It’s hard of course [to qualify for the Champions League] but I think we have enough quality to do it.”
When asked if his side had shown enough mental strength against Chelsea, Wenger said: “Of course they did. You do not play at that level and go out there and want to lose the game. Psychologically Chelsea used our weaknesses in the game and I think we were a bit unlucky as well because that first goal [in which Marcos Alonso knocked Héctor Bellerín to the ground in the act of scoring] is absolutely scandalous.”
Wenger also called for the fans to unite and support the club during their poor run of form, with disgruntled scenes seen following the defeat of Chelsea.
“Our fans have been consistent and have a high level of expectation, as I have as well,” Wenger said. “But I don’t feel it is absolutely clear. You cannot be a fan until last Tuesday and not be behind the team this Saturday – it doesn’t make sense.
“All the other clubs we fight with, Man Utd, Man City and Liverpool, they have big expectations as well and big histories. You have Tottenham. Everyone is in the fight and everyone is behind their team. We are in a fight there. We absolutely have to be united or we have no chance to do it. We have to do exactly the same, even if we had two disappointing results.”