Reports are increasing that Jose Mourinho has been lined up to replace Unai Emery in the Arsenal hotseat after the Portuguese coach was photographed having dinner with the Gunners’ head of football Raul Sanllehi.
Spanish tactician Emery is under increasing pressure at Emirates Stadium with many feeling Arsenal have failed to progress, or even gone backwards since he replaced Arsene Wenger in the hotseat, with Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Wolves – the third game in a row Arsenal have let a lead slip – hardly helping matters.
To add to Emery’s woes, reports have claimed there are serious fractions between the Spaniard and some senior Arsenal stars, with this damning report four gripes with his training methods have emerged.
Furthermore, the debacle surrounding Granit Xhaka’s X-rated confrontation with supporters has hardly helped matters, with the Swiss-Albanian left out of Saturday’s 1-1 draw despite his recent apology.
As such, The Times claims Arsenal are strongly considering Mourinho as his replacement and that the prospect of the former Man Utd boss stepping into the hotseat is gathering pace.
The broadsheet claims Mourinho and Sanllehi had dinner last week and that the often-controversial Portuguese impressed with his tactics and his vision for the Gunners squad going forwards.
The paper reports that Emery now has one, possibly two matches to save his job and suggests a decision could be made during the upcoming international break.
Those reports, however, are said to have been denied by Arsenal, with sources at the club telling the PA news agency that such a meeting did not take place and the pair have not had a conversation for years.
Mourinho has not exactly maintained his silence either during his near-long year out of the game, with a number of high-profile appearances as a pundit on Sky Sports. He also had a few things to say about Arsenal’s summer signings earlier this year.
He also addressed his ambitions to begin working as a manager again on Thursday amid growing reports he was being considered by Arsenal, stating exactly what he wants from his next job.
Mourinho said: “The only thing that I know is what I don’t want, and what I don’t want is crystal clear. What I want, the general profile of course, but I can’t say clubs or countries.
“I am quite pathological in this sense that I have to play to win, and then if I win or I don’t win that’s my problem, and the players’ and the club’s and the structure.
“But I need a project where the feeling is I play to win.
“If someone gives me a wonderful, incredible, amazing, 10-year contract and tells me ‘the objective of the team is to stay in the first part of the table, if you finish seventh or eighth or ninth it is perfect, that’s not for me.
“That’s my nature. Of course sometimes I remember what I won before, but it’s not me, so my next is to fight to win.”
And if reports are accurate, it seems Arsenal will become the third Premier League side to be managed by Mourinho. Interesting times ahead….