The seven top contenders to replace Unai Emery at Arsenal

Date published: Friday 29th November 2019 11:01

Rafa Pochettino TEAMtalk

Arsenal announced the sacking of manager Unai Emery on Friday morning after a run of seven matches without a win.

Freddie Ljungberg has been named interim manager and he will take charge against Norwich, but here we take a look at who could replace the Spaniard in the dugout permanently.


Massimiliano Allegri

After a fairly run-of-the-mill playing career, former midfielder Allegri blossomed into a serial trophy winner as a manager.

The 52-year-old Italian departed Juventus at the end of last season having delivered the Serie A title in each of his five years at the helm, also claiming four Coppa Italia winners’ medals and losing in two Champions League finals.

Bringing in Allegri would certainly be seen as a signal of intent from the Arsenal owners – but could he be tempted into a rebuilding job, or is he waiting to take over at a club ready-made to add more silverware to his CV?


Mikel Arteta

Unlike Allegri, Arteta enjoyed a fine career as a ball-playing midfielder before hanging up his boots in 2016 after five years with the Gunners.

In a somewhat surprising move, he departed for Manchester City where he became Pep Guardiola’s trusted right-hand man – helping the club win back-to-back Premier League titles.

He has yet to sample life as a head coach but his appointment would be welcomed by Arsenal fans given his connection to the club and his obvious standing within City’s fine backroom set-up.


Freddie Ljungberg

The second of three former Arsenal midfielders on this list, Ljungberg was confirmed as interim head coach following Emery’s sacking.

The former Sweden international has worked as an assistant to Emery, after being promoted during the summer from his previous role as the manager of the club’s under-23 side.

That experience means he knows all about the promising crop of youngsters emerging through the ranks and he could be tasked with replicating the early work done by Frank Lampard at Chelsea in bleeding those precocious talents in the first-team.


Nuno Espirito Santo

The Wolves boss was initially linked to the Arsenal post as pressure on Emery began to mount during a string of poor results.

The Portuguese did a fine job in taking Wolves back to the Premier League and then qualifying for the Europa League at the first attempt, establishing the West Midlands side as one of the “best of the rest” in the top-flight.

Santo, 46, has previous experience of managing at Valencia and Porto but did not enjoy lengthy, successful spells with either and his credentials at a top club remain untested.


Patrick Vieira

Captain of Arsenal’s unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ and a man still adored by supporters, Vieira would be an overwhelmingly popular appointment.

He has been steadily building up to such a job having managed Manchester City’s reserves and New York City before taking his current post at Nice last summer.

Vieira guided the club to seventh in Ligue 1 in his first season at the helm but surely a return to the club where he won three Premier League titles and three FA Cups would be too tempting an opportunity to resist.



Mauricio Pochettino

He wouldn’t, would he?

The Argentinian was sacked last week after five years in the job following Spurs’ slump in form, before being swiftly replaced by Jose Mourinho.

Pochettino took the north London club to the Champions League final last season, where they were beaten by Liverpool in Madrid.

And in last night’s statement to the LMA, he said: “Best wishes for the future, I am sure we will cross paths again.”


Rafa Benitez

On Saturday TEAMtalk reveaed that Rafa Benitez is hoping to move back to England before the end of the year and he was targeting Manuel Pellegrini’s job at West Ham.

However, our source claimed Benitez was open to any job he deems big enough in the Premier League, and believed West Ham was the best option – although his representatives were also looking at Arsenal and Everton as options.

And now with Emery gone, the 59-year-old might well consider a move away from China at Dalian Yifang after just five months in charge.

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