Arsene Wenger has earmarked the man he wants to replace him at Arsenal amid talk he could quit the top job this summer.
The Sunday Mirror reports that Wenger is contemplating stepping into the Gunners boardroom before the end of his contract in 2019.
The Frenchman was under pressure to leave last summer, despite winning the FA Cup, but the 68-year-old penned a two-year extension with the club.
That contract is believed though to have a clause in which both parties can review the deal in June and “Wenger harbours doubts about continuing beyond the summer”.
The report claims Wenger will only step away from the top job if he is allowed to choose his successor though and he apparently wants former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta to get the top job.
Wenger has always maintained he would not be involved in the process of choosing his successor.
“The job of my board is to choose the next manager,” Wenger told beIN Sports in October. “I don’t want to do the job of the board.”
In December the Daily Telegraph claimed Arteta, who is now a coach at Man City under Pep Guardiola, had been targeted by Arsenal to replace Wenger.
And today’s latest report suggests Arteta’s “organisational skills on and off the training ground have impressed Wenger as he contemplates his future”.
Arteta also impressed Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, with the report claiming Arteta used some of the money raised in club fines to buy the American a prestigious watch when he left for The Etihad in July 2016.
The report claims there have been “informal talks” with the 35-year-old Arteta, but some of Arsenal’s board are sure to want to bring in there own man.