Arteta, Ancelotti and Santo emerge as potential Arsenal candidates

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The Arsenal board have decided to part ways with manager Unai Emery in the wake of their home defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday. Arsenal Legend Freddie Ljungberg has been appointed as the interim coach till the board search for the right person who could take up the mantle.  

The North London side lost to Frankfurt who are 10th in the Bundesliga amidst an almost empty Emirates Stadium. Japanese midfielder Daichi Kamada was the hero on the night after his two goals cancelled out Pierre-Emerick Aubmeyang’s late first half goal. The few disgruntled fans at the stadium waved posters asking for the removal of their manager, with the 2-1 result sealing his fate.

Uncertainty brewed over the Spaniard’s future following a 2-2 draw against Southampton after falling behind twice, with French striker Alexandre Lacazette the saviour on both occasions. Gunner fans called for the sacking of the manager after their side managed just four wins in 13 Premier League games, and more recently, a run of seven winless matches. The 48-year-old manager led Arsenal to sixth after taking over from Arsene Wenger and lost the Europa League finals to London rivals Chelsea at Baku on May 29.

Read | Arsenal part ways with Unai Emery after a poor spell of results

Here is a list of potential candidates who can save keep the harbor safe for the Gunners:

Freddie Ljungberg

Ljungberg was part of Emery’s first team coaching setup after being promoted from the Under-23’s coaching position at the beginning of the League season. With the Swede taking over as interim coach, good news and good results might finally come their way.

Arsenal take on relegation threatened Norwich City before facing Brighton at home, giving the 42-year-old former Mumbai City FC man a chance to show the hierarchy that he fits the profile before they find a replacement. The Swede has worked with many of Arsenal’s youngsters, with Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock going on the record to say that they understood his instructions better than Emery’s.

Carlo Ancelotti

The latest manager linked to the Gunners is Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian coach is tipped to return to London, having won the Premier League title at Chelsea in in first full season as manager in 2010. Currently at Napoli, the Gunners’ hierarchy might take advantage of the Italian team’s bad run of form.

The 60-year-old manager has also won the Champions League with AC Milan and Real Madrid. He is the only other coach to win the highest European honour three times after Bob Paisley with Liverpool.

Mauricio Pochettino

The signing of someone like Mauricio Pochettino will be most beneficial for the North London side, although it seems unlikely that the former Tottenham manager will take over the reins soon after being relieved of his charge. The Argentinean led his side to the finals of the UEFA Champions League last season, where they lost to Liverpool. In case he does sign for his former club’s arch nemesis, the Gunners can expect an attacking brand of football, with the 47-year-old manager overseeing the rise of many stars like Son Heung-min, Dele Alli and Harry Kane under his tutelage.

Nuno Espirito Santo

Another key candidate is Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Nuno Espirito Santo, with the Portuguese manager leading his team to the knock-out stages of the Europa League while Manchester United and Arsenal are yet to qualify.

Read | Is Nuno Espirito Santo really an answer to Arsenal woes?

Nuno was key to the Wolves’ resurgence after they gained promotion to the Premier League last season and finished seventh. After a slow start to the 2019-20 season, Wolves have picked up the pace, beating Manchester City at the Etihad and are above Arsenal on fifth.

Mikel Arteta

Former Arsenal captain, Mikel Arteta joined the coaching staff of Pep Guardiola at Manchester City after retiring and was pipped for the role before Emery was handed the reigns. His experience under the legendary Spanish coach as well as familiarity with the Arsenal dressing room will play a key factor in helping the North London side gain some confidence in the coming games.

Although the former Everton Midfielder has no experience as a full-time manager, he has been highly rated by Pep, which makes him a key contender.

Feature image courtesy: AFP/ Oli Scarf