Arsenal's manager hunt explained: The candidates and the decision makers

Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol examines the candidates and the complex process surrounding Arsenal's search for a new manager

Carlo Ancelotti could be about to make a return to the Premier League 3:46
Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol examines the candidates and the complex process surrounding Arsenal's search for a new manager

What's the latest with Arsenal's search for a new permanent head coach? From the candidates to the decision-makers, Sky Sports News takes a closer look at the complexities surrounding the Gunners' recruitment process...

Freddie Ljungberg continues to lead Arsenal following Unai Emery's sacking at the end of November, but the former Invincible may not be one of the leading contenders to take the job on a full-time basis.

Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol brings us the latest on the process to appoint Emery's successor…

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A complex picture

The interview process has now started. Mikel Arteta, Carlo Ancelotti, Patrick Vieira and Massimiliano Allegri are some of the leading candidates.

It should be stressed though, at Tottenham, it is as simple as having to impress chairman Daniel Levy if you want to become their next manager. One man calls the shots. If Daniel Levy wants to get rid of Mauricio Pochettino and bring in Jose Mourinho in one day, that's exactly what he does.

At Arsenal, however, a committee of four men awaits you and they will decide whether you get to make your pitch to the owner and his son or not. It's a process that takes quite a long time. There are quite a lot of moving parts and a lot of people involved.

Who are the decision-makers?

Arsenal Managing Director Vinai Venkatesham with Josh Kroenke of KSE, Technical Director Edu and Head of Football Relations Raul Sanllehi
Image: Arsenal Managing Director Vinai Venkatesham with Josh Kroenke of KSE, Technical Director Edu and Head of Football Relations Raul Sanllehi

It is quite a complicated system at the Emirates. Not only do you have to impress this quartet, but they also have some different ideas about who the next man is to take the north London club forward.

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The interviews have started and the people taking those interviews are Raul Sanllehi, Vinai Venkatesham, Edu and Huss Fahmy.

Firstly there is head of football, Sanllehi, who joined from Barcelona in 2018. The Spaniard is very close to the super-agent Jorge Mendes, and he will be pushing for some of his clients to become the next boss.

Then there is technical director and former Arsenal player Edu, who is understood to be close to another super-agent in Kia Joorabchian. He will be in Edu's ear trying to convince the former Gunner to appoint one of his own clients.

Arsenal technical director Edu
Image: Arsenal Invincible Edu is current a technical director at the Emirates

Managing director Venkatesham will also need to be suitably impressed, as well as the contract negotiator Fahmy.

All of these people will have different ideas about who they are impressed with. However, you have to be interviewed by all these men and you have to impress all of them. You have to convince them that you are the right man to be the new Arsenal head coach.

The leading candidates

Mikel Arteta

Arteta has been Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City since July 2016
Image: Mikel Arteta has been Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City since July 2016

Ex-Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta is one of the favourites to get the job. He was close to getting it before it was given to Unai Emery in May 2018.

The Spaniard is very highly regarded and has done a great job for Manchester City as assistant to Pep Guardiola.

Guardiola has tipped him to be a top boss one day, but the major question mark over him is that he does not have any experience as a manager to date.

Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino
Image: Mauricio Pochettino is available following his sacking by Tottenham

Could Pochettino really go from Spurs to Arsenal? Sky Sports News understands Arsenal are exploring the possibility of finding out whether he would be interested.

Of course, he is on gardening leave at the moment so is not in a desperate hurry to get a new job. He may want to wait until the summer when other jobs become available. However, he is another candidate that Arsenal are considering.

Carlo Ancelotti

Carlo Ancelotti
Image: Carlo Ancelotti is now available after being sacked by Napoli earlier this week

The next leading candidate is the former Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti.

The Italian is available having just been sacked by Napoli two days ago, and has a wealth of experience not only working in the Premier League, but across Europe's top clubs. His CV speaks for itself; with three Champions Leagues and titles in England, France, Germany and Italy to his name.

The question with Ancelotti though is whether he is the right man for Arsenal. He is known as being quite soft with his players, with Sky Germany reporting that his training sessions at Bayern used to be quite relaxed. Arsenal need someone stricter, who is harder with the players.

Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira has called for calm amid speculation over Unai Emery's future
Image: Patrick Vieira is currently in charge at French Ligue 1 side OGC Nice

Then there is club legend Patrick Vieira; arguably Arsene Wenger's greatest captain and certainly a manager made in his image. A lot of Arsenal fans would want the Frenchman back.

Although still young for a manager, he has plenty of experience, having managed New York City in MLS and now Nice in Ligue 1.

The only problem is things are not going so well for him at Nice. They are currently 13th in the top division in France after a difficult start to the season.

Massimiliano Allegri

Juventus' coach Massimiliano Allegri looks on during the Italian Serie A football match Sampdoria vs Juventus Turin on May 26, 2019 at the 'Luigi Ferraris' in Genoa.
Image: Massimiliano Allegri is a free agent after leaving Juventus in the summer

Massimiliano Allegri has been another leading candidate and he is also available having left Juventus in the summer. A lot of Arsenal supporters are impressed with his CV too.

But his English is not perfect and there is a feeling he would rather wait until the summer before taking his next job. He has indicated this sentiment publicly in recent weeks too.

What about Ljungberg?

Ljungberg is currently in interim charge of the team and helped the Gunners end their nine-match winless streak with a 3-1 win at West Ham on Monday. The former Arsenal midfielder, who was a member of Arsene Wenger's Invincibles squad, has been linked with the permanent job but so far he has been coy about his prospects of taking the job on a full-time basis.

Freddie Ljungberg 0:40
Arsenal interim head coach Freddie Ljungberg insists he is not concerned by reports linking other managers with the permanent job

Asked whether he saw himself as a contender before the Gunners' Europa League game against Standard Liege, he reiterated that he is working on a game-by-game basis and insisted he has not spoken about his future with the club's hierarchy.

"That's not a conversation I've had with the bosses," he said. "My job is to go from day to day, game to game, to try to help this fantastic club. That's what I try to do. All of those decisions are up to the top dogs."

The final hurdle

If any of the candidates listed about do manage to impress the four-man panel tasked with appointing Arsenal's next manager, there is still one more hurdle for them to clear before they are handed the reins.

Arsenal Director Josh Kroenke has come to the defence of his father and owner of Arsenal, Stan Kroenke, over the running of the club.
Image: Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke (right) and his son Josh run the North London club

Once you have gone through the interview, the panel will make their recommendation to American owner Stan Kroenke, the ultimate power at Arsenal, and his son Josh, who sits on the Arsenal board.

They will have the final decision on who is the next Arsenal head coach.

What's the timescale?

Arsenal director Josh Kroenke says the club will perform a thorough search for their new manager, insisting it is about the right candidate, not the first candidate.

When asked about a timescale in the immediately following Emery's sacking, he said: "Our process is already underway. It's going to be led by Raul (Sanllehi), Vinai (Venkatesham), Edu and Huss (Fahmy) here internally. I look forward to getting with them and working closely with them throughout this process.

"Because of our confidence in Freddie we're very fortunate that we're going to be entering into our process and doing a thorough search and it's about finding the right candidate, it's not about finding the first candidate."

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