Arsenal officials pictured leaving Arteta's home in early hours of Monday morning
Monday 16 December 2019 22:49, UK
Arsenal officials are in talks with their counterparts at Manchester City over the availability of Mikel Arteta as they search for Unai Emery’s replacement.
Arsenal officials were photographed leaving City assistant boss Arteta's Manchester home in the early hours of Monday morning with the club expected to appoint a new manager before the end of the month.
Gunners chief executive Vinai Venkatesham and the club's lawyer Huss Fahmy were photographed leaving Arteta's home around 1.20am, following a reported two-and-a-half-hour meeting with the leading candidate.
Even before Sunday night's meeting was revealed, City officials had decided to ask Arteta to help them end three weeks of speculation linking him as the favourite to replace Emery at the Emirates.
Following the manner of Sunday's 3-0 defeat by Manchester City, Arsenal have made it clear that action is required to halt a dramatic decline which could see the club missing out on a top-four finish for the fourth season in a row.
The Arsenal board are looking for someone who knows the club, knows the Premier League and is available to take over immediately.
Arteta, who spent five years at the club, ticks all those boxes and also came close to getting the job in the summer of 2018 before the club decided to appoint Unai Emery instead.
The Spaniard left the Emirates Stadium with the rest of City squad without speaking to the media on Sunday night but has met with Arsenal officials since the game.
Football executives at the club have maintained they will take their time to make sure they appoint the right man.
The Gunners are considering up to 10 candidates including Arteta and another former midfielder Patrick Vieira.
Freddie Ljungberg has been in interim charge since Emery was dismissed 17 days ago, after a 2-1 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.
He has been managing the first team on a game-by-game basis but he wants the Arsenal board to make an appointment as soon as possible.
Sky Sports News have approached both Arsenal and Man City for comment following the release of images from Sunday night's meeting but, so far, neither club has commented.
Sky Sports' Paul Merson:
'This is a big, big gamble putting someone that has never managed before in charge of a club the size of Arsenal.
It's all well and good saying he's worked under Pep Guardiola, but let's be honest, Guardiola would struggle managing this Arsenal team. Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp would struggle!
'To ask someone with no managerial experience to take charge in the current circumstances at Arsenal is a big ask. But there are also massive question marks over his credentials, massive questions.
'One of the major factors with Arteta being linked with the job is that he's worked closely under Guardiola, and he used to play at Arsenal. Other than the fact he won't get lost on the way to training, I don't know what else he brings to the table.
'I've got nothing against Arteta, he was a top player and is a top bloke - I've been in his company and he is lovely. For a coach in his position, he cannot not take the job. After all, getting into management is all about timing.'