Arsenal identified Spaniard their top target to replace sacked manager Unai Emery

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The Arsenal board have identified Mikel Arteta as their top target to replace fired manager Unai Emery, according to reports.

Struggling Arsenal are searching for a new boss after pulling the plug on Unai Emery’s underwhelming 18-month reign in north London.

Unai Emery arrived at the Emirates with an excellent reputation, having won the Ligue 1 title at PSG and three Europa Leagues at Sevilla, but eventually failed and lost his job on Friday morning.

While Freddie Ljungberg has been placed in temporary charge of the Gunners, the Arsenal board have been drawing up a shortlist of managers to succeed Unai Emery on a full-time basis.

Nuno Espirito Santo, Brendan Rodgers, Max Allegri, Patrick Vieira and Mauricio Pochettino have all been linked with the vacant position at the Emirates but Arsenal have made Mikel Arteta their top target.

Mirror Sport say Pep Guardiola’s Man City assistant Mikel Arteta has emerged as Arsenal’s first-choice target, with the Gunners hoping to replace one Spanish boss with another.

Mikel Arteta is believed to be keen on the job, having held a spell at Arsenal as a player, while Guardiola is open to allowing his deputy to leave to further his career.

The City coach was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal after Arsene Wenger’s departure in 2018, but former chief executive Ivan Gazidis favoured Unai Emery.

While losing Mikel Arteta midway through the season would not be ideal, the Mirror claim Guardiola has a perfect replacement waiting in the wings in Giovanni van Bronckhorst.