LONDON - Unai Emery is to be confirmed as the new manager of Arsenal after a day of talks in London concluded with him saying yes to the role of replacing Arsene Wenger.
Sportsmail revealed on Monday that Emery, 46, had emerged as a late rival to Mikel Arteta for the job.
A contract for the Spanish former boss of Sevilla, Spartak Moscow and Paris Saint- Germain was being thrashed out on Monday night by Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis.
It is believed Emery has agreed to work under a tight transfer budget and strict controls from the board. But his promise of how he likes his teams to play is sure to excite Arsenal supporters.
"Fans want their emotions to come to the surface and the only way to make that happen is to give them a team that transmits emotion: intensity, attacking, scoring goals, competing, fighting," he wrote in a recent book. "That awakens them. The fans want emotions."
Emery left his role as Paris-Saint Germain manager at the end of the season despite winning five trophies in two years, with Thomas Tuchel taking his position at the French club. News of Emery’s imminent appointment was met with shock by players on Monday night, who had fully expected arteta to be in charge next season.
Arsenal also considered Patrick Vieira as manager and made an approach for their former captain, but that move was heavily criticised by legendary striker Ian Wright on BBC Radio 5 Live.
"One of the saddest things was Arsenal getting in touch with Patrick, which was tokenism," he said. "To go from Arteta, who I was thinking was getting it, to approach Patrick like that, a legend of the club, that was despicable."
Asked whether it was tokenism because he was a club legend or because he was black, Wright said: "I don’t know. you can choose, whichever way. Did they do it maybe because they had to interview?
"If they’ve just gone from Arteta to Unai Emery, who you say they spoke to ages ago — he was 66-1 or whatever it was — why did they do that to Patrick. Embarrassing, embarrassing thing to do."