LONDON - Unai Emery has emerged as a shock last-minute candidate to take over as Arsenal manager.
Mikel Arteta, currently assistant to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, has been the favourite to land the job, having been endorsed by the departing Arsene Wenger.
But the availability of Spaniard Emery, 46, who left Paris Saint-Germain after leading them to the French league title, has alerted the powers at Arsenal.
Emery has an impressive c.v. from his time working in Spain.
He managed to keep Sevilla, a club with modest financial resources, competitive with vastly more wealthy rivals such as Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Indeed, he took the club from the Andalusian capital to three successive triumphs in the Europa League, with one victory coming against Liverpool in 2016. While in France he also won the French League Cup and French Cup as well as the league title this season.
Patrick Vieira has also been sounded out and there is a suggestion Arsenal will talk with Thierry Henry this week.
But Emery has the most impressive managerial record of all so far.
The new manager at the Emirates will have to work with a restricted budget and while Emery had a huge war chest from which to operate at PSG, it is his work at Sevilla that has made Arsenal take note.
And there is a scenario in which he could work alongside Arteta if Arsenal bring their former midfielder back to the club.
Meanwhile, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, left out of England’s World Cup squad last week, has agreed to sign a new three-year deal, ending speculation over his future.
Wilshere’s current contract expires next month but an extension now seems a formality.
Fellow midfielder Santi Cazorla, whose career has been plagued by an achilles injury over the last two years, is in talks over a move to Villarreal.