Arsene Wenger says final goodbyes to Arsenal as search for successor continues
Wenger left the Gunners at the end of the season after almost 22 years in charge.
Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger waved goodbye to the club’s training ground on Monday, as the speculation continued over his replacement.
Ex-Gunners captain Mikel Arteta has been heavily linked with succeeding Wenger, whose near-22-year reign ended following the final match of the Premier League campaign at Huddersfield.
The veteran French coach said last week that he felt Arteta, currently assistant manager under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, “has all the qualities to do the job”.
Wenger, however, will not have any say in the appointment of the new man, and was pictured waving goodbye as he left the club’s Hertfordshire training complex on Monday.
The 68-year-old stopped to pose for selfies and sign autographs in what is expected to be the final act of his departure from Arsenal, having admitted last week he had no time to return properly and “empty my desk” following the last of his 1,235 matches in charge of the Gunners on May 13.
Arsenal, meanwhile, continue to go about the finishing touches of what is a first management recruitment process at the north London club in almost a quarter of a century.
While Arteta has emerged as the preferred candidate of Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, reports have suggested the Spaniard, 36, has raised concerns over how much control the new head coach will have in the new structure regarding transfers.
The Gunners had appointed Raul Sanllehi as head of football relations and named Sven Mislintat as the head of recruitment while Wenger was still at the helm, loosening the Frenchman’s grip on the club’s wider operations.
Former Paris St Germain boss Unai Emery is said to be in London, supposedly for talks with Arsenal representatives, while Luis Enrique has also been linked with the vacancy, along with Massimiliano Allegri, who now looks set to stay at Juventus.
Arsenal are also in the process of overhauling the backroom staff, with the roles of assistant Steve Bould and coach Jens Lehmann among those to be decided.
Press Association Sport understands that as many as six other employees will depart, including long-term coach Boro Primorac and Colin Lewin, head of the club’s medical department.
Midfielder Jack Wilshere, left out of England’s World Cup squad, is said to be close to signing a new three-year contract, but Spaniard Santi Cazorla is reportedly ready to be released this summer and set for former club Villarreal.
As the club look towards improving next season, having again failed to qualify for the Champions League, two possible transfer targets to emerge are Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Freiburg defender Caglar Soyuncu.