Saturday 14 December 2019

'I wouldn't be surprised if an initial phone call was made' - Niall Quinn backs Mauricio Pochettino for Arsenal role

Arsenal manager Unai Emery looks dejected
Arsenal manager Unai Emery looks dejected

John Brennan and Kevin Palmer

Now the big question is will Arsenal go for the ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino to replace the sacked Unai Emery.

'Poch' is available and ready to go, and there is a precedent with George Graham serving as Spurs manager for a couple of years after being a Highbury legend with Arsenal.

Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers and former Juventus kingpin Max Allegri are other names being mentioned. The latter, like Pochettino is easily available. Leicester City, by contrast, would demand millions of pounds in compensation for the Gunners for letting Rodgers leave the King Power Stadium.

Last night's defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League, at a half-empty Emirates, was the final straw for an Arsenal Board who believed the Spaniard had 'lost' his players.

"Arsenal should go and get Pochettino right now," former Gunner Niall Quinn told "In fact I wouldn't be surprised if an initial phone call was made last night.

"Spurs weren't a top club when he took over, but Pochettino turned them into European Cup finalists while playing attractive football. If he could fire some of those very good footballers into pressing hard and covering hard then they could be a top team."

Arsenal confirmed they sacked Unai Emery after a board meeting at Emirates Stadium on Friday morning, with former Gunners midfielder Freddie Ljungberg taking over as caretaker manager.

Rumours were swirling that the Spanish tactician would be leaving his role after Thursday night's Europa League defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night, with this statement released by Arsenal confirming the exit of Emery.

"The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required," it read.

"We have asked Freddie Ljungberg to take responsibility for the first team as interim head coach. We have full confidence in Freddie to take us forward.

"The search for a new head coach is underway and we will make a further announcement when that process is complete."

Speaking on behalf of the Arsenal board and our owners Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, Josh Kroenke said: "Our most sincere thanks go to Unai and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand. We wish Unai and his team nothing but future success."

Former Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas believes the club were right to dispense with Emery's services, as he identified Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers as the man to succeed him.

"Some of these Arsenal lads need a shake-up and I can see people throwing Mauricio Pochettino and Massimilano Allegri's name into the mix, but the guy who I felt should have got the job before Emery is Brendan Rodgers," Nicholas told Sky Sports.

"He has improved just about every player at Leicester and he has earned the right to be the next Arsenal manager. They need to get a bit of leadership into the club and if they are serious about moving this forward, they have to go and get Brendan Rodgers now.

"Emery's exit is not a surprise. He had lost his direction and lost his belief and it just became a bit of a mess. It's not all his fault as the lack of leadership from above him has been a shock to the system for Arsenal, but the results were poor and this losing mentality had become a bad habit. This had to happen. The direction they were going in was all wrong.

"He had to rebuild the defence and didn't do that. Instead, Arsenal spent £72m on Nicolas Pepe and they didn't need him and now it is a massive rebuilding job.

"The whole defence needs to be built and that won't be cheap for a club that don't seem to have a lot of money to spend in the transfer market for whatever reason."

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