Arsenal Interviewed EIGHT Different Candidates Before Appointing Unai Emery As Manager
By Tom Sanders
Arsenal interviewed seven other candidates for their vacant managerial position- including PL legend Thierry Henry- before finally appointing Unai Emery to the role.
Arsene Wenger stepped down as Arsenal boss at the end of the 2017/18 season after 22 years in charge of the club, with dwindling league results and the absence of Champions League football for the second year in a row finally pushing the longstanding manager over the edge.
Emery was the man eventually chosen to replace him, with early reports suggesting that former Arsenal player and current Man City assistant manager Mikel Arteta was the top candidate to take the reigns.
However, a recent report by The Athletic reveals that the Arsenal board held talks with eight different candidates in total before unanimously agreeing upon Emery following the interview stage.
The reports states the other seven were Massimiliano Allegri, Julen Lopetegui, Ralf Rangnick, Jorge Sampaoli, Patrick Vieira as well as Henry and Arteta.
It was also reported that Arsenal held discussions about appointing Antonio Conte, Eddie Howe, Maurizio Sarri and Brendan Rodgers- but for various reasons chose not to pursue those candidates in the end.
Ultimately, it is believed that it was Arteta's lack of managerial experience and a readily available backroom team that cost him the role.
Amongst the other candidates, Allegri spent another season at Juventus before taking a year-long sabbatical from football, whilst Henry went on to endure an ill-fated spell at Monaco.
Arteta has remained at Man City and continues to thrive as Pep Guardiola's No.2, whereas Vieira has gone on to manage OGC Nice.
German Rangnick returned to RB Leipzig for another season before moving on to a sporting development role at parent company Red Bull.
And finally Sampaoli left his role as Argentina chief and in December joined Brazilian side Santos.
Pressure on Emery has intensified greatly this season, with the manager's job currently hanging in the balance after blowing a 2-goal lead against Crystal Palace on Sunday.
The result has left Arsenal in fifth, four points off Chelsea and Leicester after nine matches.
After missing out on Champions League football in his first season in charge following a woeful finish to last season's Premier League and their 4-1 thrashing against Chelsea in the Europa League final, a top-four finish is now a must for Emery.
Although it is believed that most inside Arsenal- including most of the players and club hierarchy- still back the manager, his position is looking increasingly uncertain, with the board reportedly holding off on offering him a new contract last summer.
He is likely to be given until the end of the season to sort things out at least, although odds on him being sacked before then are tumbling, especially in light of Sunday's incident involving the substitution of Granit Xhaka.
Should Emery face the sack, it is believed that Freddie Ljungberg would be the man to replace him, at least in an interim role.