Mikel Arteta held productive talks with Arsenal on Tuesday about succeeding Arsene Wenger and floated appointing Santi Cazorla as his assistant, according to reports.
The north London club are pushing ahead with their search for a replacement for Wenger, who has ended his 22-year association with the club, and want a new manager in place before the start of the World Cup.
Although experienced coaches likes Juventus boss Max Allegri and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique have been linked with the post, Arteta is now emerging as the favourite.
Arsenal’s hierarchy are believed to be leaning towards a ‘rookie’ coach and Arteta has a growing reputation thanks to two years learning under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
And now The Independent report that Arteta’s chances of replacing Wenger have progressed after fresh talks with the club, while he is already thinking about his backroom team.
The Spaniard is considering compatriot Cazorla – who he played alongside at Arsenal – as an assistant, and the playmaker could be offered a player-coaching role.
Arteta will also weigh up including Wenger’s assistant Steve Bould in his staff, though the former centre-back is undecided about remaining at the club.
The Gunners have already axed a number of Wenger’s old support staff, such as right-hand man Boro Primorac, and Arteta wants to bring in at least three of his own appointments.
Although Arteta is now Ivan Gazidis’ preferred choice, Arsenal’s hierarchy are still expected to meet with other candidates and want to complete a thorough search before finally settling on Wenger’s successor.
Is Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri heading to Arsenal?
The rush to replace Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager continues with it effectively becoming a two-horse race on Monday.
A number of reliable sources (including the BBC’s David Ornstein) have revealed that Arsenal are now preparing to appoint either ex-Barcelona coach Luis Enrique, or Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri.
It is a big week for Allegri, with Juventus playing in the Coppa Italia final against AC Milan on Wednesday night. The Old Lady also need just one more point to retain the Scudetto.
Allegri is now the favourite for the Arsenal role, with the Italian reportedly keen on a move to England with just one year left on his deal at Juventus.
Massimiliano Allegri & Carlo Ancelotti during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final, second leg match between Real Madrid and Juventus at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 13, 2015 in Madrid, Spain.
Who will replace Allegri at Juventus?
As a result of all the speculation, Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport are now speculating as to who will take over from Allegri at The Old Lady.
So far, Juventus have publicly said Allegri will stay and that there are no plans to look for a successor.
However, Tuttosport believe this to be untrue and list a number of candidates.
These include current Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi, who has impressed in the Italian capital.
Didier Deschamps or Zinedine Zidane to return to Juventus?
Also mentioned are Diego Simeone and Didier Deschamps, both of whom have experience in Serie A, the latter played for Juventus.
Juventus’ dream scenario is Zinedine Zidane, but even if Real Madrid lose the Champions League final it seems likely Zizou will keep his job at the Bernabeu.
Other names mentioned by Tuttosport are Paulo Sousa, Mauricio Pochettino, Jurgen Klopp and current FC Porto manager Sergio Conceicao.
It looks like being a very busy summer in Turin!
Arsenal hope to name boss by World Cup. #AFC want proper process & to respect those in jobs. No idea who but not Simeone, Tuchel (#PSG may confirm Wed), Löw (#GER stay likely), Rodgers, Faria etc. Don’t sense Enrique, hear Allegri plans to leave #Juventus but unclear on next move
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‘I would welcome him at Arsenal!’ Robert Pires urges former club to sign Manchester United forward Anthony Martial.
Robert Pires insists he would ‘welcome’ Anthony Martial at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)
Robert Pires has urged his former club Arsenal to attempt to sign Anthony Martial from Manchester United.
France international Martial joined the Red Devils in 2015, becoming the most expensive teenager in history when he left Monaco for a fee of over £50million.
The 22-year-old has struggled to live up to his price-tag, however, failing to nail down a place in United’s team under Jose Mourinho.
Antoine Greizmann has 20 goals in 25 games for Atletico Madrid in 2018 Antoine Griezmann punished Arsenal’s lax defence late on as 10-man Atletico Madrid salvaged a draw from the Europa League semi-final first leg at Emirates Stadium. The visitors were on the back foot for almost the entire game after defender Sime Vrsaljko was […]
Antoine Griezmann punished Arsenal’s lax defence late on as 10-man Atletico Madrid salvaged a draw from the Europa League semi-final first leg at Emirates Stadium.
The visitors were on the back foot for almost the entire game after defender Sime Vrsaljko was dismissed for two yellow cards in the first 10 minutes.
With Atletico’s furious manager Diego Simeone sent to the stands shortly afterwards, the Spanish side survived unscathed to half-time, with Alexandre Lacazette clipping the post with a half-volley the hosts’ best chance.
Lacazette nodded in Jack Wilshere’s cross just after the hour to apparently edge the Gunners closer to a Europa League final send-off for outgoing manager Arsene Wenger.
But with eight minutes remaining, Griezmann latched on to a long ball forward, shrugged off Laurent Koscielny and stabbed into the net at the second attempt for an away goal to swing the tie Atletico’s way going into the return leg in Madrid next Thursday.
Arsenal’s fans were left ruing a familiar combination of wasteful finishing and costly lapses in concentration as the teams departed to a muted response in Wenger’s final home European game.
Their team now must breach an Atletico defence that has conceded just four times at home in La Liga this season to have any hope of extending Wenger’s 22-season spell in charge to the final on 16 May.
Atletico’s early outbursts
In contrast to Arsenal, Atletico Madrid’s defensive discipline has served them well in recent continental campaigns, grinding out victory in four of their five European semi-finals over the past nine seasons.
But the Spaniards’ usual pragmatism deserted them as they self-combusted in the opening 13 minutes.
Croatian right-back Vrsaljko was booked as he caught Wilshere late in the second minute and, instead of showing the requisite caution, blundered into Lacazette with his studs up eight minutes later.
So early in the contest, Atletico may have expected referee Clement Turpin to limit punishment to a stern and final warning.
But the 35-year-old Frenchman judged the challenge rather than the occasion and showed Vrsaljko a justified second yellow.
Simeone was exasperated by that decision and incensed by Turpin opting not to book Hector Bellerin shortly after. The Argentine was dispatched to the stands after aiming a stream of invective at the official.
Atletico in their element
If any side is suited to surviving such a precarious situation though, it is Atletico.
Midfielder Thomas Partey slotted back into defence, forward Griezmann dropped deeper and their whole side set about absorbing Arsenal’s pressure and running down the clock.
The visitors rode their luck at times, with Lacazette grazing the post with an awkward half-volley, but had chances of their own in the first half with Griezmann thumping a fierce shot straight at David Ospina.
As Simeone stood impatiently in a gangway high above and his assistant German Burgos orchestrated from the sidelines, their side threatened to throttle the life out of the game.
The tightest defence in La Liga – with only 18 goals conceded in 34 games – was finally undone as Wilshere dug out a cross and Lacazette hung above Lucas Hernandez to score his 16th of the season.
With Griezmann lurking though, Atletico always retained the power to land a sucker punch.
The France international was played onside by dawdling Nacho Monreal before he hustled Koscielny into a swiped, unsuccessful clearance and applied the finish to spark delirium in the away section.
Wenger to be denied dream send-off?
Aaron Ramsey’s header was brilliantly pawed away by Jan Oblak as Arsenal pushed in vain to re-establish their lead but, given the weight of the away goal, it may not have unseated Atletico as favourites to progress.
Wenger has twice lost in European finals with Arsenal, missing out in a penalty shootout against Galatasaray in the 2000 Uefa Cup final, before being broken down by Barcelona in the Champions League final six years later.
It will require one of Arsenal’s great European displays to take him to a third.
Atletico Madrid have drawn 1-1 on each of their past three visits to England – against Leicester City in last season’s Champions League quarter-final and at Chelsea in this season’s group stage.
Atletico Madird have been victorious in seven of their nine two-legged knockout contests against English opponents.
Arsenal have lost all of the past three two-legged ties against Spanish opposition – all to Barcelona in the Champions League.
‘The worst possible result considering the game’
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger speaking to BT Sport: “Looking at the performance and the way the game went, it was the worst possible result for us, but we have to go there in a positive mood and qualify.
“Of course it feels like an opportunity missed. We could have qualified tonight but it didn’t happen. Their keeper made a lot of saves and they showed their quality by scoring with one chance.
“What matters is that we go there with the belief to do it.”
Arsenal travel to Manchester United on Sunday in the Premier League (16:30 BST) while Atletico play Alaves away on the same day (15:15 BST). The teams’ meet again in the second leg next Thursday at 20:05.
Arsene Wenger has one last shot at glory (Picture: Getty Images)Arsene Wenger takes charge of his last home European game in charge of Arsenal on Thursday night as the Gunners host Atletico Madrid in the semi-final of the Europa League. It is the Frenchman’s last chance to win a European trophy with Arsenal before he…
25 April Arsenal could be running out of candidates to take over from Arsene Wenger, if the Times are to be believed. The North London side will be without the Frenchman next season, as he announced his retirement last week. Yet one of the prime names to take over, Jogi Low, is likely out because […]
According to the latest reports from Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport, Juventus will relieve Massimiliano Allegri of his duties should they fail to win the Scudetto this season. Last night’s 1-0 defeat at home to Napoli leaves the Bianconeri just a single point ahead of the Partenopei, hence their chances of securing a seventh consecutive league […]
According to the latest reports from Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport, Juventus will relieve Massimiliano Allegri of his duties should they fail to win the Scudetto this season.
Indeed, the Tuscan tactician is set to meet with his superiors in the coming weeks to discuss whether they intend to continue their working relationship. However, fresh doubts over his future at the club have surfaced in the wake of a hugely underwhelming performance against Maurizio Sarri’s side.
Arsenal ticket box office crashes as fans scramble to watch Wenger’s last matches in charge. Wenger’s final game in charge against Burnley has now sold out with supporters desperate to be part of the Frenchman’s big send-off on May 6 By Alec Shilton
ARSENAL’S ticket site crashed with fans scrambling to watch Arsene Wenger’s final games in charge.
The Gunners’ site went into meltdown briefly – with his last home game in charge to Burnley on May 6 having now SOLD OUT.
Comments from the Frenchman included gratitude to the club and a message for Gunners fans: “To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.”
The 68-year-old will leave his post with a year still remaining on his contract, and, as a result, the announcement came as a shock to many:
Jack Whitehall @jackwhitehall
Wexit is actually happening! What the hell!? #Wenger
Jay bothroyd @jaybothroyd
Arsene Wenger resigning at the end of the season😳!! I didn’t see that coming. Arsene has been transcendent for @Arsenal and for the English game. He is a great person and great manager who has achieved great things. @PSG_English next! Good luck boss 👍🏽
I’m glad I am in hospital because I’ve just fallen over, is this actually real? Is Arsene actually leaving at the end of the season?
Charles Watts @charles_watts
Arsene Wenger, the man who gave us two doubles, the Invincibles, winning the league at WHL, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires. This is 100 per cent the right decision for him and for Arsenal, but it still leaves me feeling a bit numb. Thank you Arsene. https://t.co/CI2XuFc7pf
The Wall Street Journal‘s Joshua Robinson shed some light on how Wenger came to the decision:
Joshua Robinson @JoshRobinson23
Wenger made the decision this week, under pressure from the board who told him they wanted him out this summer despite the year remaining on his contract. Rather than be fired, Wenger said he preferred to go out on his own terms. https://t.co/nZ52ZS7Plc
He will depart the Emirates Stadium as a three-time Premier League champion and seven-time FA Cup winner.
Wenger also still has the chance to bow out on a high by claiming his first-ever European trophy, as Arsenal are still in the UEFA Europa League and face Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals.
Despite Wenger’s Arsenal having struggled in the second half of his tenure—they last won the Premier League in 2004—the reaction to the announcement was largely positive.
Many, including Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News and the Guardian‘s Sachin Nakrani, acknowledged the huge impact he had on the English game from his appointment in 1996:
Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst
Arsene Wenger did wonders for Arsenal in his first eight years and has left an indelible mark on English football. Genuinely revolutionised players’ approach. Failure to retain the league and underachievement in Europe meant greatness was always beyond him.
Sachin Nakrani @SachinNakrani
Definitely time for Arsene Wenger to leave but his achievements in the first half of his time at Arsenal should never, ever be forgotten. A true pioneer, made football in the in this country that more thrilling and beautiful to watch.
Ben Dirs @bendirs1
Arsene Wenger will ultimately go down as a game-changer, a manager who changed the English game, throughout the leagues.
Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville outlined his experience of playing against Wenger’s best teams:
Gary Neville @GNev2
Arsene Wenger built the best teams that I played against in English Football .The 98 team was Amazing.The biggest compliment is that he played football that made us change the way we played against them. He now deserves the most incredible send off from all in the coming weeks.
Others expressed their admiration for a man who has been part of the Premier League furniture for over two decades:
James McLynn @mclynnjames
Unpopular opinion that’s all of a sudden relevant: I adore Arsene Wenger and we as football fans never deserved him.
Matt Zarb-Cousin @mattzarb
Don’t think I could respect Arsene Wenger more. Unless Arsenal get awarded a penalty before the end of the season and he brings himself on to take it
Duncan Alexander of Opta provided some statistical context for Wenger’s time at Arsenal:
Duncan Alexander @oilysailor
Premier League wins:
Arsene Wenger: 473
Duncan Alexander @oilysailor
Arsene Wenger has won 3.9% of all the league titles and FA Cups in English football history
“has he won enough though?”
As noted by BBC Sport’s Simon Stone, there is recent precedent for a departure of this magnitude given it was only five years ago that Sir Alex Ferguson called it a day at Manchester United:
Simon Stone @sistoney67
As was the case at Man Utd in 2013, decisions now have to be considered @Arsenal that have never been thought about before. Club not at top of game like Utd, so significant difference re potential improvement but no guarantees a new name on the manager’s door will be a better one
Unsurprisingly, suggestions of all kinds flooded in for who should fill Wenger’s shoes in the Arsenal dugout:
Janusz Michallik @JanuszMichallik
Patrick Vieira should be the only target for Arsenal.
It was another dramatic night across Europe as Semi finalists emerged in the Europa League.
Premier League side Arsenal booked their place in the semi-final with a 2-2 draw against CSKA Moscow, with Danny Welbeck and Aaron Ramsey providing late goals to seal their fate into the final four.
Meanwhile, Red Bull Salzburg and Marseille completed massive comebacks in front of their home crowds to move into the next round.
Red Bull Salzburg overturned a 4-2 opening leg deficit against Lazio with a 4-1 victory in Austria, while Ligue 1 side Marseille scored five goals against Red Bull Leipzig to get past the German Bundesliga club.
For Salzburg, all four goals came after halftime, with the decisive finish from Stefan Lainer coming with 14 minutes remaining in the match.
In Portugal, Atletico Madrid fell 1-0 to Sporting CP behind Fredy Montero’s lone finish, but it wasn’t enough for the Portuguese side to move through to the semifinals.