The pressure continues to build on Unai Emery and Arsenal following the club’s underwhelming start to the new season, with the club already six points adrift in the race for the top four after some disappointing recent results.
Arsenal head to in-form Leicester this weekend in what could prove a defining fixture, both for their season and the future of Emery as manager. Should the club suffer yet another set back the Spaniard could soon be dismissed, and we’ve decided to look at some of the candidates to replace him.
Here are the bookmaker’s five favourites to replace Emery as Arsenal manager…
Massimiliano Allegri – 10/1
The former Juventus manager has been out of work since leaving the Italian champions at the end of last season, bringing an end to a successful five season stay in Turin that brought five consecutive Serie A titles and two Champions League final appearances.
The Italian is a proven winner and has experience at the very highest level, while Arsenal posses realistic hopes of tempting him to the Emirates with the 52-year-old currently without a job.
Prior to his move to Juventus he also guided AC Milan to the league title, proving he has the capability to build a successful team outside of Italy’s most dominant club.
Allegri has also confirmed he has taken English lessons ahead of his return to the dugout, a factor which will further his appeal to the Arsenal hierarchy.
Brendan Rodgers – 7/1
Premier League proven, experienced in winning silverware and an advocate of attractive attacking play, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers seems the ideal candidate should Arsenal opt to part with Emery.
The Northern Irishman has only been at the King Power Stadium since February, and it would prove difficult to secure his services from the high-flying Foxes who have ambitions of securing top four football this season.
Rodgers has taken Leicester to a new level this season and his exciting young side have won many admirers, as the former Liverpool boss rebuilds his reputation in the Premier League after a trophy-laden spell north of the border at Celtic.
Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson this week suggested Rodgers could transform the clubs fortunes if appointed at the Emirates, and it is difficult to argue that he looks an ideal fit.
Leicester could be the team to potentially end Emery’s reign this weekend with victory, but could their manager be his replacement?
Patrick Vieira – 6/1
A romantic appointment, the club’s iconic former captain returning in an attempt to restore the club to the glory of his playing days, but is the Frenchman really the ideal candidate?
Vieira has enjoyed a steady career in management so far, spending two seasons at MLS side New York City after beginning his coaching career at the Manchester City academy. He has been with French side Nice since the start of last season, who he guided to a seventh-placed finish in Ligue 1.
The club have started the new season poorly and are currently languishing in the bottom half, and despite earning plaudits for his attacking, pressing-based system, Vieira is yet to show he is a manager capable of taking charge at a leading club.
His reputation and affiliation with the club would earn him both respect and time, however, it would represent a huge gamble for the Arsenal hierarchy.
Mikel Arteta – 5/1
Another former club captain who would represent somewhat of a gamble, though Mikel Arteta has no doubt had a fine education working alongside Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
The Spaniard has worked closely alongside his compatriot as the Manchester side have dominated English football in recent seasons, with many tipping the 37-year-old to be successful once he makes the transition from assistant to head coach in his own right.
His knowledge of the club would greatly boost his hopes having spent five seasons at the Emirates as a player, however, would the Arsenal board be prepared to take an opportunity on a coach with no senior experience in management?
Several brilliant assistants have made the step-up to management before, not all with a great deal of success.
Jose Mourinho – 5/2
Now this would be a story.
The former Chelsea and Manchester United manager had many battles with Arsenal throughout his time in the Premier League, most notably during his time at Stamford Bridge where he developed a memorable rivalry with Arsene Wenger.
Mourinho has endured a difficult relationship with the club and has often sent jibes in the direction of the North London side, ridiculing their lack of success in recent years and labelling Wenger a ‘specialist in failure’.
The Arsenal fans have also been critical of Mourinho’s ‘boring style’, and it remains to be seen whether he would be able to win favour at the club.
That said, the Portuguese is a proven winner, and would instil a bite and resilience in an Arsenal side not seen since the dismantling of the Invincibles side over a decade ago.
For too long Arsenal have been regarded as spineless, a far cry from the side which used to intimidate the opposition before a ball was kicked. Times have changed since then, of course, but Mourinho could bring back a winning mentality to the club.
Despite his status as favourite, we’re not quite sure this will happen, but it would certainly be fascinating to watch.