ARSENAL will finalise their managerial shortlist by next week as they choose from a dozen candidates including interim boss Freddie Ljungberg.
And they hope to confirm a permanent appointment by the end of this month – even if it means waiting until the summer to get their man.
Sunsport understands that Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta is the preferred option after narrowly losing out to Emery 18 months ago.
Brendan Rodgers and Mauricio Pochettino are the other leading names in the frame while Max Allegri is also under consideration.
There are currently as many as 12 names under consideration to replace Unai Emery in the Emirates hot-seat.
But that list is being whittled down by the club’s four-man selection panel which is being headed by technical director Edu and also comprises Raul Sanllehi, Vinai Venketesham and Huss Fahmy.
The Arsenal head-hunters are under pressure to make a decision in weeks rather than months to end the uncertainty currently surrounding the club.
But because some of the main contenders are under contract with other clubs, it might not be possible to get them to the Emirates immediately.
And club sources say if that is the case, they would be prepared to wait until the end of the season to get the right man rather than lowering their aims just to make a quick appointment.
Ljungberg is still an outsider and will have to do something pretty special over the next few weeks to convince the club that he is ready to take the top job.
He is expected to remain in charge for at least the next four weeks, when the team faces a daunting run of eight games in 27 days.
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But it would take a spectacular upturn in the team’s current fortunes for him to convince former team-mate Edu.
Arteta is regarded as a far more viable replacement for Emery after learning his trade under Pep Guardiola at the Etihad.
The Spaniard spent the final five years of his playing career at Arsenal before retiring in 2016 and is familiar with the set-up and a number of the players.
He was keen to replace Arsene Wenger last year but just missed out because some of the interviewing panel had concerns about his lack of managerial experience.
But now the club are ready to adopt a more bold approach after the failure of Emery’s 18-month spell in charge.
Ljungberg is under intense scrutiny after being asked to hold the reins but has been assured that he will remain on the coaching staff even if he does not get the manager’s job.
And the Swede has already made an impression on the squad after just a handful of training sessions.
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Skipper Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang said: “Freddie can give us something special.
“Everybody is respectful of him. He played for Arsenal so he knows how we feel as players and it’s interesting to have him in charge.
“His career speaks for itself and if I’m not wrong he was part of the Invincibles.
“We will try to follow him and give the best for him. He has this club in his heart and we will see this week what is going to happen.
“Unai Emery was sacked, now we have Freddie and we’re all focussed on getting back to winning games, which is the most important thing.”
This post written by Gary Stonehouse originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.