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Arsenal make mess of identifying Arsene Wenger’s successor before opting for safe choice

Paris Saint-Germain manager Unai Emery (left) and departing Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger

Arsenal look set to appoint Paris Saint-Germain’s departing manager Unai Emery as Arsene Wenger’s replacement, but the Gunners didn’t even have the Spaniard on their radar until 10 days ago, says the Telegraph.

Mikel Arteta was believed to be the frontrunner to become the next Arsenal manager before Emery edged his way ahead of his inexperienced countryman. So, what happened?

Arsenal got cold feet over Arteta

Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta was set to replace Wenger as Arsenal manager this summer, after Massimiliano Allegri opted to stay at Juventus and Julian Nagelsmann committed his future to Hoffenheim. The Spanish coach played for the Gunners between 2011 and 2016, making over 140 appearances in all competitions, and would have been received well by supporters.

Arteta has been endorsed by City manager Pep Guardiola and Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino who tried to appoint him to his backroom team before the Sky Blues agreed a deal in 2016.  The 36-year-old would have been head coach, working alongside a Head of Recruitment, Head of Football Relations and Contracts Negotiator, but the Gunners got cold feet.

The Telegraph say Arsenal were wary that Arteta hadn’t managed a club before, so when Emery become available they interviewed him and were impressed by his presentation. The 46-year-old has taken charge of six clubs, winning eight major trophies, and would be the safer option given his track record.

It’s worth noting, however, that Emery’s CV highlights his greatest strengths and weaknesses as a manager. He shares some similarities to Wenger in regard to how his sides perform domestically and in the Champions League, but comes to Arsenal boasting some past European success and as a title-winner most recently.

Emery’s CV is both successful and underwhelming

Emery spent three-and-a-half-years at Sevilla, winning three Europa League titles and reaching the final of the Copa Del Rey. But his time at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium was marred by the club’s underachievement in La Liga and the Champions League, perhaps highlighting a lack of focus where it mattered.

Sevilla’s final positions in La Liga under Emery

  • 2012/13 (9th) 50 points
  • 2013/14 (5th) 63 points
  • 2014/15 (5th) 76 points
  • 2015/16 (7th) 52 points

As a result of Sevilla finishing outside of the top-four in each of his four seasons at the club, they didn’t play in the Champions League under Emery. It wasn’t until the winner of the 2015/16 Europa League would be granted a place in the top European competition in 2016/17 that Sevilla finally got a taste of it.

His time at Paris Saint-Germain was mixed too. He came away from the Parc des Princes with one Ligue 1 title, two Coupe de Frances and two Coupe de la Ligues, but lost out on the title in his first season to Monaco and hasn’t made it past the last-16 with the most expensively assembled Paris Saint-Germain side in history.

He’s won the Europa League but has a poor record in the Champions League and couldn’t get Sevilla into the top-four despite having four bites of the cherry. Arsenal have finished outside of the Champions League spots in each of the last two seasons, so is Emery really the man to help turn things around? It’s worth noting that he wasn’t on their shortlist until the eleventh hour.

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