Arsenal are reportedly preparing for the possibility that Arsene Wenger could leave the club this summer, despite only signing a new two-year contract in May, and have identified former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti as a 'serious candidate' to step into the void.
Those comments were somewhat misinterpreted at the time as an admission that the veteran Frenchman plans to step down at the end of this season, but the Evening Standard has reason to believe at least a few 'senior figures' at Arsenal think it possible he could go.
The local London newspaper notes, 'there is a sense behind the scenes [Wenger] could give serious consideration to cutting short his contract'.
Changes to reduce the dependency on Wenger have already begun, with ex-Borussia Dortmund chief scout Sven Mislintant recently joining and already updating the Gunners' scouting system, while ex-Barcelona official Raul Sanllehi will arrive as 'Head of Football Relations' in February.
Ancelotti is currently out of a job after being dismissed by Bayern Munich in September, just a few weeks into his second season in Germany.
The Italian has a proven record in England after winning a domestic double in his first year with Chelsea in 2009/10, while he also steered AC Milan to two Champions League titles and was the coach responsible for finally delivering the long elusive Decima to Real Madrid in 2014.
The Standard further notes that Ancelotti is planning to return to London with his family next month anyway, although it is also pointed out that Chelsea have been linked with him in the event that incumbent boss Antonio Conte does not last beyond the end of the season.