Former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has emerged as the closest rival to Massimiliano Allegri in the race for the top job at the Emirates, as the Gunners move closer to settling on a preferred successor to Arsene Wenger.
The north London club have been sifting through a number of high profile names since Wenger announced his 22-year association with the club was to come to an end at the conclusion of the season, with the likes of Patrick Vieira, Joachim Löw, Luis Enrique, Julian Nagelsmann and Jorge Sampaoli now reportedly cut from the process.
According to the Telegraph, Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis and the son of majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, Josh, have dwindled their list to two leading candidates - the former Arsenal skipper Arteta and Juventus boss Allegri.
The pair are now weighing up who to approach before taking the next step in the process.
Astonishing thar Mikel Arteta's name is being mentioned as a possible manage for Arsenal. A slightly bellow average player... Arsenal will be relegated...— Ahmednasir Abdullahi (@ahmednasirlaw) May 12, 2018
Although Allegri's history of success in the top job is well-documented, the report claims there is a feeling that 36-year-old Arteta would be a better fit for Arsenal's structure and his inside knowledge of the club and the Premier League would make up for his lack of managerial experience.
Arteta has been working as Pep Guardiola's assistant at Manchester City, and although the Premier League champions are expected to be reluctant to allow their highly-rated coach leave, they are unlikely to stand in his way should an offer emerge and he expresses a desire to accept it.
The Gunners have expressed the view that a young manager could help re-energise the club following back to back seasons without Champions League football, where a £50m transfer budget is unlikely to turn Arteta away.
Arteta remains close to Arsenal's Per Mertesacker, who is taking over as Academy manager next season - which would see the German work closely with the first-team manager.
The risk for Arteta is that the Arsenal job would be his first in management, but Gazidis and the Kroenkes rate the 36-year-old highly and have history with trusting an inexperienced manager - as seen by their NFL club, Los Angeles Rams.