Arsenal have been given permission to talk to Manchester City assistant manager and former Gunners captain Mikel Arteta, with a view to appointing the Spaniard as their new manager.
Sky Sports News reports that talks will take place on Thursday as Arsenal aim to convince the 36-year-old that the Emirates hotseat would be preferable to playing second fiddle to Pep Guardiola at City.
Arteta is the bookies favourite to succeed Arsene Wenger at the club he played for 149 times between 2011 and 2016. If appointed, it is likely that he would be handed a budget of £50m to make Arsenal competitive again.
The Gunners missed out on a place in the top four for the second consecutive year this season, finishing 12 points behind 4th place Liverpool and forcing the club to finally part company with Wenger after 22 years.
The Arsenal executives involved in talks with Arteta will be chief executive Ivan Gazidis, head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat.
Gazidis reportedly wants Arteta to take up a head coach role as the club undergoes a restructuring at managerial level. Arteta would therefore be in charge of the team but Mislintat and others would take on the job of pursuing transfer targets.
Arteta would be allowed to bring in his own backroom staff. He is part of an extensive coaching team at Manchester City, but most of them are loyal to Pep Guardiola and would not follow Arteta to North London.
Other names linked with the Arsenal vacancy include New York City manager Patrick Vieira and Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers, but some bookies have suspended betting on Arteta following news of Thursday’s discussions.
Arsenal want to make an appointment before the World Cup starts in Russia on June 14.