ARSENAL are ready to gamble on Mikel Arteta as the club’s new first-team coach.
And Arteta is keen on an Emirates return after two years working as Pep Guardiola’s assistant at Manchester City.
Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis has been pushing for Arteta since Arsene Wenger announced he was stepping down last month.
The Spaniard, 36, fits perfectly into the Gunners’ long-term vision of how the club will be run after 22 years of Wenger’s management.
Arsenal’s head of football relations Raul Sanllehi is believed to favour a more experienced replacement for Wenger — but Gazidis is confident of overcoming his reservations.
Having finished sixth, their lowest position since 1995, there is a feeling at the Emirates the club has nothing to lose with a bold appointment.
They are condemned to another season in the Europa League and are looking at a youthful coaching set-up to reinvigorate an under- performing squad.
The plan is for Arteta to focus on coaching and team selection, leaving Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat to deal with contracts and new signings.
Arteta would head up a coaching team comprised of a host of other ex-Arsenal favourites including Jens Lehmann, Per Mertesacker and Freddie Ljungberg, returning to the Emirates as Under-23 boss.
Former Everton midfielder Arteta spent five years as an Arsenal player before retiring in 2016 and knows the club and the Premier League inside out.