ARSENAL CHIEF IVAN GAZIDIS WANTS ARTETA TO REPLACE WENGER

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Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis and influential director Josh Kroenke have identified Mikel Arteta as their preferred candidate to replace Arsene Wenger.

As revealed by Sportsmail on Wednesday, there is a push from key figures at the Emirates Stadium to appoint a younger coach with a fresh approach as they look to get the best out of the current squad.

Arteta and Patrick Vieira, who has also been spoken to about the role, are the two leading candidates should the club make a decision to head down that route.

But Gazidis – the figurehead of Arsenal’s search for a new boss – and Kroenke, son of owner Stan, are understood to be leaning towards Arteta, who is first-team coach at Manchester City.

There are others on the board – namely head of football relations Raul Sanllehi – who wants to appoint an experienced boss. Juventus manager Max Allegri is the leading contender if the club go down that road.

But Allegri has now indicated he will stay at Juventus next season, though Arsenal still want to discuss the role with the Italian before making a final decision.

Indeed, if Allegri is obtainable within the budget, appointing the Juve boss may well be an opportunity too good to resist.

But as it stands, Arteta, who is fully aware of Arsenal’s interest, has edged ahead in the race to replace Wenger.

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