Sportsmail revealed at 9.09am on Friday morning that Emery would be sacked, with the majority of the club’s board set on replacing the beleaguered Spaniard.
Owner Stan Kroenke ratified the board’s decision on Friday and Emery’s departure was announced at 10.09am, with assistant coach Freddie Ljungberg made interim boss.
Sportsmail first revealed Emery was facing the sack on November 4, while we disclosed on Monday that the club had already started identifying replacements for the Spaniard in preparation for the manager’s inevitable exit.
The club have drawn up a exhaustive first list of external contenders for the top job which includes Brendan Rodgers, Mikel Arteta, Patrick Vieira, Max Allegri, Nuno Espirito Santo, Mauricio Pochettino and Carlo Ancelotti.
Sportsmail understands one of the key traits the club want in their new full-time boss is the ability to communicate charismatically through the media. Of course, the priority is to appoint someone who can transform the club’s recent fortunes on the pitch.
Wenger, who has natural wit, was a master at communicating through the media and there is an acknowledgement behind the scenes that the club are missing the Frenchman’s famous charm. Emery was far less expressive during his public duties whilst in charge, though his difficulties with English made it difficult for the Spaniard to communicate.
And the Gunners want someone who can enhance the club’s public profile and transmit a clear message from within the camp to supporters. The job specification casts doubt over Italian Allegri’s chances due to the language barrier.
Financial constraints following two successive years without Champions League football will also be a factor.
Allegri and Pochettino would likely command a salary in-excess of £10million-per-year – as well as substantial transfer funds.
Pochettino’s links to Tottenham are also an obvious issue – though there is understood to be genuine interest in the Argentine from the Gunners.
The cost of taking Rodgers out of Leicester would also be an issue. The former Liverpool boss has around £12.5million left on his existing Foxes deal and the club’s owners would almost certainly demand full compensation for Rodgers.
However, Sportsmail understands Rodgers is greatly admired at the Emirates Stadium and is believed to be one of the early favourites for the role. Getting him out of Leicester, however, will prove very difficult, particularly mid-season.
It is understood Arteta and Santo also have strong support from inside Arsenal. Arteta, currently first-team coach, at Manchester City came close to replacing Wenger in 2018 before Emery was offered the position.
But there is acknowledgment behind the scenes that Arteta, who would consider taking the Arsenal job, should have been appointed ahead of Emery.
Wolves boss Santo would cost less in compensation, around £5m. But there are some reservations about his ability to communicate through the media.
Santo is represented by Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes, who has a close relationship with Arsenal head of football Raul Sanllehi, which could strengthen his claim for the job.
Sanllehi and technical director Edu will be largely responsible for identifying the club’s preferred candidates.
Edu is understood to have close ties to another leading agent, Kia Joorabchian, who has links to Allegri. Indeed, the political landscape inside the Arsenal hierarchy will prove an interesting factor moving forward with Edu and Sanllehi likely to champion different candidates.
There are some within the Arsenal hierarchy who believe Vieira’s legendary ties to the club makes him a worthy candidate, while Ancelotti’s current difficulties at Napoli, and the fact he’s won the Premier League with Chelsea, makes the Italian a contender.
Work will now begin on narrowing their search for a new boss, but – as revealed by Sportsmail on Monday – Freddie Ljungberg has been placed in interim charge.
And it is understood the Swede will emerge as a serious contender for the post if he can galvanise the team between now and the end of the season.
Arsenal officials want to give Ljungberg a fair crack at trying to prove he can replace Emery on a full-time basis. But, as it stands, the club are leaning towards making an external appointment.