Sanllehi Link Crucial
Arsenal believe that their Barcelona connection has put them in pole position to secure the services of Luis Enrique as their next manager.
Enrique is the bookies’ favourite to succeed Arsene Wenger when the Frenchman steps down at the end of the season. He has been out of work since he left Barca in May 2017 and he is believed to be looking to make a return to the game after a years’ sabbatical.
Chelsea have also been linked with Enrique although the latest reports suggest that the Blues have switched their attentions elsewhere.
Arsenal’s head of football relations Raul Sanllehi knows Enrique well from their time together at the Nou Camp. Sanllehi was the director of football at Barca when Enrique was at the club and he is ready to have talks with the 47-year-old.
Reports this week suggested that Mikel Arteta is regarded by Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis as having the right attribute to become Arsenal manager. But the Spaniard is unlikely to be given his first managerial job at such a high-profile club.
Meanwhile, one potential candidate could be ruled out of the running. Carlo Ancelotti is also being linked with Arsenal and is one of the favourites for the job behind Luis Enrique. But reports from Italy claim he is one of the candidates for the job of coach of the Italy national team.
Ancelotti has been out of work since the beginning of last October when he was fired by Bayern Munich following a Champions League defeat at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain.
Ancelotti has had talks with the FIGC – the governing body for football in Italy. However, reports that he has yet to agree financial terms over the move are premature. The former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss is one of three candidates for the post. Roberto Mancini and Claudio Ranieri are also being linked with the post.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte had also been linked. He managed Italy from 2014 until 2016 when he left to move to Stamford Bridge and looks set to move on once again. He was regarded as one of the favourites for the Italy job but is not now thought to be a candidate. He is likely to move back to club management in Serie A if and when he leaves Chelsea.