Arsenal have drawn up a secret short-list of potential new managers in case Arsene Wenger leaves this summer.
There is a growing concern Wenger could decide to walk away when his current £8million-a-year contract expires at the end of this season.
Their four-man list is headed up by Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, after discreet enquiries were made about their potential suitability.
Max Allegri of Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt and Monaco’s Leonardo Jardim are also understood to be on the Gunners ‘ radar.
Tuchel has gained a reputation as one of Europe’s brightest coaches since succeeding Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund and there is a feeling he could be persuaded to leave Germany for Arsenal.
Allegri is also understood to be keen should the job become available, while Jardim has impressed with his coaching style and by helping Monaco progress to the Champions League’s last 16 — where they will soon play Manchester City.
Schmidt would be regarded as the surprise inclusion but has been getting admiring glances for Leverkusen’s entertaining football and consistency and there is a feeling he too could be tempted.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe’s stock has fallen slightly, while Ronald Koeman, also in the frame when he was Southampton manager last season, has already gone to Everton — and his abrasive style may not fit all clubs.
Mirror Sport opines that there is still a very strong possibility Wenger will stay on, and there is a two-year contract on the table.
But as revealed last week, the 67-year-old has made it clear that the final decision will rest on Arsenal’s run-in and where they finish the season.
The board still passionately support Wenger. With no suggestion that they are looking to axe him, so the decision will be his.
But they must have a succession plan in place.
It is understood that if Wenger goes then it will be a clean break rather than any move ‘upstairs’.
The Frenchman refused to discuss his future at Thursday’s pre-match press conference, but the fan backlash has clearly affected him following back-to-back losses to Watford and Chelsea.
The title looks gone for another year, meaning a minimum of 14 years between championships, and Wenger said: “When you work for 20 years for a club, everybody wants you out. That’s the modern world.”
“But being in charge, being responsible, is a bit more serious than that.”