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ARSENAL are preparing to appoint Mikel Arteta sooner than expected after his rivals for the job ruled themselves out.
Arteta has emerged as the front-runner to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal following a series of interviews with leading candidates.
The former Arsenal midfielder is ahead of Patrick Vieira in the eyes of the board and now looks on course to take over at the Emirates.
Vieira has also been spoken to but is said to be frustrated at not receiving feedback and Sky Sports have even reported that he feels like he was spoken to as a token gesture.
Other candidates have either ruled themselves out or been ruled out by their clubs with the Hoffenheim director releasing a statement on Julian Nagelsmann and Massimiliano Allegri saying he was staying at Juventus.
Joachim Low, another who was in the early running, has signed a new deal with Germany, and Brendan Rodgers looks set to stay at Celtic for a battle with Steven Gerrard.
Arteta has held talks with the Arsenal board and looks set to leave his role with Manchester City as a coach in Pep Guardiola’s setup.
The Telegraph report that club sources have claimed Arteta will be offered the job barring a ‘dramatic change of heart’.
Guardiola has endorsed Arteta’s move into management and insists he will not stand in his way should Arsenal make an official approach.
“What we have done this season, Mikel, his contribution was outstanding, amazing,” Guardiola said.
“We were together so good, all the staff, with Mikel.
“So if he stays I will be happiest guy in the world. If he decides to move because he has this offer, this option, I will not say you don’t have to go [you can’t go].”
Arsenal have been keen on the head coach style appointment having restructured the top of the club with Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi on board.
Rui Faria and Zeljko Buvac have also been touted for the job but Arteta now looks a shoo-in.
Naglesmann had support in the boardroom but Hoffenheim director of football Alexander Rosen said: “Julian Nagelsmann will be our coach next season. 100 per cent.”
Allegri and Luis Enrique were also considered initially but the Italian wants to stay another year at Juventus, while the former Barcelona manager’s wage demands were always unrealistic.
Part of the thinking with going with a younger manager is because of the small transfer budget.
Arsenal will offer the new man around £50m before sales with previous reports claiming Allegri would want in excess of £200m.
Arsenal are already working on summer transfers, with Mislintat in charge of recruitment, and have made offers for defender Caglar Soyuncu and midfielder Jean Michael Seri.