Arsenal cull Arsene Wenger's backroom staff

The exit door at Emirates Stadium had barely shut behind Arsene Wenger when a number of his backroom staff followed him out the door yesterday, as the club prepare for life beyond the Frenchman.

Wenger took charge of his last game on Sunday as the curtain came down on a 22-year spell at the helm. 

It is understood the Gunners hierarchy have also acted to move on some of the coaching staff that worked with Wenger.

While the managerial vacancy remains — with two former club captains in Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira among the favourites for the role— the club wasted no time clearing the decks for a new regime.

Boro Primorac, a long-term coach and friend of Wenger, was always likely to leave and, as the outgoing manager prepares to clear his office later this week, a number of other backroom staff have also been relieved of their duties.

Colin Lewin, head of the club’s medical department, has been at the club a year longer than Wenger but will also be departing — as well as coaches Neil Banfield, former Ireland goalkeeper Gerry Peyton and Tony Colbert, with Paul Johnson leaving his post as equipment manager.

As things stand it appears Wenger’s assistant Steve Bould and Jens Lehmann, recruited to the coaching staff just last summer, will remain under the new manager.

The hunt for Wenger’s successor continues, with Arteta now the hot favourite to return to the club he served as a player between 2011 and 2016.

He retired two years ago to join Pep Guardiola’s coaching team at Manchester City and helped deliver the Premier League title this season.

While the 36-year-old has no managerial experience, Guardiola, speaking after his side reached the 100-point mark with a final-day victory at Southampton on Sunday, praised Arteta’s role in the success and said he would not stand in his way if Arsenal came calling.

“What we have done this season, Mikel his contribution was outstanding, amazing, we work together so good,” he said.

“If he stays I will be the happiest guy in the world and if he decides to move because he has this offer, this option, I will not say you do not have to go. I want the best for my friends and he is a friend of mine.”

Although Arteta has emerged as front-runner and is reportedly the preferred choice of chief executive Ivan Gazidis, former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, New York City head coach Vieira and Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus continue to be linked with the job.

Allegri, who secured a fourth successive Serie A and Coppa Italia double over the weekend, appears the least likely to take the reins after both he and Juve said they want him to remain in charge heading into next season.

Another name touted as a potential successor has been Hoffenheim head coach Julian Nagelsmann, although the Bundesliga side insisted yesterday that the 30-year-old will be going nowhere. 

“Julian Nagelsmann will be our coach next season 100%,” Hoffenheim’s director of football Alexander Rosen told Sky Germany.

One man linked with the post who won’t be taking it is Joachim Low, who has put his focus on winning the World Cup for a second time after agreeing a new contract as Germany coach until 2022.

The German Football Association (DFB) announced the deal shortly before Low named a 27-man provisional squad for the tournament in Russia.



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