Could Liverpool assistant Buvac replace Wenger?

Liverpool assistant manager Zeljko Buvac yesterday became the latest name to be linked with the soon-to-be vacant manager’s job at Arsenal.

Reports yesterday suggested Buvac will be the surprise choice to succeed Arsene Wenger as the next Gunners manager.

The link emerged a day after it was announced that Bosnian Buvac, who has worked with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for 17 years, is taking personal time away from Anfield at the moment.

However, Pravda BL, the same Bosnian media outlet which broke the news that Klopp would be joining Liverpool in 2015, yesterday claimed that Buvac is ready to end his partnership with the German to take over at the Emirates: “According to our sources Zeljko Buvac has arranged everything with Arsenal, where he will take over in the summer from legendary Frenchman Arsene Wenger.

“In the coming days while Buvac will recharge his batteries in his home town of Omarsk and more details will be known.”

Buvac — whom Klopp has described as ‘The Brain’ of his backroom team — was on the touchline for Saturday’s goalless draw at home to Stoke, but did not travel to Italy for Liverpool’s Champions League clash with Roma.

The Premier League club said Buvac remained a Liverpool employee, but is spending time away from the first team for personal reasons.

Buvac played with Klopp at Germany’s Mainz in the 1990s and was his assistant manager at the club before moving with him to Borussia Dortmund and on to Liverpool in 2015.

Meanwhile, Arsenal have handed a new contract to defender Rob Holding.

The 22-year-old has penned terms on a “long-term” deal, though the specific length of the agreement has not been disclosed.

A statement on the Gunners’ website read: “We would like to congratulate Rob on his new contract and look forward to his continued contribution in the coming years.”

Holding has played 24 times in all competitions for the club this season. The centre-back, an England U21 international, moved to the Emirates Stadium from Bolton in 2016 and helped the Gunners to lift the FA Cup in his first season.

He has been in and out of the Arsenal side this term and has played only 10 times in the Premier League.

Holding’s Arsenal team-mate Jack Wilshere is also “hopeful” he will agree a contract extension to remain at Arsenal.

The 26-year-old England international, who has been at the club since he was nine, is out of contract in the summer and has so far been unable to agree terms on a new deal.

Wilshere says talks remain ongoing, but he admits the situation has been complicated by Wenger’s departure at the end of the season.

He said: “We are still in the same position, really. Not much has changed. We are still talking.

“Obviously, the boss has left, which has changed things a little bit, because I don’t know who is going to be the manager next year and that can change things, but we are still talking and I am hopeful and the club is hopeful we can get something done.”

Wilshere was rested for Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat against Manchester United on Sunday, along with a number of other regular starters, but he is expected to be in the starting line-up for tomorrow’s Europa League semi-final second leg against Atletico Madrid.

Arsenal’s run to the last four of the Europa League has meant a hectic schedule for the club’s players and Wilshere says he has not had time to think about the prospect of moving away.

“To be honest with you, I haven’t really thought about [moving somewhere else]. I have said before that this is where I want to be and I have not really had much time to think about moving clubs.

“We have been playing every three or four days for the last three or four months, so it has been difficult.

“I am concentrating on games and obviously the boss left, so it has been a bad couple of months, to be honest.”



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