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Arsenal hierarchy want emerging coach to replace Arsene Wenger - sources

Senior figures within the Arsenal hierarchy favour the appointment of a young, emerging coach as Arsene Wenger's replacement, sources have told ESPN FC.

The success of Sean McVay, the 32-year-old coach of the NFL's Los Angeles Rams, has prompted strong backing for a similar appointment at the Emirates, sources said.

Stan Kroenke, Arsenal's majority shareholder, also owns the Rams through his holding company, Kroenke Sports and Entertainment (KSE).

Wenger's 22-year reign as Arsenal manager will finally come to an end on May 13 following the final Premier League game of the season at Huddersfield Town. The 68-year-old will take charge of his final home game this weekend against Burnley.

Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis, head of football relations Raul Sanllehi and head of recruitment Sven Mislintat are heading the search for Wenger's successor and have already drawn up a short-list including experienced, proven managers such as Luis Enrique, Joachim Low and Massimiliano Allegri.

But the club are also keen to assess the options at the other end of the experience scale, with Manchester City first-team coach and former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta under consideration, and Julian Nagelsmann, the 30-year-old coach of Hoffenheim, another name in the mix.

Sources said the move to give serious consideration to a young coach is being driven by Kroenke's son, Josh Kroenke, who is a non-executive director at Arsenal. The 37-year-old is also the president of the NBA's Denver Nuggets and NHL's Colorado Avalanche, both of which are also owned by KSE.

KSE surprised many in January 2017 by making McVay, then 30, the youngest head coach in NFL history, and his appointment has since been regarded as a huge success. The former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator transformed the fortunes of the Rams in his first season as a head coach.

McVay was named NFL Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America after guiding the Rams to the playoffs for the first time since the 2004 season.

And while sources said KSE accepts that football management and coaching differs hugely from the NFL, the success of Nagelsmann at Hoffenheim in particular has ensured that Gazidis, Sanllehi and Mislintat have been encouraged to search out the best and brightest young coaches in Europe as candidates to succeed Wenger.

Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_


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