London (AFP) – Former Paris Saint-Germain coach Unai Emery looks set to become Arsene Wenger’s successor after 22 years as Arsenal manager, the BBC reported on Monday.
Emery, 46, won Ligue 1 and four domestic cups in two seasons in the French capital before departing earlier this month.
However, the Spaniard paid for his failure to get PSG beyond the last 16 of the Champions League in his two seasons at the Parc des Princes.
“Emery emerged as the unanimous choice following a recruitment process in which all candidates were spoken to,” said the BBC.
PSG had previously reached four consecutive Champions League quarter-finals following the Qatari takeover of the club in 2011, but Emery oversaw a humiliating defeat to Barcelona in the last 16 a year ago, losing 6-1 at the Camp Nou after a 4-0 win in the first leg.
The club then committed to spending 400 million euros ($483 million) on Neymar and Kylian Mbappe alone — the two most expensive transfer deals in history — last year, but Paris were eliminated in the last 16 again this year, going out to Real Madrid.
“We lost against Real but they are showing that they are maybe still the strongest team in Europe,” said Emery when announcing his departure.
Emery previously enjoyed great success on the European stage at Sevilla, where he won three Europa League titles in three full seasons at the Sanchez Pizjuan.
Arsenal have been looking for a new boss for the first time in over two decades since Wenger announced last month he was stepping down at the end of the season.
A sixth-placed finish in the Premier League, the Frenchman’s worst-ever return, means the Gunners have failed to qualify for the Champions League for a second straight season.
Former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta, who has formed part of Pep Guardiola’s coaching staff at Premier League champions Manchester City for the past two seasons, appeared to be the front runner in the past week.
Arteta, who played 150 games for Arsenal between 2011 and 2016, even had Wenger’s blessing.
“He was a leader, has good passion for the game, knows the club and knows what is important at the club,” Wenger told BeIn Sports.
However, Arteta’s lack of previous managerial experience appears to have seen him lose out to his compatriot.
Emery’s own playing career was a modest one, largely in Spain’s lower divisions after failing to make the grade at Real Sociedad.