Arsenal make contact with Paulo Sousa as search for next manager intensifies

Arsenal have approached Paulo Sousa about their current managerial vacancy
Arsenal have approached Paulo Sousa about their current managerial vacancy (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal have made contact with the representatives of Bordeaux manager Paulo Sousa as the north London club intensifies its search for Unai Emery’s permanent successor.

Emery was sacked last month following a disastrous run of form which culminated in a shambolic Europa League defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt, played out in front of a half empty Emirates Stadium.

Club legend Freddie Ljungberg has been placed in temporary charge with Per Mertesacker, Arsenal’s academy director, promoted to the first team coaching set-up.

Ljungberg recorded the first victory of his interim reign last night as the Gunners came from behind to beat West Ham 3-1 but, despite an element of the feel-good factor returning after a first win in 10 games, the Arsenal hierarchy continue to broaden their search for a new head coach.

According to L’Equipe, Arsenal have made contact with Sousa’s entourage and would be able to prise him from Bordeaux were they to activate his buyout clause, which they report to be between two and three million Euros.

Sousa has endured a nomadic managerial career but has coached in England before, though not since 2010, with spells at QPR, Swansea and Leicester on his CV.

The 49-year-old, a former Portugal international, took over at Bordeaux from Gus Poyet in March and has guided the club to fifth place this season having signed former Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny in the summer.

Mikel Arteta, according to The Telegraph, remains Arsenal’s preferred candidate, while Patrick Vieira remains a contender, despite his struggles with Nice.

ESPN, meanwhile, claim Arsenal interviewed currently out of work former Valencia manager Marcelino this week, but the 54-year-old is understood to be far from optimistic about his chances of landing the role.

Arsenal face Manchester City at the weekend following their trip to Belgium on Thursday where anything but a five-goal defeat would see them advance to the next stage of the Europa League.

‘I speak to Edu,’ said Ljungberg after last night’s much-needed victory.

‘We played with each other so we speak. Of course I don’t have so much staff so I talk to him sometimes about football.

‘I’ve been told to work on a game-to-game basis. That’s what I’m trying to do. It’s a club that I love and want to try and help as much as I can.’

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