| 4.8°C Belfast

Juventus boss Allegri is leading contender to succeed Wenger



Juventus FC coach Max Allegri

Juventus FC coach Max Allegri

Getty Images

Juventus FC coach Max Allegri

Arsenal are conscious of the need for a manager who "galvanises" the fanbase, with Juventus' Max Allegri currently the top choice to replace Arsene Wenger.

The French great is now entering his last week as manager at the club, on a wave of goodwill after years of growing discord among the support.

The Arsenal hierarchy are highly aware of that, with majority shareholder Stan Kroenke said to be particularly attuned to attendance at the Emirates and how that looks on television, so want an appointment that creates excitement around the club.

That would appear to rule out some of the more esoteric choices to succeed Wenger, even though some at the club feel they should do what they did with their legendary manager in 1996 and opt for a promising but lesser known name.

Arsenal admire Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann, although he is expected to stay at the Bundesliga club.

With the hierarchy thereby unwilling to go for anyone less tested, Allegri would appear the perfect fit.

The Italian has won three Italian titles in a row, and is on the brink of a fourth, and has also taken Juve to two Champions League finals.

Negotiating with the Serie A champions could be tricky, although Allegri is said to be considering another challenge.

Arsenal have also looked at former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique, who knows Head of Football Relations Raul Sanllehi, although the Spaniard's wage demands are exceptionally high at around £8m a year.

Meanwhile, Mesut Ozil is set to miss the rest of the season after suffering a recurrence of his back injury, but questions have arisen over his lack of playing time in the league this season since signing his new contract extension.

Last week's Europa League semi-final defeat by Atletico Madrid led to intense criticism of Ozil from former Arsenal defender Martin Keown, who also predicted that the Germany international would miss the weekend's tie with Burnley.

When the team sheets were released on Sunday, Ozil's absence was almost met with a comical reception, given he has not been seen in the league since the start of April.

Wenger's reluctance to use Ozil appeared to be a deliberate attempt to protect him for the Europa League campaign, but given that there will be no golden send-off as they missed out on this month's final, there is no longer a reason to leave the 29-year-old out of the side.

Yet he missed the 5-0 thrashing of Burnley on Sunday with what Wenger said was a back injury and, after sitting out recent games with similar knocks and multiple illnesses, his continued absence is raising suspicions that all is not what it seems.

Belfast Telegraph