Unai Emery looked to have confirmed himself as the Arsenal’s new head coach late on Tuesday night.
Arsenal continue to go about the finishing touches of what is a first management recruitment process at the north London club in almost a quarter of a century to appoint Arsene Wenger’s successor.
However, on Tuesday evening, the homepage of Emery’s personal website – www.unai-emery.com – displayed a picture of the Spaniard alongside an Arsenal crest. It carried the message: “Proud to be part of the Arsenal family.”
The image was taken down from Emery’s website shortly after 11pm, replaced by an error message.
Emery, 46, left French side Paris St Germain at the end of their campaign following a two-year stint during which he won one Ligue 1 title and four domestic cups.
Previously, Emery led Sevilla to three successive Europa League trophies – a proven track record which seemingly saw him emerge as the preferred candidate ahead of former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta for the Emirates Stadium job.
Arsenal’s next appointment to lead the first team will be under a very different regime.
The Gunners had brought in Raul Sanllehi as head of football relations and named Sven Mislintat as head of recruitment while Wenger was still at the helm, loosening the Frenchman’s grip on the club’s wider operations.
Press Association Sport understands Arsenal conducted in-depth interviews with several candidates from a long list of potential managers. Luis Enrique, the former Barcelona coach, ex-club captain Patrick Vieira and Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri were among those strongly linked.
However, it is believed no one pulled out of the race and the Gunners have settled on their preferred choice.
Arteta, currently assistant manager under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, is said to have expressed reservations over how much control the new head coach would have in transfers.
Emery, though, has worked in such models previously, enjoying great success at Sevilla with sporting director Monchi, who is now at Roma.
Assistant Juan Carlos Carcedo would likely be joining the Spaniard as part of a revamped backroom staff, which could yet see Steve Bould and coach Jens Lehmann stay on at the club.
Arsenal revealed their mew PUMA home kit for 2018/19 on Tuesday, with neither midfielders Aaron Ramsey, who has a year left on his current deal, nor Jack Wilshere, out of contract next month, appearing in the promotional material.
That, though, is not expected to reflect directly on the future of either player.
News of Emery’s possible appointment came late on Monday, not long after Wenger was pictured waving goodbye as he left the club’s Hertfordshire training complex.
Wenger is expected to make a decision on his own future before the World Cup, where the veteran coach will be working as a pundit for French television.
The 68-year-old revealed in an interview with beIN SPORTS that he felt there was an “impatience” and “no forgiveness anymore” within some parts of the current Arsenal heirarchy over his position.
“We were used to always huge success, but nothing was good enough anymore,” Wenger said.
“Even this season we played in the League Cup final, the semi-final of the Europa League and didn’t deserve to go out.
“Even if we had won the Europa League, I could feel there was an impatience that was definite.”