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Patrick Vieira emerges as leading contender for Arsenal job as club prepares to interview 10 candidates

Patrick Vieira

Patrick Vieira’s chances of returning to Arsenal as the club’s next permanent manager have increased in recent days, according to reports.

The Gunners are on the lookout for a new boss following their sacking of Unai Emery at the end of November.

Freddie Ljungberg was instantly placed in caretaker charge and oversaw his first win as Arsenal boss on Monday, as the north Londoners came from behind to beat West Ham 3-1.

Ljungberg will be entrusted with the role on an interim basis until Arsenal have identified a suitable full-time successor to Emery.

Senior figures at the club are determined to avoid rushing into an appointment, with Arsenal set to conduct a thorough recruitment process which could see as many as 10 candidates invited for an interview.

Mauricio Pochettino, Max Allegri and Nuno Espirito Santo were among the names linked with the vacancy at the Emirates Stadium soon after Emery’s dismissal, but Vieira has now emerged as a serious contender for the job, according to the Daily Mirror.

The former Gunners captain is currently in charge of Nice, who have had an underwhelming start to the season and currently occupy 13th place in Ligue 1.

However, Arsenal recognise that Vieira has not been helped by off-field problems at the Allianz Riviera, while the Frenchman did guide Nice to a seventh-place finish last season.

And the ex-midfielder’s connections with the club with whom he won three Premier League titles would make him a popular choice among supporters.

Nevertheless, Vieira is by no means the only man under consideration by head of football Raul Sanllehi, technical director Edu, managing director Vinai Venkatesham and contracts negotiator Huss Fahmy.

Former Valencia manager Marcelino, Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta and Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti are all of interest to the Arsenal hierarchy.

Bordeaux chief Paulo Sousa, who previously took charge of QPR, Swansea and Leicester in England, and Belgium manager Roberto Martinez could also be spoken to.

Pochettino’s affinity with Tottenham could scupper Arsenal’s chances of installing the Argentinian in the Emirates Stadium dugout, while Allegri’s relatively poor English would appear to rule him out of the race.

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