Part of that process, he said, included an eight-man shortlist with each candidate interviewed for the role. Gazidis also stated that none of the candidates withdrew their interest at any point.
Thomas Tuchel, Lucien Favre and Joachim Low were initially thought to be among those considered but seeing as each of them committed themselves to other jobs prior to Emery’s announcement, they were perhaps never on the list.
Here, we look at eight candidates that may have been on the shortlist.
The former Arsenal captain was a favourite for the job. Always known to possess a keen tactical understanding of the game as a player, he has been groomed under Pep Guardiola as part of his coaching staff at Premier League champions Manchester City.
Despite the respect and familiarity he would share with many of the members of the current squad, his inexperience always counted against him. It would’ve been a massive gamble though not just for the club but for Arteta as well whose fledgling career on the touchline could’ve taken a huge blow had things not gone well at Arsenal.
If it’s good football Arsenal fans want to keep seeing, Rodgers would’ve been the perfect appointment. The Northern Irish coach is known for guaranteeing an attractive brand of football, more so than anyone else on this list.
He was excellent as Liverpool manager, producing some spectacular football and taking them ever so close to a league title. Rodgers has since drove Celtic to even higher standards, winning the domestic treble this season and boasting a 70.83 per cent win rate.
Ultimately though, his failure to win any silverware in three years at Liverpool probably counted against him.
Many considered Allegri to be the perfect man to replace Wenger. The Italian has proved himself as a serial winner and was expected to bring that mentality to an Arsenal side that has a reputation for lacking in mental fortitude.
Allegri has won nine major trophies in four seasons at Juventus while also guiding them to two Champions League finals. There are reports though that he was keen on a major overhaul of the squad this summer, the extent of which the club were reluctant to fund.
Another former Arenal captain understood to have been in the mix was Patrick Vieira. The Frenchman is currently managing New York City FC and does have two years experience of coaching the Manchester City reserves as well.
In his case, though, his inexperience counts against him especially given the daunting task of following Wenger’s 22-year stay.
So grand was the level of success for Luis Enrique at Barcelona that he’s said to be the manager who came closest to matching Pep Guardiola’s achievements. The Spaniard won nine major trophies in his three-year spell at Camp Nou, including one Champions League.
He put together the famous ‘MSN’ attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar and won the treble in his first season. His style was always a little unbalanced though, heavily favouring attack and neglecting the defensive aspects of the game.
The former Chelsea manager was already proven in the Premier League and would’ve been the safe choice. He’s proved to have a steady hand, taking over a Real Madrid side reeling after letting go of Jose Mourinho and winning an historic 10th Champions League.
However, following a successive spell at PSG as well, Ancelotti’s stock has dropped since his failure to deliver in Europe with Bayern Munich.
Leonardo Jardim is the man responsible for AS Monaco’s incredible campaign last season. A talented young side that included breakout starts Kylian Mbappe, Thomas Lemar and Tiemoue Bakayoko stormed to the Ligue 1 title ahead of PSG.
The 43-year-old is renowned for his attacking football but after seeing most of his star players poached last summer, has been unable to maintain standards at Monaco.
Sacked by PSG, Emery wasn’t everyone’s choice for the job. However, the 46-year-old is nothing if not meticulous and reports suggest that his presentation during his interview is what tipped the scales in his favour.
Emery is renowned for his detailed analysis and it is understood that his extensive knowledge of every Arsenal player and thoughts on how he would improve them as individual and as a teams is what blew away the hiring committee.
That old adage about insanity – doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results – is looking more and more like Chelsea‘s motto.
Hire one obsessive, exacting, difficult manager. Have one good season with him, then stumble, sack him, and find the next one. It was Jose Mourinho first, then Antonio Conte, whose reign – hardly unsuccessful, with a league title in his debut season and the FA Cup in his second – is almost certainly coming to an end, and the presumptive favourite to replace him is Napoli manager Maurizio Sarri.
In fairness, Chelsea seem to have perfected the model of enjoying top-level success despite what seems like unsustainable managerial churn, so perhaps Sarri will follow the pattern. Yet the 58-year-old comes with greater risk than his immediate predecessors, having never won a trophy in a career that has now stretched across 13 seasons. Not since Roberto Di Matteo was hired as an emergency replacement for Andre Villas Boas in 2012 has someone with a CV so bare been linked with the Stamford Bridge hot seat.
Di Matteo, of course, led the Blues to the greatest success of the Roman Abramovich era, winning the Champions League that year, so there’s no reason to believe Sarri can’t be successful at Chelsea. He’s got plenty going for him – his Napoli side has been one of the most thrilling, compelling sides in Serie A this year, and were it not for the presence of a historically good Juventus team they would certainly be league champions. They’re the first Italian team to cross 90 points and not win the league.
Sarri managed to get a talented Napoli side to play as a sum greater than its parts, even though they ended up falling short. It’s a quality that Chelsea have seen under Mourinho and Conte in recent years – but only for one-year stretches. Those single-season campaigns of brilliance delivered two Premier League titles, but also ended up wearing down a squad that immediately fell away the following season.
The new manager bounce should revitalise this Chelsea squad, and Sarri’s attacking style will suit some of Chelsea’s leading players more – Eden Hazard, if he stays, chief among them. One need only see the emergence of Lorenzo Insigne and Hazard’s compatriot Dries Mertens this year to see the level of performance Sarri can coax out of attacking players. The Italian took a team that lost a goalscorer of the calibre of Gonzalo Higuain and ended up making it a more convincing title challenger.
Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea? What are the odds of Eden Hazard being converted to a no.9 and going on a Dries Mertens-esque goal scoring epiphany?— Matteo Bonetti (@TheCalcioGuy) May 23, 2018
But there’s a sense that Chelsea are missing a trick by going with Sarri, especially considering his rumoured replacement at Napoli. Carlo Ancelotti is nothing short of a coup for Partenopei, but it’s shocking that the former Chelsea manager was available and more wasn’t done was to arrange a return. Whatever fall-out happened between him and Abramovich when Ancelotti was sacked in 2011 has reportedly been resolved, and of the managers looking for a job this summer, it’s hard to argue that any was a better fit for Chelsea.
Not only does Ancelotti have a deep understanding of the club, winning history in England, a Premier League winning percentage, 63.2%, that ranks in the top five in the competition’s history, he’s also a sharp contrast to Conte and Mourinho where fellow Italian Sarri is more of the same. The former PSG, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and AC Milan manager has made a name for himself for his laid-back, player-friendly managing of a squad. It’s the sort of style Hazard hasn’t known since moving to England – and one that the Belgian seems to be craving.
Reportedly, overtures were made to secure Ancelotti’s services, only for talks to never progress. But if it’s come to a straight choice between him and Sarri, the fact that the junior Italian has been preferred is perplexing.
Sarri is a driven manager with a thirst to prove himself at the highest level, and Chelsea have made a habit of letting such managers thrive. But there’s no escaping the thought that a triumphant return for Ancelotti was an opportunity too good to pass up, and they’ll rue letting it go.
Unai Emery paid tribute to the legacy left by Arsene Wenger as he set out his vision for the “big challenge” after taking over as head coach at Arsenal.
Emery, 46, left Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season having won the domestic treble and will replace Wenger at the Emirates Stadium following the end of the Frenchman’s 22-year reign.
Spaniard Emery – who emerged as the shock favourite earlier this week after it had seemed former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta was in line to land the job – is set to fit into a new structure behind the scenes.
“We will create a new present and a new future for Arsenal. I want to say thank you Arsene Wenger for your legacy. For all the coaches in the world, he is a reference. We learned, I learned from him all the things in football,” Emery said at a press conference, choosing to speak in English rather than via a translator.
“It’s a big challenge for me, but I have worked also in other projects, big projects. For me, I am proud to be here and to work after Arsene Wenger.”
Emery, who won three successive Europa League titles with Sevilla before moving to PSG in 2016, maintained he had his own plans about how to take Arsenal forward, the club having finished sixth in the Premier League last season.
“Our objective is to be among the best teams in Europe, to win titles and to be in the elite of European teams. I also want the team to make the fans proud. I know they are already and I want them to be even more so,” he said.
On the future of midfielder Jack Wilshere, whose current contract is set to run out, Emery added: “I want today to speak about the team globally, not individually about the players today.
“This team is a big team, great players, we think we need to change little things.”
Chief executive Ivan Gazidis explained Emery was the stand-out candidate on an eight-man shortlist for the Arsenal job.
“We had some clear criteria we were looking for,” said Gazidis.
“We wanted progressive, entertaining football, personality to fit Arsenal values and a reputation for developing players and also, through cultural demands, demanding more from them.
“His teams improve over time. We also felt for some time that he is a superb fit with the criteria I laid out. He came in extraordinarily well-prepared with a detailed knowledge of Arsenal football Club.
“He had an analysis to share with us, not just his ways of working, his ways of coaching, the team of people that he works with, but he had an analysis of all of our individual players – their qualities and how he believes he can help them develop individually and collectively – and also an in-depth analysis of our off-the-field team and how they can contribute.
“The thing that distinguished Unai was the chemistry between us. He has an energy, a competitive energy, and will to win that made us think this was a perfect fit for Arsenal.”
The club are yet to confirm if Emery will bring in any of his own backroom staff, although Juan Carlos Carcedo, Pablo Villanueva, Julen Masach and Victor Manas have all reportedly been lined up for roles.
When asked how big a rebuilding job it is for Emery, chief executive Gazidis said: “I think all of our players will respond to the new energy that Unai brings. I think they will have somebody under whom they can improve their individual game and our collective game.
“I don’t think anybody believes that sixth place is a place that a club of the stature of Arsenal should be. We need to look to improve that.”