LONDON Premier League side Arsenal could accelerate its interest in Super Eagles midfielder Wilfred Ndidi during the January transfer window following the sacking of manager Unai Emery today and replacing him with former midfielder Freddie Ljungberg.
Arsenal is currently lying eighth in the English Premier League table, with a meagre 18 points, which is less than half that of leaders Liverpool who have 37. Being eight points behind fourth placed Chelsea, Arsenal’s hopes of finishing in the top four and qualifying for the lucrative Uefa Champions League are looking slim and the fans subsequently turned on coach Emery.
Yesterday, German side Eintracht Frankfurt appeared to drive the final nail into the coffin when it beat Arsenal 2-1 at the Emirates Stadium in the Europa League. Consequently, the Arsenal board decided this morning to replace Mr Emery with Mr Ljungberg on an interim basis until the end of the season.
Mr Ljungberg’s first task will be to take the Gunners to Norwich this weekend but over the long term, he will need to strengthen his team with new signings. Ndidi, who has won the most tackles in the English Premier league for the last two seasons, has been praised for Leicester’s resurgence during the current campaign and is seen by many as the solution to Arsenal’s defensive frailties.
Ndidi’s presence in front of the back four has resulted in the Foxes only letting in eight goals in 12 league matches compared to the 17 Arsenal have conceded. British football analyst Art De Roche for instance had advised Mr Emery to save his club’s flagging season by purchasing Ndidi in the January transfer window.
Arsenal director Josh Kroenke said: “Our most sincere thanks go to Unai and his colleagues who were unrelenting in their efforts to get the club back to competing at the level we all expect and demand. We wish Unai and his team nothing but future success.
“The decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required. We have asked Freddie Ljungberg to take responsibility for the first team as interim head coach.
“We have full confidence in Freddie to take us forward. The search for a new head coach is underway and we will make a further announcement when that process is complete.”
Several senior figures at Arsenal wanted Jose Mourinho to replace Emery before he joined north London rivals Tottenham as head coach. Arsenal had also made contact with former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri, who has been without a role since leaving the Italian champions at the end of the 2018/19 season and he may still be appointed as a permanent replacement at the end of the season.