Arsenal refute claims of Mourinho meeting as pressure mounts on Emery


The former Manchester United and Chelsea manager has been linked with replacing the under-fire Gunners boss after a run of poor results

Arsenal have played down claims that the club’s head of football, Raul Sanllehi, recently met with Jose Mourinho as pressure continues to mount on Gunners boss Unai Emery.

Saturday’s draw at home to Wolves led to further calls for Emery to lose his job, with the Spaniard having overseen just two wins from the north London outfit’s last nine Premier League matches.

The Gunners were also knocked out of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday as they let a two-goal lead slip to draw 5-5 with a youthful Liverpool side before losing on penalties.

And reports emerged on Sunday that Mourinho had recently dined with Sanllehi, with Arsenal considering the former Chelsea boss as a potential replacement for Emery.

Sources close to the club have told Goal, however, that the rumoured meeting did not happen, with Sanllehi having not met Mourinho in person for a number of years.

Nevertheless, the suggestion that the Arsenal hierarchy are potentially considering their next move will do little to help Emery’s cause as he looks to win over an increasingly unhappy fanbase.

Having replaced Arsene Wenger in the summer of 2018, the ex-Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain coach was unable to return the club to the Champions League during his first campaign in charge as they finished fifth in the Premier League before losing to Chelsea in the Europa League final.

A summer of spending that included the arrivals of Nicolas Pepe, Dani Ceballos and Kieran Tierney suggested that the Gunners would be able to build on that this season, but they could finish the weekend as many as six points off the Premier League’s top four after just 11 matches.

Unai Emery Arsenal 2019-20

Factor in the fallout from Granit Xhaka’s foul-mouthed rant at supporters in last Sunday’s draw with Crystal Palace, the decision to leave Mesut Ozil out of the matchday squad for much of the campaign and reports of dressing room unrest, and Emery has plenty of questions that need answering over the coming weeks.

They travel to the team directly above them, Leicester City, in their next domestic fixture on Saturday in what now looks a hugely important game in both their own season and for Emery’s immediate future.

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Mourinho, meanwhile, has been out of work since he was sacked by Manchester United in December, though he continues to be linked with some of the top jobs in European football.

It has been understood he remains Real Madrid’s top target should they look to replace Zinedine Zidane in the near future while he has turned down approaches from Benfica and Lyon since leaving Old Trafford.

The Portuguese regularly enjoyed run-ins with ex-Arsenal boss Wenger, most famously labelling the Frenchman a “specialist in failure”, and as such was not a popular figure among the Emirates Stadium faithful during his time at United or his two spells at Chelsea.


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