Champions League winning manager wanted to replace Arsene Wenger

Carlo Ancelotti told Arsenal last winter he wanted to take over from Arsene Wenger.

The experienced manager took his Napoli side to Emirates on Thursday night in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final tie with the Gunners.

Unai Emery will lead Arsenal out against Napoli, but it could have been the Italian tactician in the home dug-out if the 59-year-old had got his way a year ago.

The Evening Standard claims Arsenal began looking for Arsene Wenger’s successor in January 2018 and Carlo Ancelotti was included immediately to a list of candidates.

Carlo Ancelotti even told senior figures involved in the search he wanted the job having had a spell as Chelsea manager between 2009 and 2011.

The Arsenal chiefs were tempted by former AC Milan manger’s offer but settled on Unai Emery after he impressed during the interview process. Unai Emery had a detailed understanding of Arsenal’s team and came armed with claims on how the club could be rejuvenated and improved.

The two managers were just two of eight candidates Arsenal seriously considered last term and Unai Emery eventually won the running and continues to have the backing of the club despite.

But Arsenal lost key pieces after the arrival of the Spanish manager: head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and chief executive Ivan Gazidis were instrumental in the decision to hand Unai Emery the job, but both made stunning exits from Emirates this season.