Arsenal are closing in on appointing Mikel Arteta as their new manager.
Sportsmail understands players have been told that Arteta is 90 per cent certain to replace Arsene Wenger.
The Spaniard, who has been working with Pep Guardiola and Manchester City for the past two seasons, is the preferred candidate of chief executive Ivan Gazidis and influential director Josh Kroenke, son of owner Stan.
Other board members, including head of football relations Raul Sanllehi, had wanted a candidate with a proven track-record.
But Max Allegri, Luis Enrique and Joachim Low appeared to have all dropped out of the race.
Allegri revealed earlier this week he will stay at Juventus next season, Enrique’s demands have proved a huge stumbling block and Low has now agreed an extension to his contract with Germany.
Julian Nagelsmann, another contender, is also staying at his current club Hoffenheim after their director of football Alexander Rosen confirmed the 30-year-old would be in charge next season.
Confirmation of Arteta as the club’s preferred candidate could be ratified by the board by the end of the week.
All that would be left then is for owner Kroenke to give the appointment the green light.
Arteta is fully aware of Arsenal’s interest and would almost certainly accept the job if it was offered to him.
Arsenal want their new manager in place by the start of the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Arsenal players are furious with the treatment of highly-respected physio Colin Lewin after he lost his job on Monday.
Lewin, who is hugely popular with the Arsenal squad, was informed on Monday that he would be part of a cull of Wenger’s backroom team.
But the shock news has been met with anger by Gunners players, who are said to be fuming at Lewin’s treatment.
Lewin, widely recognised as one of the best sporting physios in the country, has been at the club for 23 years and formed close relationships with the playing staff.
Not only that, he has intricate knowledge of players’ bodies and the physical problems they carry.
A number of Arsenal players need managing on a day-to-day basis and Lewin played a lead role in ensuring their recovery.