Luis Enrique has identified his main summer target if he takes over at Arsenal

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Arsenal's search to find Arsene Wenger's replacement is well and truly underway.

The veteran French manager - who took charge of the club all the way back in 1996 - is set to leave Arsenal at the end of the season.

“The timing was not really my decision,” Wenger admitted to reporters.

“Honestly, I don’t know what I will do,” said Wenger. “Will I take a little rest? I will continue to work, that’s for sure.

"My pride has always been to give my best to where I’m employed until the last day of my contract. At the moment I’m just focused on that.”

Arsenal are reportedly considering a number of different managers to replace the 68-year-old this summer.

Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is the current favourite.

Luis Enrique's main summer target

The 47-year-old Spaniard has already earmarked his number one target in the summer transfer window, if he is to replace Wenger.

Enrique achieved great success in Barcelona but has been unemployed since his contract expired at the Camp Nou in 2017.

Juventus v FC Barcelona  - UEFA Champions League Final

The Sun report that Enrique wants the Arsenal board to give him a £200m transfer budget, despite recent reports suggesting that the new manager would only have £50m to spend.

If appointed, the former Barcelona coach is reportedly planning a major shake-up in every position except attack.

The Sun claim that Roma's Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan is Enrique's number one target.


Nainggolan, 29, joined Roma from Cagliari in 2014 and is now considered to be one of the finest central midfielders in Europe.

Asked if he would move to the Premier League in 2017, Nainggolan said: "Yes, it's a good league.

"Beautiful stadiums, good atmospheres in the stadiums - but at the moment my head is only at Roma."

His arrival would almost certainly be bad news for Jack Wilshere, who is still yet to sign a new contract at the Emirates.

Arsenal v Southampton - Premier League

Arsenal must do their utmost to secure Champions League football - otherwise it may be difficult to convince household names to join.

According to The Sun, Enrique wants to be paid the same £9m a year salary that Wenger is currently earning in north London.

Arsenal FC v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Europa League Semi Final Leg One

Massimiliano Allegri, Joachim Loew, Carlo Ancelotti, Mikel Arteta and Brendan Rodgers are all in contention for the job.

Wenger publicly backed Enrique earlier this week.

“I have a high opinion of Luis Enrique,” Wenger said. “I do not want to influence the job for the next manager but of course I have a high opinion of him.”

Arsenal fans would surely be happy if Enrique and Nainggolan are on their payroll at the end of the summer.

Premier League
Arsene Wenger
Luis Enrique

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