Roberto Mancini is claimed to be a potential successor to Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager, according to the Italian reports.
The FA have denied any interest in the former Manchester City man, but the theory that they could talk to him about the England job was bolstered by his appearance at Wembley for the Malta match at the weekend.
Arsenal are now said to also be interested in the Italian, who is currently out of work after falling out with Inter Milan’s new owners during the summer. In September, the 51 year-old hinted at a return to work in the Premier League, having enjoyed his time with Manchester City previously.
He said: “I’m waiting for a serious project, I’m not rushing.
“Every now and then it’s good to unplug. I don’t have any pre-conclusions, working in England was fantastic. The Premier League remains the top.”
Arsene Wenger is into the final year of his contract at present, and has talked up the possibility of leaving when his deal ends, but he has always stated that he would stay as long as the club felt the need to keep him, and there is always the chance of an extension.
Arsenal are in top form at present, and a serious challenge on the Premier League title this term would likely see the Frenchman kept on for at least one more year.
Mancini is said to be especially keen on taking over the reigns from Wenger, with his supposed ‘close friend’ naming the job as one of his top choices.
The supposed friend said: “Roberto has plans to return to the Premier League.
“He likes Arsenal. He thinks they’re a great a club. I believe Arsenal would be a top choice for him.
“He prefers to take on a team at a club with strong ambitions… He really, really likes Arsenal.”
Is Mancini the ideal replacement for Wenger? Will the Frenchman be offered a new deal?