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'Ancelotti would be the wrong choice for Arsenal' - Smith feels Gunners need an 'innovator' not an 'old-school manager'

8:25 PM GMT+8 13/12/2019
Carlo Ancelotti Napoli 2019-20
A club legend does not believe that the Italian tactician is the right man to succeed Unai Emery in the Emirates Stadium hot seat

Carlo Ancelotti "would be the wrong choice" to become Arsenal's next permanent manager, according to Alan Smith, who thinks his old club need an "inspirational coach".

Unai Emery's one-and-a-half-year spell in charge at the Emirates Stadium came to an end on November 29, as he was sacked after overseeing a run of seven matches without a win.

The Spaniard's assistant Freddie Ljungberg inherited the managerial reins on an interim basis, and it is believed that Swede will be considered for the long-term position if he can spark a turnaround in fortunes.

So far, he has been unable to do so, with Arsenal winning just one of their last four fixtures, falling further behind their rivals in the race for a top-four Premier League finish in the process.

A number of high profile names have been linked with the post in north London, including former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, Manchester City number two Mikel Arteta and ex-Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri.

Ancelotti is considered the frontrunner, however, after being relieved of his managerial duties at Napoli at the start of the week.

The three-time Champions League winner, who led Chelsea to a Premier League title in 2009-10, has also enjoyed successful spells at Juventus, AC Milan, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

Arsenal plan to hold talks with Ancelotti , but club legend Smith feels a more "innovative" manager is needed to affect significant change at the Emirates.

After assessing the Gunners' frailties in defence, Smith wrote in his latest column for the Evening Standard : "Arsenal cannot lean on a solid rearguard this time, and that obvious lack of resilience and organisation makes the task so much harder for the new man.

"That’s why I repeat my firm belief that the situation demands an innovative, inspirational coach, someone with the ability to quickly instil a decisive vision and culture on the training ground that transfers to match days in a positive way.

"For me, someone like Carlo ­Ancelotti would be the wrong choice. As successful as the Italian has been, he’s more of an old-school manager who steadies the ship through clever man-management.

"Arsenal’s predicament has moved beyond that. It requires a tough visionary who can grab hold of this squad and fashion a way of playing that, in the short term, will achieve better results by making the team harder to play against."

He went on to express his belief that Arteta would be the best fit for the role, stating: "I said it last week and I’ll say it again. Mikel Arteta has what it takes. I just hope that the Arsenal board feel the same way."

The Gunners drew 2-2 with Standard Liege in the Europa League on Thursday night, a result which ensured they finished top of Group F ahead of Eintracht Frankfurt.

Ljungberg will now prepare his side for a crucial home clash against reigning Premier League champions Manchester City on Sunday, before they take in a trip to Everton six days later.