Arsenal interested in Paulo Sousa, claims entourage of Bordeaux coach

Bordeaux coach Paulo Sousa may not have previously excelled in English football, but he is apparently in the running for the Arsenal job.

Paulo Sousa has already coached QPR, Swansea City and Leicester City in England.   -  AFP

Arsenal has identified Bordeaux coach Paulo Sousa as a potential successor to Unai Emery, a source close to the Portuguese tactician has claimed.

Following an underwhelming start to the season, Emery was dismissed by Arsenal in late November, with Freddie Ljungberg taking over in an interim capacity.

Although Ljungberg guided Arsenal to a 3-1 win at West Ham on Monday, the Swede is not thought to be in contention for the job on a full-time basis.

Patrick Vieira, Marcelino Garcia Toral, Carlo Ancelotti and Mikel Arteta have all been linked with the vacancy at the Premier League club. But Sousa, who has taken Bordeaux to fifth in the Ligue 1 table this season, is also attracting interest, according to his entourage.

They told L'Equipe: "They like his profile as a coach but also as a person – we've been blown away. That doesn't mean he'll leave. They've targeted several candidates, but Paulo is one of them, certainly. Between the two [Arsenal and Sousa], it could be a match.

"With all the problems at Bordeaux, why wouldn't he leave? The project is not what he was promised, that's a fact. He loves the fans, but he needs more from the board - this team is not strong enough to finish in the top six."

Sousa is no stranger to English football having already coached QPR, Swansea City and Leicester City, while he has also had spells in charge of Basel, Fiorentina and Tianjin Quanjian in China.

Despite apparently having a desire to talk with Sousa, Bordeaux's head of recruitment Eduardo Macia insists the Gunners have not been in touch with the club.

"It would be normal that he arouses interest, but we have not been contacted," Macia told L'Equipe.

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