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Ex-Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri among favourites for Arsenal job

Former Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri and Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta are among the leading contenders to replace sacked Arsenal manager Unai Emery.

Massimiliano Allegri Source: Getty

Just 18 months into his contract, the Gunners fired Emery on Friday after going seven matches without a win.

Emery led Arsenal to fifth in the Premier League and to the Europa League final in his first season after taking over from Arsene Wenger.

But the club struggled this term, sitting eighth in the Premier League, eight points away from the top four.

Amid growing pressure, the final straw was Thursday's 2-1 home defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League, even though Arsenal remain top of their group with one game to go.

Arteta has emerged as one of the early favourites to replace Emery along with Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti, Max Allegri and Wolves' Nuno Espirito Santo.

But City boss Pep Guardiola remained tight-lipped on the possibility of losing Arteta, who played for the Gunners from 2011 until 2016.

"He is with the squad for Newcastle. It is not a question for me," said Guardiola.

Arsenal announced former player and assistant manager Freddie Ljungberg would act as interim coach.

In a club statement, Arsenal thanked Emery for his efforts but said "the decision has been taken due to results and performances not being at the level required."

Emery arrived at Arsenal having led Sevilla to three consecutive Europa League titles before moving to Paris Saint-Germain.

Arsenal spent STG130 million ($NZ261 million) in the summer on four new signings, the most expensive of which was the STG72 million ($145 million) paid to Lille for Nicolas Pepe.

But after two wins in their opening two matches, Arsenal's season stalled and they picked up just four wins in their 13 league games, conceding 19 goals in the process.

Emery said it had been an honour to manage the club.

"To all the fans, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for helping me to understand and feel the greatness of Arsenal," he said.

"I would have liked nothing more than to have achieved better results for you."

Emery is the third manager to lose his job in the Premier League so far this season, following Watford's sacking of Javi Gracia and Mauricio Pochettino's departure from Spurs.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho, who replaced Pochettino last week, was among those to wish Emery well.

"It is always sad news," he told reporters. "I felt it as a kid when my dad was sacked as a manager, I have felt myself when I have been sacked previously."

Jurgen Klopp from Premier League leaders Liverpool agreed.

"I was surpised by the news but that's how the football world is," the German said.

"I wish Unai the best. He is an outstanding manager and he showed that in different countries and different leagues."