Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta will be named the next Arsenal manager over the next few days, sources have told ESPN, despite the Etihad club's disappointment over the way the Gunners have pursued their former club captain.
Chief negotiator Huss Fahmy and CEO Vinai Venkatesham traveled to Manchester following Arsenal's defeat to City on Sunday afternoon and spent more than two hours at Arteta's home in Cheshire, discussing the job.
Things can go fast now. Arteta will meet Josh Kroenke, the son of Stan Kroenke's owner, on Monday. The American joined the game on Sunday and will interview the Spaniard along with Raul Sanllehi, the head of the club's football, and Venkatesham and Fahmy.
City has not yet received a formal approach for Arteta and was confused by the images that appear to show Sunday's meeting at Arteta's. And sources have told ESPN that City bosses were surprised they were not contacted for talks – neither formal nor informal – on Sunday despite spending the day in the Emirates, though they won't stand in the way of the Spaniard if he decides to take the job at the Emirates.
Should Arteta be offered the job and decide to succeed Freddie Ljungberg, then Arsenal would have to pay a substantial compensation fee, seven numbers assumed.
Arteta, 37, spent five years at the Emirates under Arsene Wenger (2011 to 2016) before spending the last three and a half years as Pep Guardiola's assistant at Etihad. He has a contract with City until 2021, but is keen to join Arsenal again.
Arteta was almost handed the job 18 months ago, but Unai Emery was preferred by then-CEO Ivan Gazidis.
Freddie Ljungberg has been the interim manager since the departure of Emery last month, but the Swede, who asked the club to resolve his manager situation quickly, has struggled to make an impact. The former Gunner could still be in Arteta's staff if the Spaniard really replaces him.
Arteta certainly lacks leadership experience as he has never been responsible for the club's first team, but he is highly thought of by the Arsenal hierarchy and by the people who have worked with him in Manchester City.
The Gunners are in crisis at the moment with just one win in their last 12 games in all competitions. Still, they are still only seven points from fourth place in the table. and sources say Arteta thinks he can turn things around when he's in charge.