Wenger to replace Allardyce as England manager

Arsenal are set to face a renewed battle to keep Arsene Wenger, with the FA expected to launch a fresh approach to appoint the Frenchman as the next England manager.

Sam Allardyce left the post yesterday after just 67 days in charge, with the FA deeming his position untenable in the wake of newspaper allegations suggesting he was prepared to accept
a £400,000 payment to represent a Far East firm and offer advice in circumventing rules on player transfers.

Gareth Southgate has been put in temporary charge for the next four matches — a 2018 World Cup qualification double-header against Malta and Slovenia next month before facing Scotland and a friendly at home with Spain in November — while the FA begin their search for Allardyce’s permanent successor.

The FA were keen on Wenger following Roy Hodgson’s departure in June, but the Frenchman insisted he would not break the final year of his contract with the Gunners.

The 66-year-old is yet to agree an extension and is keen to delay a decision on his future until next year. The club’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, and chief executive Ivan Gazidis were relaxed about the timing of Wenger’s decision but their hand may now be forced if the FA make a formal offer in the coming weeks.

Southgate’s appointment as caretaker buys the FA time and, given the four-month hiatus following the Spain fixture until England face Lithuania on March 26, they could be prepared to wait until next summer when Wenger’s contract expires if he indicates a willingness to take the job.

Wenger has always made a point of honouring his contracts and has publicly stated that the job should go to an Englishman, but the FA will be optimistic of tempting him into a change of heart, given tht he has worked in London for 20 years with Arsenal.

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