Arsenal deny meeting between club’s head of football and Jose Mourinho
Arsenal have denied any meetings have taken place between head of football Raul Sanllehi and Jose Mourinho as pressure continues to mount on head coach Unai Emery.
A section of supporters have turned on the Spaniard following a run of two wins from their last nine Premier League games.
Emery came in for criticism after his side allowed a lead to slip for the third time in a week as they drew 1-1 with Wolves on Saturday.
Raul Jimenez’s header earned Wolves a point at the Emirates Stadium after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 50th Arsenal goal had put Emery’s side in charge.
Emery’s decision to substitute defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira with winger Bukayo Saka just three minutes before Jimenez scored completely altered the mood inside the stadium.
With continued scrutiny of Emery’s results and tactics, speculation over who could replace him if Arsenal wield the axe has led to former Chelsea and Manchester United boss Mourinho being linked to the post.
The Portuguese was in attendance for Arsenal’s 3-2 Europa League win over Vitoria last week and reports claim he is keen for another managerial job in England.
There was fresh speculation on Sunday morning that Sanllehi had met Mourinho for dinner, fuelling the fire over a potential move for the 56-year-old.
However, sources at Arsenal told the PA news agency that such a meeting did not take place and the pair have not had a conversation for years.
Emery opted to leave Granit Xhaka out of squad on Saturday after he swore at supporters who jeered him when he was substituted during the draw with Crystal Palace last week.
While it remains to be seen if Xhaka will retain the armband, vice-captain Aubameyang filled the role well against Wolves – getting on the scoresheet as he led the side out for the first time – and Emery suggested he could be a long-term option.
“He could be,” he replied when asked if Aubameyang could remain captain beyond the one game.
“I think he can take that responsibility and today he did that. He is one captain and I think he can take that responsibility. We will analyse the match first, and our situation for the next matches and decide.”
Wolves may have battled back to earn a deserved draw at the weekend – but it was not enough for midfielder Ruben Neves, who felt the visitors should have left north London with all three points.
“We go out of with a feeling that we should win the game, to be honest,” he told the club’s official website.
“To create a lot of chances against a team like Arsenal is really difficult, and we did it, but to make the next step we have to score.
“We should have won that game, I think we deserved it, but you have to keep on working to do this step forward and start winning these kinds of games.
“When we play well and when we have these kinds of chances, we must win it, and if one team deserved the win today it was our team.”