Shocking: Arsenal board set to hire “former fitness coach” as next Arsenal boss

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Manchester United assistant manager Rui Faria is on Arsenal’s shortlist of contenders to replace Arsene Wenger this summer.

The Frenchman is set to step down at the end of the season after nearly 22 years in charge in north London and the Gunners are already looking at candidates to succeed Wenger.

Faria, 42, has worked as part of Jose Mourinho’s backroom team since 2001 and was promoted to become the Special One’s no2 in 2003 after initially working as a fitness coach.

However, Faria is believed to be keen on finding his feet as a manager and would be interested in speaking to Arsenal about replacing Wenger.

According to the Sun, Faria is part of a 14-man shortlist from Arsenal of potential candidates to replace Wenger and they will narrow it down in the weeks to come.

Arsenal are interested in former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique but the Spaniard’s wage demands of £15m-a-year threaten to end the club’s interest.

That leaves Arsenal with a clutch of inexperienced choices but owner Stan Kroenke has hired rookies at his US franchises and that’s why Faria is being considered.

Hiring the Portuguese coach would be a massive gamble and his relations with Mourinho are unlikely to go down well with Arsenal fans.

The Gunners take on Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final in Spain on Thursday.

Wenger’s men lost 2-1 to Manchester United on Sunday with a weakened side but the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere and Alexandre Lacazette are all set to return.

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