The decision to sack the former Gunners boss was made before Thursday night’s defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.
Unai Emery’s Arsenal fate had been sealed well before Thursday night’s Europa League clash with Eintracht Frankfurt had even kicked off.
The decision to sack the 48-year-old had in fact been taken days earlier on the other side of the Atlantic after talks between the Arsenal hierarchy and owner Stan Kroenke.
Following Saturday’s 2-2 draw against Southampton, which saw Arsenal booed from the field by their own supporters, head of football Raul Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham flew to America to meet with Kroenke and his son Josh.
The visit was pre-arranged, but Emery’s future dominated the discussion with Sanllehi and Venkatesham recommending that the Spaniard be dismissed.
The Kroenkes, who up to then had continued to back Emery, agreed and the decision was taken that he was to be sacked.
But Sanllehi and Venkatesham did not inform Emery of that decision when they returned to London and he was instead allowed to take charge of Thursday’s game against Frankfurt at Emirates Stadium.
He was eventually told the news at London Colney on Friday morning, less than 12 hours after Arsenal had been beaten 2-1 by the Bundesliga side, extending their winless run to seven games in all competitions.
Emery arrived at the club’s training centre as normal to take training ahead of Sunday’s Premier League game at Norwich City, but he was met by Sanllehi and told the news during a meeting which included Venkatesham and technical director Edu.
Emery then left to tell his coaching team, while Sanllehi, Venkatesham and Edu gathered the entire first-team squad and backroom staff together in the changing room to inform them that a change had been made.
The players were told that Freddie Ljungberg would be taking the job on a temporary basis, with Ljungberg then stepping forward to deliver a brief speech which included a call for unity before leading the group out to begin his first training session in charge.
Some players did meet with Emery before the session, however, to say their goodbyes. The Spaniard is said to have taken the decision gracefully and respectfully.
Arsenal, meanwhile, will now start the process of bringing in a replacement – although sources insist they have every confidence in Ljungberg and that he has the full respect of the squad.
Several high-profile managers have already expressed an interest in taking over from Emery and a shortlist will be put together in a diligent fashion before an appointment is eventually made.
Arsenal is aware, however, that some top candidates may be difficult to speak to during the season – with Ljungberg potentially staying on in a temporary role until the summer not being ruled out.
Flights, meetings and secret talks on Decision to sack Emery