Patrick Vieira not top choice at Arsenal, still a candidate - sources

Patrick Vieira is not at the top of the Arsenal wish list for their managerial role but remains in contention, sources have told ESPN.

Former Gunners captain Vieira, who manages at French club Nice, is one of the candidates and his profile is being considered by the club's hierarchy. Reports, however, stating that he was the favourite to get the job are off the mark at the moment.

Vieira is keen on getting the job but some of his team's recent performances have raised questions. Nice are 14th in the Ligue 1 table with more losses (eight) than wins (six) this season. They were defeated 4-1 at Saint-Etienne in midweek and have not won back-to-back league matches since the first two match days of the season.

Vieira, 43, arrived on the Cote d'Azur in July 2018. He finished seventh in his first season but overall has a losing record since joining the club and averages 1.39 points per game in the French top flight.

Prior to Nice, Vieira managed two seasons at MLS side NYCFC, where he finished with a record of 44 wins, 22 draws and 28 losses.

The Arsenal board has started the process of choosing their next manager. The idea is to get the right man, take their time, and not select the first one available, according to sources.

Mikel Arteta, Mauricio Pochettino, Massimiliano Allegri, Brendan Rodgers, Eddie Howe and Marcelo Gallardo have all been mentioned as candidates to replace Unai Emery, who was sacked last month.

Man City boss Pep Guardiola told reporters ahead of Saturday's home derby against Manchester United that he had not spoken to Arteta about it, but wanted him to stay if indeed he was approached.

"I'm not a guy that puts a gun to the heads of my staff or players and says what they have to do," Guardiola said. "We are human beings and everyone has dreams and desires.

"Hopefully he can stay this season and the next one -- as long as possible in this club. That would be my dream, but Mikel has his own life and I will never say what he has to do."

In the meantime, Arsenal directors want to give time to interim boss Freddie Ljungberg to have a positive impact on the team, even if his first two games in charge, at Norwich (2-2) and against Brighton (1-2) have been disappointing.