Arsenal fear their top stars will be forced to consider their futures if Unai Emery remains in charge next season.
According to Sportsmail, head of football Raul Sanllehi and technical director Edu held crisis talks with beleaguered boss Emery in the tunnel area of the Emirates Stadium following Saturday’s disappointing 2-2 draw against Southampton amid major doubts from inside club about the Spaniard’s position.
And the growing concerns that have engulfed Emery’s reign, which has led club officials to start identifying replacements, is partly borne out of fears over their key players’ long-term futures.
Members of the squad have serious concerns over the Spaniard’s methods and fear his philosophy will cost them a chance of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
Arsenal hierarchy believe those reservations will lead players to consider leaving the Emirates.
Key strike pairing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are both in talks over new deals – but neither, thus far, have shown an eagerness to sign following the way Arsenal are performing under Emery at the moment.
And there are real concerns that a further slide down the table will only serve to force other players to question their futures at the Emirates.
It is understood the north Londoners would be forced to pay at least £4million in compensation to sack Emery.
The Spaniard is now facing a major fight to make it to next year as Arsenal boss unless he can inspire a dramatic turnaround in results.
Former Arsenal midfielder and current Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta could be one of the candidates to replace Emery.