Arsenal FC has begun the hunt for its first general counsel, following the growing number of clubs seeking to bolster their in-house legal capability.

Last month, Manchester City hired corporate associate Simon Cliff from Shearman & Sterling as the team’s head of legal (see In-house Interview).

Arsenal, which has never previously employed in-house counsel, is believed to be looking for a sports lawyer to fill the role.

Arsenal’s external law firm, Slaughter and May, is expected to continue handling corporate matters for listed parent companyArsenal Holdings.

Arsenal has been the subject of takeover speculation, following a move by US investor Stan Kroenke to raise his stake in the club to 28.3 per cent.

He is now the largest shareholder at the club, with Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov owning a 25 per cent stake.

Slaughters partner Nigel Boardman currently leads the relationship with Arsenal. However, corporate partner Andrew Jolly acted for the club on the signing of Russian player Andrei Arshavin from Zenit St Petersburg for £15m in ­February.

Premier League clubs Manchester United, Sunderland and West Ham all employ general counsel.