Since the year dot there were Wenger out signs and a certain Frenchman speaking cagily about his future, there were also all number of people linked with his job. Football is a funny thing, in very few other professions do people get linked with your job with such certainty, lack of respect and candor. So with that said here are some outside bets, dark horses who might be worthy successors to Wenger’s throne.
As a fan of the national team I’ve long followed the career of this steely willed Croatian former captain. On the pitch he was a warrior, non-stop, box to box midfield general similar in type to Roy Keane but with a bit more class and integrity.
As a coach Niko Kovač gained a lot of respect for his time at the helm for Croatia during the 2014 World cup where they played with much heart and spirit yet missing out on a top 2 spot in group to Mexico. Importantly now though notably Kovač is gaining attention for his work at Eintracht Frankfurt where they are performing far above expectations at 5th place in the Bundesliga. Frankfurt were expecting to be fighting relegation this season due to lack of spending and previous placings in the league, instead they are competing with the big spenders at the top of the league.
Niko is tailor made for the premiership, with the big hearted old fashioned ways he conducts himself, be that speeches to his team that include lines like “we need to eat dirt” or making players train extra hard “so they play better”. He’s made a name for himself thanks to the counter attacking 3 5 2 formation Frankfurt adopted this year and tactical battles he’s won against teams like RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart. With Bayern Munich now sniffing around Kovač for their top job, Arsenal may need to act quick if they want almost the anti Wenger to take the Arsenal reigns.
This former classmate of Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann, is currently one of the hottest properties in German football, thanks to his Schalke team surprisingly leading the chasing pack in the Bundesliga at second place.
Tedesco first dipped his toe in the management water by saving Erzgebirge Aue from relegation in Bundesliga 2, winning 6 out of 11 and losing only 3 times. This season however has been remarkable with Schalke winning 17 out of 30 games and losing only 6. Dubbed mini Guardiola as well as a “laptop manager” Tedesco is finally helping a young talented team reach its potential, moulding defensive midfielders out of attacking players and centre backs out of midfield destroyers.
No detail is too insignificant for this Italian, no tactical piece is used without lots of careful thought and planning, which his masters in innovation management might come in handy, his bachelor’s degree in business engineering may also help him create an Arsenal team in his image if he joined the gunners.
This former right back seems to be linked with many clubs in the Premier League after he came so close to saving Hull from an inevitable relegation, seeing the mess Hull have been this season in the championship, tells you all you need to know about the task Silva faced last year.
Although never really pulling up trees as a player, Marco Silva has made up for it by managing some well respected clubs in Portugal and Europe, notably Olympiacos where his team set a 21st century record of 17 straight league wins.
Marco Silva has a swagger of a man that’s going places, his attention to detail and perfectionist ways have a Marmite effect on some owners but with the right set up, early on this season at Watford, Silva showed he can produce a highly competitive athletic team.