Not “If”, but “When”
Nobody can say for sure when Wenger will leave Arsenal -except Arséne himself, of course – but the beleaguered manager has to go eventually. Surely?
Most, it would seem, would prefer sooner rather than later. A bigger question might be: who is going to replace him?
Events this summer indicate that his replacement will no longer rule over everything at Arsenal. Transfer activities and contract renewals were conducted by Gazidis, Mislintat and Sanllehi – effectively forcing Wenger to focus on coaching duties.
Whether an actual Director Of Football is added at some point, (or if Wenger himself may occupy that position when his managerial contract runs down) remains to be seen. That Wenger should stay at the club he loves so much and has served so well is something that pro- and anti-Wenger factions would be down with: whether staunch AKB or WOB.
All these factors may affect the appointment of a new manager. The new guy may prefer not to have his style cramped by the New Order. And all will be wary of a Moyes/United-like backlash: Wenger’s shoes, though out of style, will still take some filling.
A few of the top candidates of the past few years have already bedded themselves (fairly comfortably) in the Premier League: Pep Guardiola, Juergen Klopp, Antonio Conte, Maurizio Pochettino and (pre-meltdown) Jose Mourinho. We won’t take them into consideration – as the chances of them jumping ship to Arsenal from any of the other Top 6 clubs seems unlikely.
Recent media attention has been focused on Germany’s Joachim Low. Numerous sources have posited the theory that Loew will be stepping down as German national coach after the 2018 World Cup and taking the reigns at Arsenal.
Wenger leaving Arsenal is one of the most talked-about events in football, and it is no surprise that many football betting sites are having a field day trying to predict who will be the Club’s next manager. As the saying goes:
There’s a girl for every guy.
Likewise, different managers appeal to different pundits, for varying reasons. The Gunners Town writing team is no exception. Each has a favorite candidate (or two).
Here’s a look at some potential Cinderellas:
Joachim Löw (Germany National Team)
@goonerdave66: It’s Joachim Löw for me.
The Club, namely Ivan, are gradually outing the structure in place, to enable Arsenal to move away from the old style English Manager/coach set up to a more continental one. With Directors in place for Football, Scouting and Contracts. The future manager will be primarily responsible for coaching, tactics and team selection.
It is in this set up that the observation that Loew has not experienced the day to day running of a football club, becomes less relevant. I want a man who is tactically astute, flexible and has demonstrated that at the highest level which he has. He also has superb management and bring the added advantage of huge respect from and knowledge of some of our senior players and potentially the new head of our youth set up.
Patrick Vieira (New York City FC)
@ArsenalNWales: I would like to see an ‘Arsenal man’ as our next manager so would go for Patrick Vieira or Mikel Arteta.
Both are doing their apprenticeships as coaches so I would also bring in someone like Carlo Ancelloti on a short term basis-possibly a couple of years- to help them.
Mikel Arteta (Manchester City/ Assistant Coach)
@mike_mmcdonald: Although Arteta is a risk due to his lack of experience, I feel that there are many upsides:
- Fresh, modern ideas directly influenced by Pep.
- Great success of young modern coaches seen in almost half of the Bundesliga coaches.
- Love for AFC and understanding of the club and many of the players. Certainly not unaware of what ‘needs to be improved’
- Energy and dynamism
Arteta stated back in 2015 that his main coaching philosophy would be “100% commitment“. Arsenal under Wenger for the last 9 years have certainly been an “I’ve no idea which team will show up’ kinda team!” I feel Arteta will not stand for inconsistent commitment. That alone would turn us into competitors for the league. All pundits and fans often say that “Arsenal can beat anyone on their day”… Those days are too far apart.
Julian Nagelsmann (TSG 1899 Hoffenheim)
@wellmington: I’m going left field: Julian Nagelsmann, the current (30 year old) TSG 1899 Hoffenheim head coach.
In his 2 1/2 years at Hoffenheim, he has saved them from certain relegation and then took them to 4th place in his first full season. All this has been done on a shoestring budget with young players and with an ethos of high pressing, fast football, with a solid defense.
In his own words, “I like to attack the opponents near their own goal because your own way to the goal is not as long if you get the ball higher up.”
Nagelsmann would come in and not have to worry about the running of the club, contracts etc and could concentrate on what he does best, tactically manage the team.
Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid)
@JPMc99: The argument against the Argentine seems to be he’s not really our type, and yet to me that’s exactly what I think we need. After years of going a bit stale, I think a complete change of style like his would shock us back into life. There’s just no way would we be as poor defensively, while I’m confident he’d make us (and bring people in) who are mentally stronger too – something that has hindered us for too long under the current regime.
Maurizio Sarri (Napoli)
@JPMc99: If Napoli win the title I think we’d probably have to cross Sarri off the list. While he’s perhaps not of the age profile we should be looking at, the brand of football he would bring would at least make us exciting to watch in an attacking sense again. At the time of writing, Napoli have only conceded 13 league goals (we’ve let in well over double that in just three more matches) too as they sit atop Serie A, so he knows how to construct a defence too.
@Dfresh10: Like with Pep at City, his brand of attacking football and playing out of the back, I feel is the way of the future.
Leonardo Jardim (AS Monaco)
@alexburns1088: Leonardo Jardim for me.
Carlo Ancelotti (FC Bayern Munich)
@Marblehalls_tv: Ancelotti knows the league, respects Wenger and is more tactically astute.
Accusations of niceness are moot. Nice is fine provided Carlo can size up opposition and formulate plans. Mourinho is not a bastard to his players, neither is Pep.
If it hasn’t arrived already, midnight is fast approaching, when Arsenal’s current manager turns into a cabbage – and all his achievements are reduced to rubble.
Hopefully Arsene loses a shoe soon when leaving the ball, and one of these worthy candidates steps up to become the Club’s next Cinderella. (I was never that good at fairytales…)
Let us know who you’d like to see fill Wenger’s shoes in the comments below.
Passionate 50+ ST holder who has been making the journey to N5 regularly since the early 1980s – although his first game was in 1976. Always passionate when talking about The Arsenal, Dave decided to send a guest blog to Gunnersphere in the summer of 2011 and has not stopped writing about the Gunners since. He set up up his own site 1 Nil Down 2 One Up which he has now sold and since the summer of 2013 with a friend he launched a new project to offer new and aspiring Arsenal writers a home. Gunners Town is that platform and Dave writes here too. He is also the author of 2 Arsenal related books.