Our world has been turned upside down of late. We have been witness to our club toeing the line between the emotional release surrounding Arsene’s resignation and renewed optimism about to be instilled by a new manager. As the feel good sentiment and powerful feelings surrounding Arsene begin to subside, we wait for the last major chip to drop…the announcement of a new manager.
We are about to replace the man that is 16% of our history and has won 40% of our trophies. Until then, we are in stasis. Rumors surrounding transfer activity and player turnover are at a standstill. So much of Arsenal’s new identity regarding team playing style and personnel recruitment depend on our new manager’s philosophical ideals. Conversations with fellow Gooners at the pub in regards to next season are met with the same caveat, “depending on the next manager”.
Below are my top 5 managerial candidates and quotes from each that help summarize his values that could progress Arsenal Football Club.
1. Leandro Jardim
“It’s easy to say ‘that’s my style’ when the season is successful. All coaches want to play nice football but sometimes it is not possible, we must be content to seek victory at all costs to give the players confidence and progress.”
What he could bring: Systems tailored around his current players. Only one full season stands in between one of the sharpest sets of contrasting league campaigns under the same manager. Jardim cultivated one of the best defenses in Europe in his 14/15 Monaco side and in 16/17 played breathtaking attacking football which led Monaco to the Ligue 1 title.
It’s a common belief that this Arsenal squad is one of the most talented in the Premier League. Jardim and his history of adapting systems around his players, is my choice to get the best of this current Arsenal crop.
2. Massimiliano Allegri
“I always say that there are manufactured coaches and natural coaches. I am one of the natural ones. I do not have to sit there and watch videos for hours, I look at what I have to watch and, in a quarter of an hour, I understand what I can understand.”
What he could bring: An off-the-ball identity. Much like Wenger, Allegri is not overly analytical. He sets his team out to protect their goal first and express flair in the final 3rd. They are as comfortable off the ball as they are on the ball which means they can adapt to a variety of different game scenarios. Allegri would be a great choice to get us to prioritize working backwards defensively in a similar way that we value offense.
3. Julian Nagelsmann
“Thirty percent of coaching is tactics, 70% social competence. Every player is motivated by different things and needs to be addressed accordingly. At this level, the quality of the players at your disposal will ensure that you play well within a good tactical set-up – if the psychological condition is right.”
What he could bring: Tactical flexibility combined with attacking football. Nagelsmann is the ultimate player’s manager and the most adaptable of all the coaches on this list. Formations means very little to Nagelsmann and it’s more about the roles he’s asking players to perform on a given day. Nagelsmann could combine the man-management prowess of Wenger with a tactical nous we’ve been missing.
4. Mikel Arteta
“I’m not the right guy to talk about that because my opinion of Mikel is overwhelming.”
“He deserves the best, hopefully. We are so comfortable, not just me, working with him. One of the reasons we had success this season is because Mikel is here.”
What he could bring: Guardiolaisms. The biggest wildcard on the list could also have the highest ceiling of the candidates. We know very little of him as a manager because he’s never had a team of his own. To be held in such high regard by the most revolutionary coach of a generation means he must a special footballing mind.
It’s a common belief that Arsenal have a team of #10’s and Arteta is currently serving as an assistant on a team that is thriving on getting the most from the same type of players. Maybe he could bring some coordinated, high-pressing as well?
5. Domenico Tedesco
“I always want my teams to divide the space well. I like to compare it to a boxer, who should never let his guard down.”
What he could bring: Intensity and pressing. Tedesco believes in the coordinated closing of space and rapid transitions above all else. He tailors the shape of his team based on the parts of the pitch he wants to control. Players are interchangeable as he constantly rotates them based on gameplan. Furthermore, Arsenal have switched off on occasion during dead ball situations in past years. This is not allowed under Tedesco.
Sarri and Low are names whose styles I’d really fancy at Arsenal. Enrique and Ancellioti, while less desirable in my eyes, could make us immediately relevant again. I simply do not know enough about Vieira and Buvak and have found little on their methods. These manager serve as clear outsiders in the managerial discussion but shouldn’t be dismissed quite yet.
The term “emotional roller-coaster” doesn’t do it justice. These past few weeks have hit me with a wide range of emotions in a very short period of time. Wenger’s resignation instilling a strange mix of optimism, fear, and sorrow; the two legs against Atletico where an early red card and Lacazette header ultimately led to despair; Wenger’s last home game where the quality of football produced ecstasy and his speech leaving me forever grateful.
Just when I think that my emotions are saturated, I remember, Arsenal still need to appoint a new manager. Strap in ladies and gents, this is going to be an interesting summer. Renewed optimism awaits.
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