Five Managers Who Could Replace Arsene Wenger
By David Anderson
An updated look at the latest runners and riders should Arsenal move on this summer
The ‘will he, won’t he’ saga of whether Arsene Wenger will remain as Arsenal manager seems no closer to a resolution.
And this is despite the man himself repeating in every single press conference lately that we will have a decision ‘soon’. The Frenchman has been making the same claim since that shocking 3-1 reverse at West Bromwich Albion on March 18. Still we have no resolution.
After 21 years in charge of Arsenal, will Arsene Wenger finally step down at the end of the season? While their recent league form has been poor they are still playing Man City in the semi-final of the FA Cup, where odds on Betsafe have them as slight underdogs. Many fans want the manager to leave, with banners of the ‘all good things must come to an end’ variety prevalent inside stadiums and at organised fan protests. This was backed up by a recent survey carried out by the influential Arsenal Supporters’ Trust where a whopping 78% felt he was no longer the man for the job. If he were to leave the post he has occupied since 1996, the list of realistic candidates with the capabilities to replace him is not an extensive one. Let’s look at five who may fit the bill.
Massimiliano Allegri (Juventus)
The former Milan coach took over at Juventus from Antonio Conte in 2014 and picked up where he left off with two Serie A titles to date and another on the horizon. There was strong speculation earlier in the season that the Italian could be heading to the Emirates Stadium but he has recently suggested he is happy at the club amid reports he is set to sign a new contract. Tactically astute, stubborn - witness his recent falling out with Leonardo Bonucci - and with a track record of success, Allegri has a strong pedigree. He is also used to a sporting director making most of the transfer decisions, which is a model Arsenal may be about to implement after years of Wenger making the calls. Only an outside bet given how well he is doing at Juve.
Thomas Tuchel (Borussia Dortmund)
Ideologically, this could be a great fit. Tuchel took over from Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund and has had a regenerative effect at Signal Iduna Park. His team can be devastating on the counterattack, or force the play and he has made them exciting to watch again. Klopp’s Dortmund had become stale and predictable in a similar way to Wenger’s Arsenal. He rejuvenated the likes of Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan who had been struggling for different reasons before his arrival. There are a few in the Arsenal dressing room who have the talent but are not applying it – Tuchel could be just what they need.
Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid)
Arsenal is a club that needs a good shake. Too many complacent players have been allowed to strut around for too long in the knowledge there will be no rollicking from the manager (Wenger rarely loses his temper according to former players). Simeone would change the mentality in the dressing room quickly, just as Conte has at Chelsea. The Atletico Madrid coach has performed miracles at the Vicente Calderon since taking over in 2011, winning La Liga and competing regularly with Barcelona and Real Madrid despite a far smaller budget and less talented squad. This is because he ekes out every ounce of effort from his players. The likelihood of this firebrand actually taking over at the Emirates and working with one of the least pro-active boards among the European super clubs would appear slim. It would require a major change in philosophy at the club.
Ronald Koeman (Everton)
The Dutchman recently criticised Romelu Lukaku for flirting with an Everton exit but Koeman himself is not averse to seeking pastures new in the interests of advancing his career – just ask Southampton. Koeman’s dream job is believed to be former club Barcelona where there will be a vacancy this summer. But the Dutchman would also see Arsenal as a step up from Everton, just as he saw Everton as a level above Southampton last summer. He has managed in four different countries, his brand of football can be pleasing on the eye and he knows the Premier League well now. He can also be tough on his players, as Ross Barkley will confirm.
Luis Enrique (Barcelona)
The 46-year-old will leave the pressure-cooker that is the Barcelona job this summer after three tiring years. There is a fair chance that the Spaniard will follow Pep Guardiola’s lead and take a year’s sabbatical before returning to the game. Enrique, who competes in gruelling ironman races, has had a successful spell at the Nou Camp, winning the treble in his first season and following that up with another league title last season. This is the sort of pedigree appointment Arsenal need to be making but it should be remembered that Enrique endured a disastrous spell in charge of Roma when he guided the club to seventh in Serie A and failed to qualify them for Europe during his only other stint abroad. Guardiola has seen for himself that the Premier League is a world away from the Nou Camp and Arsenal would be foolish to expect him to come in and wave a magic wand.
21st April 2017 15:42:58
Comments and Reaction
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Yes its Ron 17:14pm 21st Apr 2017
Given a choice, Simeone for me for all the reasons that you say. Wengers blueprint needs tearing down. Least favourite, Enrique. Hes too principled in his tactics as hes tried to copy Guardiola there. Ive had enough of hair brained principles and philosophies. Its just football after all. We need a Coach whos prepared to get down, get dirty and rough it when needed plus who knows a player when he sees one. Trouble is, none of them will be asked. Theyre all too football orientated and football wont be allowed to get in the way of whats best to maxmise bean counting. Theres only one principle at Arsenal and it sure aint doing whats best for the on pitch activities which are really just an aside for this bewigged yank. These Americans oughtn't get near football. They're all a disaster wherever they turn up. - Post No. 106533
mbg 23:29pm 21st Apr 2017
Well done David it blows the arse (yet again) out of the AKB wengerites, and the, but who do you replace him with brigades pet whine. Bring back George Graham for the remaining games and we'd win the Cup and qualify for the CL, we know how the AKB's love him and getting fourth should keep them happy. We want wenger out. - Post No. 106537
markymark 9:00am 22nd Apr 2017
Leekie Pie have you got your 'Mr Wengie 10 more years please, lick, slurp' Banner ready for tomorrow? Have you organised your 40,000 silent choir to sing in unison there's only one 'Mr Arsene Wenger!' Personally I'd dump the losing greedy festering ****head and bring in Allegri but hey what do I and the 78% of respondents know? - Post No. 106538
mbg 10:31am 22nd Apr 2017
Just look at the looks TOF is giving Koeman as he barks out orders, (defensive ones no doubt)wondering what he's doing and why he's doing it and what that's all about. wenger out. - Post No. 106540
27th April 2017
Online Ed: Arsenal leave it late v Leicester in front of subdued crowd