The Frenchman reaches 18 years in charge at Arsenal – a real milestone in today’s modern era.
How can we replace him?
6 MEN WHO COULD REPLACE WENGER
Much like Alex Ferguson, a reasonable population of gooners and pundits thought the morning of May the 18th would have been about Wenger’s announcement of his voluntary retirement from Arsenal duty. Though there was a deal on the table, the FA Cup final was, in most opinions, the determinant for it to be signed or declined. Even with the victory, many still believed he should have gone with the high ovation, as against staying on for the next three years.
As it’s happened, Arsene’s still Arsenal boss, and will be so for some good time.
But say we take Ivan Gazidis’ curious and interesting comment made towards the AGM, that we have started the lookout for Wenger’s successor, who would we really wish to step into those 18 year old shoes whose soles have maybe become somewhat worn and torn?
The Dark-Horses: Stojkovic vs Bould
An attacking midfielder in his juvenile days, Stojkovic is one of Wenger’s protégés having played under him at Nagoya Grampus in his late pre-Arsenal days. Having spent six seasons with the Japanese outfit within which they became Champions for the first time in their history (ALERT! He did something Wenger couldn’t do!), the Serbian has boldly put himself up for the role in the future, sighting the dependence of his managerial systems on that which Wenger has become famous for. At 49, he surely figures in the list of those who could land the job with the view of a long-term engagement. In his favour too is the apparent belief that he is Wenger’s man to succeed him, despite the frenchman’s protestations that he wouldn’t be involved in the appointment of his successor.
But if we were to consider one of Wenger’s old boys, wouldn’t it be better to sift from those whom he has managed to glory in the early days of his present 18 year reign at Arsenal? Bould has been a core Arsenal man since the days George Graham’s “boring boring Arsenal” and so has witnessed the two most recent eras of this football club. As Number 2 to Wenger, he may not be allowed all the freedom a coach should have, having to deal majorly with defensive drills, but his in-house knowledge could count in his favour above many outsiders under consideration. There’s a more recent ex-Arsenal man serving as a Number 2 somewhere in the Netherlands who would be most persons’ pick if there was a contest, but, you know, he doesn’t do flights.
The Middle-Class: De Boer vs Martinez
And speaking of the Netherlands, Frank De Boer has ensured that his Ajax team hold on to the firm grasp they’ve had on the Eredivisie for four consecutive seasons, wrapping League title after title without any hope for the chasing pack ever catching up. The Dutch master was prolific in his playing days and looks set to be one of the elite Managers of tomorrow’s Europe. Having shunned the invitation to takeover at White Heart Lane this season, it would just be awesome stinging to the spurs that De Boer ends up at the Emirates, wouldn’t it? Of course, Denis Bergkamp wouldn’t let him move to an old enemy’s ground and though he may still bear misgivings about take-offs and landings, products like Bergkamp could be the reason to convince De Boer to take over the reins at Arsenal. Given his style at Ajax, he sure does have the qualities, but does he have the top level experience?
If De Boer won’t be considered due to experience, there would probably be no reason to even consider Roberto Martinez, given that his current Everton team are the first side he’ll manage in a competitive game outside England. He learnt his trade with Swansea, gained glory with Wigan and now earns more at Goodison. He’s many persons’ idea of the modern manager, but could be a Moyes in disguise upon elevation to a top side like Arsenal.
The Heavyweights: Hard Rock vs Rhytm & Blues
You may be safe to place your pences on any of the aforementioned four to be Wenger’s successor as any of them would easily jump at the opportunity to manage the great Arsenal Football Club. But for Jurgen Klopp or Pep Guardiola, we would have some convincing to do to land either. Easily the most coveted duo in the managerial sphere, Klopp and Guardiola have developed footballing systems which, though diverging in concept, but are equally absolutely brilliant to behold, bringing the necessary results. Both their teams win with style and are currently the biggest promoters of the ‘beautiful’ aspect of the beautiful game. Both are keen admirers of Wenger, and the feeling on Le Prof’s side is very mutual.
Guardiola may be a Champions League trophy away from seeking a fresh challenge away from Munich and I wonder if his wages would be a real hindrance to making a move for him. Another impediment too could be in his desire to tour the world until La Roja call him in for the National Team job.
Klopp is certainly every gooner’s dream Wenger replacement. Every pre-Dortmund/Arsenal presser seems to make it more realizable, with Klopp’s talking up Wenger and his desire to coach in England soon the words of hope most cling to while anticipating his arrival. He probably won’t come so close to winning the Champions League again with Dortmund as he did a year ago, neither will Guardiola let him reclaim a hand on the BundesLiga shield.
It seems more a matter of when than if, most of us probably wishing both Klopp and Wenger agree terms when they visit on Matchday 5.
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