The majority of Arsenal fans wish Arsene Wenger well, and do wish him to retire from the club on a high. Last May presented him that glorious chance with the FA Cup trophy but he chose to sign a further 3-year engagement with the club. Not that this season has been a disaster in terms of how we’ve started but had we failed to win Sunderland on saturday, this would have ranked as our second worst start to a campaign under the Wenger era. With about 30 months still to go, you wonder if the manager still has it in him to go on.
So Spanish paper AS are reporting that he’ll quit at the end of the season, especially if we do end up trophyless, and that the man top on the list to replace Wenger when he walks away after May will be Carlo Ancelotti’s Number 2 at Real Madrid, Paul Clement.
The 42-year old Englishman may not be the biggest name as far as top club management is concerned but he’s gained massive experience in the football world, having previously worked at Chelsea from the Guus Hiddink days in 2009, retained by Ancelotti in his double-winning season in 2010, as well as following the Italian to Paris Saint-Germain where both led Les Parisiens to the Ligue 1 title. He was instrumental to Madrid’s clinching of La Decima last season as he was responsible for implementing the tactics and ideologies of Ancelotti to the players.
With all that counting in his favour as a pretty good assistant coach at best, he is still untested as a team manager of any side, except the Irish U-21s in 2000. Would he be able to manage the Arsenal in the way Wenger has done over the years? Would he command the same authority with the board as Le Prof has? Are his football philosophies not at a clash with those currently in use at the Emirates, having worked at clubs who’ve gained success principally by paying huge sums for players? Having learnt his trade at Stamford Bridge, would he be so commited to the Arsenal cause as to be consumed by it for the long-term?
These are the questions to be considered by the board before inviting him over for negotiations. His years from England, to Spain through France has seen him work with some of the biggest names in world football – Lampard, Zlatan, Ronaldo and even Ozil, albeit for a short time. He surely has got some knowlegde about handling egos and big-wage superstars which his age may tend to pose as an obstacle. His big frame also gives him a psychological edge over players who tend to want to have a go at the manager.
But these have never been the issues at Arsenal. At present, it’s more about eveloving our game to the rhythm of the modern tunes than about personnel. Wenger has somehow struggled to adapt his old wine in new skins, and if Clement satifies the questions above, why not?
All this would depend on Wenger deciding to leave this season. Whether it’ll be after wiining a title, the Monaco job or the French team, we do not know. Clement, though, could begin his warm ups.
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