Wenger’s Touted Successors: My Views

It’s hard…being an Arsenal fan…it really is. There’s a pain you have but you can’t feel, even though you know it’s there because you get super-pissed with results like the one witnessed yesterday. After 27 minutes, the team was down by not one, but TWO GOALS; both involved headers that really should have been dealt with. Beyond that, the play was tough to watch as you could feel the fragility of the team’s confidence; one goal and it smashed like glass.

As usual, the talk was about this being Wenger’s last outing/low/chance/whatever you want to call it… bottom-line, his time to go. Once that happens, the speculation of who takes over from him kicks in and this time, the names floating around have been really interesting. It’s hard to ignore these stories so I’m going to look at SOME of the names dropped (because they are many and I cannot kill myself). Last year, I wrote about the kind of manager that Arsenal need but this time, I will just analyze each of the names as regards who would be a good (and realistic) fit for Arsenal.

 

Joachim Low: German National Team Manager who is the last coach to lift the World Cup. His work with the German National Team is remarkable and with a growing contingent of German players at Arsenal, he looks the part. However, he hasn’t coached at club level for 15 years (of which his career at that level is nothing spectacular). Furthermore, he looks like a quiet guy who prefers little attention. So how odd would it seem that he would want to manage a club with the most toxic atmosphere at the moment?

Brendan Rodgers: This one is actually funny but understandable. I always felt he was good but not premier-league- winning-good. He did well with Liverpool (initially) but then gambled so badly that I don’t think you can rely on him to make smart choices at a big club like Arsenal. At the moment, he’s clearly comfortable at Celtic, a club that will let him implement his vision and philosophy (as long as he delivers trophies…which he has been doing). He will also continue to have a crack at European competitions because winning one will make him the greatest Celtic manager since Jock Stein. That challenge will intrigue him more than starting over from Wenger at Arsenal.

Thomas Tuchel: He is my choice to take the job after Wenger. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons. First, the German contingent will help him settle. He’s a young manager who’s already done well at a big club in B. Dortmund. He will love the young players coming through and he’s familiar with Sven Mislintat (former Head Scout at Dortmund…and now in the same role at Arsenal). I’ve read in some reports that both didn’t get along at Dortmund but that can be straightened out. I feel he’s a person who likes stepping up (moving from Mainz to Dortmund was a move he handled really well). With the support system being built at Arsenal, he’s in the best position to succeed.

Carlos Ancelotti: This guy would be a stop-gap appointment (just to hold the post till a long-term target is secured) which what Arsenal DOES NOT NEED. He shouldn’t even be looking at managing clubs anymore. I’m surprised that Italy has not gone for him. His target should be international competitions. Not an option in my opinion. Might as well just stick with Wenger for the time-being.

Patrick Viera: It’s easy to look at a former player…or better still a former captain of the club…who has considerable coaching experience. Viera is enjoying himself in the MLS with New York City FC, having earned his stripes at the Man City youth set-up. It would be a dream appointment but we all know that the City Group has big plans for him. Those plans are probably in line with his coaching ambitions…ambitions that I don’t think he’s convinced can be matched at Arsenal.

Thierry Henry: If appointing Viera would be a dream, having Henry would be a dream WITHIN that dream. Given the option of coaching the Under-18s or being a Pundit on Sky Sports, he chose the latter before becoming assistant manager of the Belgium National Team (where he gets to do any coaching like once in 3 months…how’s that for experience?). He looks more like a coach, rather than a Manager to me. The manager’s job can ruin a club legend’s reputation very quickly (just ask Alan Shearer) and I would hate to see fans turn on Henry like they are doing with Wenger. He’s an intelligent man who would be great to have on the coaching team…but that’s about it for me.

Mikel Arteta: If Pep hadn’t invited him to join his coaching staff at Man City, I’m certain that Arteta would be coaching at Arsenal. The chance to work and learn from one of the game’s best managers was too good to turn down, plus he gets to work with an insanely talented squad. The vision driving Guardiola and Man City is fascinating for me so imagine what it is for Arteta. Coupled with his coaching inexperience, he would want to learn a bit more from Pep before making it out on his own.

Massimiliano Allegri: Not a bad choice. He’s won everything with Juventus (except the Champions League) and he’s a proven manager who can work with stellar names. My only worry is that he’s not a long-term option. Plus, he could be like the other Italian managers who are just one-hit wonders in the EPL (Di Matteo, Mancini, Ancelotti, Ranieri, and probably Conte). Just another type of manager that Arsenal does not need.

Diego Simeone: Touted as the man to ignite Arsenal; giving the club what it needs, Simeone is a coach renowned for his ability to extract the best out of his players. Taking Atletico Madrid to the top of Spanish football is an immortal achievement (given the state of affairs in La Liga) and he will be linked with many big clubs across the world. But his style is to play aggressive football. It gets results but you’ll have to implement a total OVERHAUL at Arsenal for it to work there. When I say Total, I mean even the guys that make the jerseys, plus the cleaners, and groundsmen…even the security personnel has to be replaced for that to happen. Too many adjustments for an appointment that has every chance of being a waste.

Other honourable mentions include Luis Enrique, Jardim, Julian Nagelsmann and Eddie Howe (who’s a long, long….LONG shot). That’s my view anyway. In the end, while I’m a Wenger fan, it will be interesting to see what another manager does with this club when Wenger leaves. Let’s hope it’s one that fits correctly.
Later.

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