It may still be unlikely, but the claim Arsene Wenger may not be Arsenal manager much longer seems to gaining momentum and credibility day by day. If he does leave the next man to take over will have a hell of a job on his hands.
After more than 15 years Arsenal’s identity is inextricably linked to Wenger, add that to fans demanding some kind of silverware, and Arsenal mediocre budget (when competing against the likes of City, Chelsea, etc) and you have a tough job.
So who might take it?
Well these are the odds from Skybet.com are:
Pep Guardiola 3/1 Remi Garde 10/1 Dragan Stojkovic 14/1 Owen Coyle 14/1 Jose Mourinho 14/1 Moyes 14/1
But more to the point who of these would be best for the job?
Remi Garde is perhaps not the biggest name on the list but he certainly has his supporters and is putting together and impressive application. Garde was Wenger’s first signing at Highbury, but was never a star for the team. That may work in his favour, as he will not have the ‘returning star’ pressure that has plagued the likes of Alan Shearer and Peter Shilton.
Since then he has returned to Arsenal to act as ‘Director of Football’ for the club, a role he fulfilled well, if quietly. Now Garde finds himself in control at French giants Lyon, and by all accounts has made a good start to his time there.
So experience in the top leagues, knows the club well, good connections in the game. Sign him up right away!
But, and its a big one, he is seen (rightly) as a continuation of Wenger’s rule. A king passing his title on to his son, while the Arsenal fans want a revolution. Garde was specifically brought in to fill the role as Wenger’s right hand man. “I do recall Wenger chatting to him one-on-one several times after training as we all wandered in,” Former Arsenal player Adrian Clarke told The Independent.
“He was 30 at the time, but he seemed much older. I think most of us saw him as a virtual player-coach, even though he wasn’t part of the coaching team.”
So he would bring stability to the club, and a year or ago the would have been a good thing, but now Arsenal fans want a breath of fresh air and a new philosophy, not Wenger mark 2.
Jose Mourinho The man has brought success wherever he’s been, 6 titles at Porto, 5 at Chelsea, 5 at Inter, and now the Copa del Ray at Real, quite simply who wouldn’t want Mourinho as manager.
Well Real maybe, Mourinho has actually been quite successful in Madrid since taking over, and has once again turned them into a side that expect to win things (although they are still not yet the equals of Barca). Yet strangely Mourinho is still not happy at the club, and he and the board (especially Jorge Valdano) have clashed in the press. All this means the smart money is Jose won’t hang around in Madrid for long.
Sure he brings baggage, sure he can be unstable, sure his ego needs it own plane seat, and in many ways he is the opposite of Wenger. But that may be what Arsenal need. He has stated his desire to return to the Premier League. He misses the pace, cut-and-thrust, and challenge of Prem management. Well, rebuilding the Arsenal side would certainly fill his appetite.
But would he come. He still maintains strong ties (some say too strong) to Chelsea. His last three jobs have also come with huge spending power, which Mourinho has indulged to the fullest, something which Arsenal can probably not promise. There is also the fact that he is doing well at Real, and despite all his sulking, has no immediate reason to leave. When he does leave many have suggested him as the man to fill Sir Alex’s seat at United, or to take charge of the Portuguese National Team.
Carlo Ancelotti still has something to prove. Carlo was actually very successful in the Premier League, and brought a League and Cup double to Chelsea in his first year. And yet to many his time in charge is still seen as, perhaps not a failure, but also not a success.
Yet Carlo record of success is astonishing. 2 Champions Leagues, 2 League Titles, 3 Domestic Cups, and 5 other titles. There is little reason to suspect the former World Manager of the Year won’t also win trophies with PSG and their oil money.
Carlo was heavily linked with the Arsenal job before, He told Italian paper La Repubblica
“I have a strong will to remain in England……For a coach, this is the ideal country.”
“It’s evident that Wenger’s bench is wobbling and that in several months’ time, an English coach will be appointed to replace (England manager Fabio) Capello in the national team, which will free up a place in a club”
Since then of course he has found himself a nice little earner in Paris, but despite PSG’s aims they are still not yet a glamour club, and more importantly the French League is still not the Prem and can not offer the fame or glory that manager’s crave.
Carlo seems happy enough at PSG currently but Arsene’s exit seems eventual, not immediate. Give it a year and Ancelotti is looking at good option for the Gunners, and the Gunners for him.
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