Arsenal supporters in the Transfer Tavern are still discussing the surprise news that manager Arsene Wenger will step down as the club’s manager in the summer after 22 years in charge of the North London giants.
The Frenchman took over back in September 1996 and he has since gone on to lead the Gunners to three Premier League titles, a record seven FA Cup crowns, and indeed seven Community Shields, as well as regularly guiding the club to Champions League qualification. However, the Arsenal boss has struggled to mastermind a title challenge in recent years and the North London outfit have now fallen some way off the division’s top four places, although Wenger could still leave on a high were he to lead the club to the Europa League this season.
Subsequently, there have been many stunned Arsenal fans in the Tavern in recent times, several of whom are already turning their attentions towards who their club should appoint to replace the 68-year-old, with many big names already linked to the post.
Yet several of our resident Gunners supporters want their side to move heaven and earth to appoint current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte as the club’s new manager, following the job he did in leading the Blues to the Premier League title last season.
Ultimately, the 2016/17 season was being billed as Pep Guardiola versus Jose Mourinho following their respective appointments at Manchester City and Manchester United, but it was Conte who produced the goods in leading Chelsea to a fifth league title, finishing seven points clear of second place Tottenham.
But it was the manner in which they went about it, specifically Conte’s tactical tweaks, which have been lauded by many, with the Blues eighth in the division after losing 3-0 to Arsenal in September 2016, prompting the Italian to switch to a back three.
And the West London outfit then went on to win 13 straight matches to all but wrap up the league title by the New Year, testament to Conte’s ability to change things and then install a winning mentality in a team that finished tenth in the 2015/16 season.
And that sort of impact is exactly what is required at Arsenal post-Wenger.
The Gunners are slowly but surely falling behind the other members of the top six and are actually in danger of finishing below Burnley this season, so it’s clear that things need changing at the Emirates – Conte can do that.
He took a seriously under-performing Chelsea side from tenth one season to champions next time round, and while Arsenal are struggling this term, they still have very good players to suggest that another turnaround could take place.
Defensively, Chelsea have been much-improved under Conte, and that must be of interest to Arsenal fans who have seen their side slated for their defensive inadequacies in recent years.
And with the 48-year-old’s Chelsea future somewhat uncertain heading into the summer, it’s plausible that Conte could be available come the end of the season, which simply must prompt the Gunners to make a move for the Italian to replace Wenger.
Arsenal fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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