Could anyone realistically replace Arsène Wenger if he ends his 21 year reign as Arsenal manager next season?
Posted by John Smith | Published on July 20, 2016
As they say, everything eventually comes to an end. Sooner or later, Arsenal fans will have to come to terms with the fact that legendary manager Arsène Wenger will be signing off his career as manager of Arsenal Football Club and enter the world of retirement.
As things stand, the current Arsenal manager is in a very difficult situation in regards to fan support as well as winning major trophies, with only two FA Cups and two Community Shield trophies in the space of ten years to his name. Despite the lack of silverware he has brought to the Emirates Stadium as well as losing a majority of the support from fans, he has remained loyal to the club. The likes of Paris Saint Germain, Real Madrid, Barcelona and even his country’s national team have all offered managerial positions at their respective club whilst still Arsenal manager, but objected every single offer.
Nevertheless, prior to the tricky period of paying off the stadium debt and losing a majority of important players, Arsène Wenger was arguably one of the greatest managers in the world of football at one point. Three league titles – one of which going the entire season unbeaten – as well as four FA Cup trophies, two of which being league and cup doubles, the Frenchman has still had an incredibly successful time during his tenure as manager of Arsenal Football Club.
Currently, the Frenchman sees himself with his current deal with the North London side coming to an end in less than twelve months, with no signs of a new deal being offered at the moment. If he does make the decision to retire as a manager, or quit Arsenal football club due to his incapability to bring any more success to the club, are there any suitable candidates to replace him?
From an initial perspective, you may immediately turn towards an answer of simply no. The world class managers of today in the form of Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti are no longer available as they have been snatched up by Manchester City and Bayern Munich respectively.
In addition to this, upcoming managers including the likes of Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino are also unavailable due to the signings of new contracts. The list of managers capable of managing a team with the stature and popularity of Arsenal Football Club is running low, but if Arsène Wenger does make the decision to leave Arsenal, hope is not yet destroyed.
Diego Simeone, known to all as the manager of Spanish club Atletico Madrid, is the most likely – and favourable – of candidates capable of taking over from ‘La Professeur’ when he makes the decision to depart the club. Hailed for his brilliant defensive tactics on top of the fast attacks he orders his team to produce, Simeone has been hailed for bringing success for his side such as two Champions League finals as well as beating giants Barcelona and Real Madrid to the La Liga title in the 2013/14 season.
Although a majority of Arsenal fans would adore the move to happen, it could come with negatives repercussions. Ever since his introduction to Arsenal in 1996, Wenger has been hailed for producing “beautiful” football and producing teams capable of attacking and maintaining possession for the entirety of the game.
If Diego Simeone were to take over from Wenger, he would be faced with the difficult challenge of either changing his tactics to fit Arsène’s team, or the likelier of the two, adapt the first team to suit the counter attacking, defensive, style of football he is known to prefer and utilise. If pulled off to perfection, Simeone could most certainly bring back the days of glory to North London, but it could also end horribly for the Argentinian as a majority of players who are present at the club are used to Wenger’s tactics.
Although appearing unlikely, the opportunity to take up the challenge of bringing success to Arsenal could be one in Simeone’s favour. Following a second defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League final, he questioned whether he was the right man to take Atletico Madrid forward. An unsuccessful season at Madrid for the forthcoming season could see Simeone depart Los Colchoneros.
Nevertheless, the odds on Diego Simeone surpassing Arsène Wenger’s legacy are not entirely high, and evidently may not even happen. When looking at other candidates capable of excelling Wenger’s tenure at the club, the list looks unbearably thin, with most candidates looking as unlikely as ever.
Current Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri is one of the few other managers who could transition to the Premier League. The Italian has had a successful spell whilst managing current club Juventus, securing a league and cup double (as well as earning a spot in the Champions League final) in his first season whilst winning the treble the following year. Although inheriting a world class squad from former manager Antonio Conte, you can not deny how good of a manager he has been for Vecchia Signora.
Consequently, bringing in a manger like Allegri could be both a positive and a negative for the Italian. Following his arrival at Juventus, he initially utilised Conte’s 3-5-2 system which supported his side’s dominance in the league, but it wasn’t effective enough in the Champions League. A shift in formation to a 4-3-1-2 or a 4-3-3 support the side in both competitions and led to success in both tournaments.
Considering the conundrum Allegri has faced during his tenure thus far as boss of Juventus, adapting to a competitive and aggressive league of football that the Premier League introduced could introduce a variety of new problems for the Italian. Since Arsenal tend to play an attacking 4-2-3-1 formation, it contrast the tactics that Allegri has utilised in his managerial career. Despite this, if he successfully adjusts his tactics to suit Arsenal, he could very well bring success to the club.
Apart from the two aforementioned, one final man who could make the jump to football in the Premier League at Arsenal Football Club is none other than current Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel. Although lacking in managerial experience – with previous positions at Augsburg II and Mainz 05 respectively – the German has been hailed as the right man to take over from Wenger by a majority of Arsenal fans.
Although only being at Dortmund for a year, anything can happen in football and the opportunity to takeover from Arsène Wenger could be impossible for Tuchel to turn down. During his first season at Dortmund, he successfully kept a winning percentage of just under 75%. However, despite a successful debut season, the upcoming season will most certainly whether Tuchel is capable of taking over a team at the heights of Arsenal.
In the transfer window thus far, he has lost important players in the form of Mats Hummels and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Losing two players of such quality will most likely damper the current Dortmund team, with world class replacements not being signed. Although signing talented youngsters such as Raphael Guerreiro and Emre Mor, they do not fit the bill of who Dortmund fans would like to see arrive at the Westfalenstadion.
To conclude, the list of managers capable of taking over as Arsenal manager should Arsène Wenger depart is looking at an all time low. All three managers mentioned are not in positions where they can freely leave their club, with a strong offer needed to lure any man to North London. If next season infact marks the end of an era of Arsène Wenger at Arsenal FC, the right manager must be made available and the board must ensure they sign the right man.