The signs are pointing more and more to Arsenal trying extremely hard to continue Arsene Wenger’s legacy at the club, but that doesn’t mean they are not removing most of his backroom staff that have worked with the Prof for many many years.
Wenger has told us that he will be clearing out his desk at the Emirates tomorrow, but he will not be the only one making space for the new era. Boro Primorac, a long-term coach and friend of Wenger, was always going to be a casualty and a number of other backroom staff have also been relieved of their duties.
Colin Lewin, head of the club’s medical department, has been at the club a year longer than Wenger but will also be departing — as well as coaches Neil Banfield, former Ireland goalkeeper Gerry Peyton and Tony Colbert, with Paul Johnson leaving his post as equipment manager. Vik Akers, the kit man who has been at the club as long as Wenger is also stepping down.
With Arteta or Vieira likely to be the next manager, it seems that the backroom is going to be populated with ex-Wenger acolytes that know the club inside out. Jens Lehmann has been retained, but he has not yet been here a year. Per Mertesacker is moving up to youth team coach. It was recently reported that Freddie Ljungberg was next to be approached although the Swede has since denied it, and the latest rumours suggest that Arteta wants Santi Cazorla to remain in a coaching position, but the big surprise for me was that Steve Bould was not on the list of outgoing staff.
One of the biggest things that annoyed Arsenal fans was that Wenger does not stand on the sidelines during games shouting out instructions and tactics to the players, but prefers to sit in the dugout doing nothing. He was always accompanied by his assistant manager Bould, who was even more immobile, simply chewing gum and nodding at Wenger from time to time. Bould was a legendary Gunner before becoming Wenger’s sidekick and we all hoped that he was brought in to organize our leaky defence, but since his arrival our defence has got steadily worse every year, so I would have thought he would have been a certainty to leave along with his boss. If he remains and becomes Arteta’s second in command we will all be wondering if anything is really going to change after all?