Since the announcement that Arsene Wenger will end his Arsenal reign after 22 years at the club, there’s been plenty of debate and speculation as to who will fill the post, with opinion seemingly split amongst fans. Some believe a younger coach should be appointed, with the aim of planning long-term, while others feel the club needs to bring in an experienced world-class manager, who already has a proven record of success.
A host of names have been linked with the job, including Zeljko Buvac, Massimiliano Allegri, Carlo Ancelotti, Luis Enrique, Brendan Rodgers, Eddie Howe, and Leonardo Jardim. Depending which newspaper gossip you read, or which supposedly ‘in the know’ Twitter accounts you follow, quite literally any of them could be in the mix.
For anyone following the bookmaker odds, staggeringly, the football betting favourite for the Arsenal job is Liverpool assistant manager Buvac, amidst rumours fuelled by his current leave of absence until the end of the season and speculative reports from his homeland of Bosnia, but surely such talk must be taken with an almighty pinch of salt?
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The 56-year-old clearly has a wealth of coaching experience as Klopp’s right-hand man, regarded as ‘The Brain’ amongst his coaching colleagues for his tactical knowledge. However, on his own as a manager, Buvac only has a three-year stint at German semi-professional club SC Neukirchen on his CV. Hardly inspiring if he is indeed amongst the options being seriously considered by the Arsenal board.
If the Gunners are inclined to go for a younger manager, who already boasts success at the highest level, then 47-year-old Luis Enrique would appear to be the most sensible choice. After all, having cut his managerial teeth with Barcelona B, Roma and Celta Vigo, the Spaniard returned to Barcelona and enjoyed great success.
Enrique ticks all the right boxes when it comes to playing style and winning mentality, landing an impressive haul of seven trophies during his three-year tenure at the Camp Nou. However, salary demands of around £25m-a-year according to the Mirror could prove excessively high for the Arsenal board, scuppering any chance of his arrival at the Emirates.
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Another name boasting both consistent success and a wealth of experience is Italian coach Allegri, who has guided Juventus to unstoppable domestic dominance. Since his appointment, Juve have won three consecutive Serie A and Coppa Italia doubles, with a potential fourth on the way this season. The 50-year-old would certainly be a great choice for Arsenal, but in reality, and having never managed outside Italy, luring him to the Premier League could prove impossible.
43-year-old Jardim certainly has plenty of potential, given he prefers attractive attacking football and putting faith in young players, which led to impressive seasons with Olympiacos in Greece, Sporting in Portugal, and the 2016-17 Ligue 1 title in France with Monaco. There are clear parallels with Wenger’s pre-Arsenal experience here, with the Venezuelan seemingly the obvious choice as a manager in a similar mould, but would Gunners fans be patient enough with him?
Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers certainly seems a popular choice amongst the media pundits, although he didn’t win a single trophy with Liverpool or Swansea City. He won the Scottish treble last season and could do so again this season, but with a team that’s so vastly superior to any of the competition north of the border, it’s hardly comparable to the challenges he would face as Arsenal manager.
Has Brendan Rodgers hurt his own chances of taking over at Chelsea?
Reports say he's angered the club 😡
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As the 2005-2015 Football League Manager of the Decade Award winner, Eddie Howe has earned great respect for his achievements managing Bournemouth, including consideration for the England post prior to the appointment of Gareth Southgate. Having taken his club to the Premier League and kept them there, and at still just 40 years old, he’s clearly a manager with plenty of years ahead of him. However, at this point in time, the Arsenal job is probably too big a role.
Finally, and perhaps one of the most serious contenders with a marvellous managerial career to back his credentials, Ancelotti can arguably be considered one of the best options, as things currently stand for Arsenal. What’s more, the 58-year-old Italian has managed some of the biggest clubs in European football, so would be more than comfortable with the pressures and expectations that await at the Emirates.
Having won major trophies with Milan, Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, very few other managerial targets can claim to have achieved such consistent success, at the highest level of the game. After reportedly turning down the Italy job, Ancelotti is available and appears to be keen on the possibility of returning to England. If he’s interested in the job and the project on offer, Arsenal potentially have the best candidate of the lot.
— Carlo Ancelotti (@MrAncelotti) February 10, 2018
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Is Ancelotti the one?