There has long been speculation about exactly when Arsene Wenger’s tenure as Arsenal manager will come to an end. But after the Champions League thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich on 15th February it has become apparent that Le Professeur’s days at the helm may well be numbered.
With a decision on Wenger’s future scheduled for the end of the season, fans and pundits are asking the big question: who can replace Wenger as Arsenal manager? Here we give you our assessment of the top five candidates to be the next permanent Arsenal manager, along with the current betting odds for them getting the job.
Massimiliano Allegri – 5/1 with Betfair
The bookies’ favourite to be the next Arsenal boss is the current Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri. There is no doubt that he is a tactically astute manager who has the vision to adapt his team’s style of play to a given situation. He is also successful, at least since moving to Juventus where he has won the Serie A title and Coppa Italia double in each of the last two seasons.
Speculation was rife that Allegri could be eyeing a move to the Premier League when it was reported that he was taking English lessons but he has downplayed any suggestion that he could replace Wenger and insists he is happy at Juve.
There is no doubt Allegri has the credentials to land the job, and after the positive impact his countryman Antonio Conte has had at Chelsea this season, Stan Kroenke, Ivan Gazidis and the rest of the board could well look to Italy for their next manager.
Thomas Tuchel – 10/1 with Paddy Power
The second favourite with most bookies at the time of writing is Borussia Dortmund’s head coach, Thomas Tuchel. The man who replaced Jurgen Klopp as Bortmund’s boss in 2015 is only 43 years old so is still learning his trade. He has not yet enjoyed the success experienced by Allegri, but that is perhaps in part due to the fact that Bayern Munich are so dominant in Germany.
Tuchel, like Klopp, is seen as an innovative manager who is not afraid to shake things up in terms of tactics and personnel, something that would be welcome at the Emirates – as long as success follows of course.
Dortmund’s chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke has suggested Tuchel will be staying put, however, giving an indication that a new contract will be on the table soon. The lack of honours may also count against the German in the final reckoning and we think Tuchel is under-priced to land the job.
Eddie Howe – 11/1 with Sky Bet
Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe has long been seen as the natural successor to Wenger at Arsenal on account of the similarities in their footballing philosophies. There is no doubting that getting a club of Bournemouth’s size into the Premier League and then consolidating their position there whilst playing expansive football is some achievement. But it would still be a risk for Arsenal to plump for a boss who is unproven at a big club.
Given that Howe is still not yet 40, however, the Arsenal board might be in the mood to begin a new era, and whereas some bigger name managers might stick around in north London for a couple of seasons, there is every chance that Howe could be there for the long haul (assuming that there are a few trophies coming in).
The big question is whether or not the appointment of Howe would satisfy the fans who are desperate for Premier League or Champions League success. But at these odds, Howe could be a good bet in our eyes, and despite him not being one of the big beasts of the game, given the chance at Arsenal he might well be before too long.
Diego Simeone – 14/1 with BetVictor
The appointment of Diego Simeone at Arsenal would certainly appease the Gooners who are calling for a proven winner. The Atletico Madrid boss managed to break the stranglehold of giants Barcelona and Real Madrid on Spanish football when he led his side to La Liga glory in the 2013-14 season. Add to that a Copa del Rey success, a Europa League and two Champions League finals, and there is no doubt that Simeone has a winning formula.
There are some amongst the Arsenal faithful who would be somewhat disappointed if the Argentine did get the nod given his pragmatic – at times rather stifling – style of play. But when you come up against the likes of Real and Barca with such regularity you can forgive him for resorting to win-at-all-costs tactics. Even the most ardent purists would surely forgive a few grinding 0-0s on the way to a Champions League final or two.
At 14/1 Simeone does offer some value, but whether he could be persuaded to swap the Spanish capital for the English one is another matter given his current contract runs until 2018.
Patrick Vieira – 16/1 with Betfair
How Arsenal have missed Patrick Vieira’s drive and leadership on the pitch in recent years! Perhaps the man who played 279 times for the Gunners between 1996 and 2005 could lead them to greatness from the dugout?
It is not out of the question that Vieira could one day land the manager’s job at the Emirates, but for us it is far too early for him. Having cut his coaching teeth with the youth team and then reserves at Man City, he may have learnt a lot. But his only senior coaching role to date is his current one at New York City FC, and with a win rate of just over 40% at the time of writing, he’s hardly set the MLS alight.
In short, the time is simply not right for Vieira and we feel he’ll need to prove himself in the cut and thrust of English football before he gets the chance to manage Arsenal.
So, who will be the next Arsenal manager?
While some Arsenal fans might not like it, we think the value lies with backing Eddie Howe to be the next Arsenal manager. If he can lead his side to a strong finish to the current Premier League season and finish somewhere approaching mid-table, he will have shown the Arsenal board enough to tempt them. So get your bets on Howe now, before those above him in the betting rule themselves out, and cash in when the Bournemouth man moves into the Emirate hot seat.
Analysis and odds provided by FootballBettingHub.com.