It’s far more a matter of inevitability than the changing faces of Arsenal’s supporters. Arsene Wenger won’t be at the club forever, and that closing of a chapter in the history of the club may come when the Frenchman’s contract expires next season. It’s only sense then that the club’s hierarchy take on a meticulous approach when dealing with his successor. Talk of a replacement at this stage should not be viewed as hostilities towards Wenger.
It’s in the best interests of the club that Arsenal find a way to preserve the key elements of Wenger’s reign. Far too much has been done in the shaping of the club for it to be washed away with poorly chosen appointments, and with Joachim Low’s record with Germany, as well as his overseeing of the current youth movement in German football, you feel that he is one of the ideal choices to lead Arsenal beyond 2014.
It’s probably more coincidental than anything else. Arsenal have switched their focus from the French market to Germany, picking up talented youth products as hopes for the future and securing prominent names to bolster the first-team squad. I don’t, however, believe the club have targeted the current Germany coach predominantly due to his nationality.
Low has long been a name mentioned among those at the top of European football. His name was brought up in discussions as a possible replacement for Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid, as well as one to succeed Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea. He has something about him that you find in managers like Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho; that steely determination married with a great sense of control and authority.
The Germany coach has taken his side to two semi-finals in international competition and a final in 2008. He’s kept the consistency and managed the expectation well to a degree, all the while ensuring that his nation could effectively move on from the disappointments of a previous generation and make excellent use of the new crop of young talents. The changing of culture in the German national team was also fundamental to his position.
There shouldn’t be any sense of doubt or worry about what he’s capable of or what he failed to achieve with Germany on the international scene. For one, he was up against the European and World champions in Spain – a team who will long be considered one of the finest in the history of international football. And secondly, the average age of the German team means he’s played a large part in cementing the foundation for successes that are highly possible in the future.
I’m also not buying the worry that could be generated from the fact that Low has been out of club management for so long, including the point that he has never been in charge of one of Europe’s biggest clubs. Football will always come with an element of risk, and those who make it to the top are often proven to be the bravest among their peers.
Guardiola was a risk for Barcelona, with his only experience coming with the Barcelona B team. Similarly, you can’t discount how much it went against the grain for Arsenal to appoint Wenger when they did. Trophies had been won around the world, but, like Guardiola, the assurance came in his philosophy and approach to the game.
It’s not to say that Low should be the frontrunner for Arsenal’s next manager, but rather that he is one of the names who could fit seamlessly in with the club. There will still be a great appreciation for youth, as there should be, and as mentioned, Arsenal’s increased interest in German football means Low will only be of value on that front.