It is beginning to appear as though, finally, change is coming to Arsenal this summer. The Gunners have toyed with mediocrity for the best part of a decade, and with Arsene Wenger’s tenure at the helm seemingly coming to a close – it is time for change at the Emirates.
Of course, Wenger could yet remain at the club, but it would make sense for the Arsenal brass to have one eye firmly on the future. If they haven’t already, they must very soon begin to consider who might take over the mantle from their current manager. A host of names have been touted with the move, Massimiliano Allegri is the perfect man for the job.
We’ve seen at Stamford Bridge the sort of impact that Italian managers are beginning to have in England, and given that Allegri and Conte’s career paths have followed upon fairly similar paths lately – could Arsenal be the next club to secure an Italian job?
Bringing the current Juventus manager to the Emirates certainly makes a lot of sense. On a basic level, you only have to look at the success that he has achieved whilst at the helm of The Old Lady of Turin. He was certainly successful with AC Milan, having picked up a Serie A title in his debut season, but the awards have been coming thick and fast since making the switch to the Juventus Stadium. He has picked up a further two Serie A titles, two Coppa Italia trophies and even won the coveted Serie A Coach of the Year award an impressive three times. Simply put, Allegri is a serial winner – and Arsenal have been serial losers in recent years.
His qualities extend beyond just getting results, though, with his management style also perfect for the Emirates. Arsenal have been accused of laziness in recent weeks, and that is an issue that Allegri would certainly sort out. You only have to look at his recent issues with Leonardo Bonucci, with the pair recently having a high-profile bust-up. Now, certainly, Arsenal won’t want him to start falling out with players – but the addition of discipline at a club that has seemingly been lacking it could be huge. The fact that the argument was made following a 4-1 win against Palermo indicates that his desire to impress also extends beyond just securing victories. This all feeds back into his drive to always be at 100% and ensuring that he is always getting the best out of his players – a trait that Wenger has arguably lost lately.
There is certainly an argument to be had surrounding the nature of Wenger’s management, with his one-dimensional style likely playing a significant role in Arsenal’s struggles lately. The Frenchman clearly has his own methods, but his inability to change those habits is costing the Gunners. This is, again, something that Allegri will not be a victim of – with the manager regularly utilising formations based on particular games and particular opponents. For example, against an attacking side he might look to play with a five-man defence, whilst he might then shift back to a four-man defence a week later. When Antonio Conte left Juventus, Allegri chose to continue with his 3-5-2 formation for a while, before deciding to shift it up for a particular fixture. That desire to pick a side and pick a formation based on a particular opponent is vital, and it is a trait that Arsenal have lacked.
Bringing in a manager that has never been in the Premier League is certainly a risk, but for Arsenal, it is one that makes sense. Allegri has come in and made an immediate impact in his career, and Arsenal desperately need a manager that can do that. If Wenger does go, Allegri could be the man.