Is it time Arsene Wenger looked to the future?

arsene-wengerArsene Wenger is one of the most respected managers in the league; the changes he has brought about in English football in regards to youth development, nutrition and footballing philosophy are unparalleled. His contribution to Arsenal has been immense; he transformed Thierry Henry to the best striker in the world; he created the Invincibles, and under him, Arsenal are one of the Champions League’s ever-presents. Yet at the age of 60, he is closer to end of his managerial career than the beginning and inevitably this raises questions about who his successor will be. Wenger’s current deal expires in 2011 and his decision to rebuff Real Madrid advances in the summer showed his continuing loyalty to Arsenal; but it cannot be long before he calls it a day.

The idea that Wenger’s successor should spend some time working under the Arsenal manager has been suggested, and it is a notion that has some merit. It is of great importance that Arsenal’s next manager maintains the ideals that Wenger has instilled within the club. There needs to be a focus on free-flowing, attacking football and on youth development. There can never be a return to the days of George Graham’s defensive-minded approach, to use Wenger’s phrase; ‘if you eat caviar every day it is difficult to come back to sausages’. Arsenal have grown under the stewardship of Wenger into a club that has its’ own footballing philosophy, much like Barcelona and Ajax.

If the club is to stay true to Wenger’s vision, his successor must come from within the club or be carefully selected for their similar vision. Pep Guardiola has been mentioned as a possibility, but it is difficult to say whether he will be available when the time comes; though it is known that he and Wenger are in contact. Within the club there may be options; Steve Bould is the head coach of the successful under-18 Academy side, he plays a key role in educating the youngsters about Arsenal’s style of play and would be a popular choice.

It is well known that Wenger is still hungry for success, his desire to capture the Champions League remains strong and he is unlikely to relinquish control of the club before he achieves this goal; the side he has built at the Emirates is certainly capable of challenging for European honours. When the time does come for Wenger to step aside, there will be no shortage of applications for the position of manager. He is likely to be asked for his input as to who should succeed; if Guardiola is available, then he may be option, but if not; Wenger is likely to want someone who has already spent time working at the club, perhaps a former player of his.

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Helen Chamberlain, Max Rushden and the rest of the Soccer Am crew tackle the task of unearthing the team of their dreams.

Tubes, Health and Safety, Rocket and Baby Elvis are among the familiar faces joining Helen and Max to indulge in a special set of sketches, including Kung Fu Academy, Third Eyes and the return of the £10 Goal Celebration.

Who makes it through the filter of football’s funniest show as the Greatest Team In The World?

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NEW Soccer AM IIII DVD OUT NOW – Order your copy now