The shadow of Manchester United’s botched succession plan when Sir Alex Ferguson retired looms over Arsenal’s post-Arsene Wenger future.
The outgoing Scotsman appointed his own successor, countryman David Moyes and the scale of the task taking over from one of the all-time greats of football management swallowed the former Everton boss up whole.
There are of course differences between the situation at United in 2013 and the current version of Arsenal; one were champions, the other are sixth, Ferguson’s departure was a shock and not something encouraged by United’s fans, Wenger’s is neither.
But the size of the task is still the same. Both Wenger and Ferguson made every decision at their respective clubs for over two decades; Arsenal are in the Frenchman’s image in the same way United were in Fergie’s.
That means that Arsenal have to learn their lessons from United. They cannot untrust this task to an unknown quantity such as Mikel Arteta or Patrick Vieira; even Luis Enrique and Julian Nagelsmann would be risky appointments to varying degrees.
Experience is demanded and nobody possesses more of it than Carlo Ancelotti. He may have been sacked by Bayern this season but a quick look down the list of clubs on his CV proves his undoubted quality and pedigree.
Juventus, Milan, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich; there is a reasonable argument that the Arsenal hotseat is less taxing than being in charge of most of those European superpowers, but for many of the other candidates, it would be the job of a lifetime.
He is an incredibly calm figure, a reassuring man of class that should puncture the hysteria that has engulfed the Emirates Stadium thanks to his elite man-management skills and ability to tailor his approach to suit the qualities of his players.
One of the reasons Arsenal fans are so excited about Wenger’s departure is because it could finally mark a new era at the club but it is important that the handover goes smoothly.
The last thing Arsenal need is to slip further off the pace under a manager out of their depth who has their reputation savaged – in the same way that Moyes’ was at Old Trafford – and that would not happen under Ancelotti.
He has experience of working with elite players all over the world, which should both serve to attract top players in the transfer market and inspire Arsenal’s existing crop to raise their game.
He also knows what it takes to win trophies in English football; his dazzling Chelsea team clinched the double in 2009/10 playing some of the most attractive football seen at Stamford Bridge in the Roman Abramovich era.
None of the other men available to Arsenal can boast anything like the same pedigree Ancelotti can. He is adept at winning trophies and producing cohesive teams amid off-field unrest, as he showed at Real Madrid when he was the man to finally clinch La Decima after inheriting the fractured dressing room Jose Mourinho left behind.
The Italian is comfortable working with any set-up so the presence of Sven Mislintat is absolutely no issue; he has realised that being adaptable and building strong relationships with his players is the key to being a successful manager in the modern era.
Ancelotti is the stand-out candidate to succeed Wenger; he has the aura, experience, trophies and quality to command respect in the dressing room and in the stands.
The Gunners cannot afford to get their succession plan wrong and appointing Ancelotti would be the very best way to start life without Arsene Wenger.