Following a 2-0 defeat to Barcelona and a 3-2 loss to Manchester United, seemingly ending Arsenal’s Champions League participation and Premier League title chances in just a matter of days, Arsene Wenger’s future at the Emirates has become the tabloids’ favourite talking point once again.
After all, if Le Professeur can’t guide the Gunners to their first league title in over a decade whilst reigning champions Chelsea are out of the picture, Manchester City are failing to fire on all cylinders and United have reduced their season aim to simply Champions League qualification, the chances are that he never will.
Yet, the Red Devils’ plight since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement provides a stark warning to the north London outfit, demonstrating the enormous void long-term managers leave behind and how debasing their departures can be to a club’s successes.
So if Arsenal are to part with Wenger this summer, after two decades at the helm, they need a strong replacement lined up first. With that in mind, Football Fancast have taken a look at TEN potential successors, asking you to decide whether the Gunners would be better off with one of them at the helm next season.
Unai Emery hasn’t been mentioned as a potential Wenger replacement just yet but sooner or later, a top European club will have to take note of his consistent success with Sevilla.
Despite losing a series of key players in Ivan Rakitic, Alberto Moreno and Federico Fazio, the Spaniard has guided his side to consecutive Europa League titles and fifth-place finishes in La Liga.
Los Rojiblancos operate under a balanced philosophy and defensive midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak is a known Gunners target who Emery could bring with him to the Emirates.
If one British manager has a genuine chance of breaking the stereotype of lower-mid-table survivalists, it’s Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe.
He’s guided the Cherries from League Two to the Premier League, insisting upon a core of home-grown talent and an attacking philosophy Arsenal fans would particularly appreciate.
The 38-year-old lacks experience at the top end of the game but ensuring top flight survival this season would be a miraculous achievement underlining his enormous potential.
Of all the Invincibles mooted to replace their former manager, Patrick Vieira particularly stands out.He captained the Gunners through their undefeated season, enjoyed World Cup success with France and has an in-depth understanding of the Arsenal identity.
Likewise, the 39-year-old offers relative experience when compared to his former team-mates, managing the Man City development squad for two years before taking over at New York City FC.
Moving to the MLS only in January, however, an Arsenal appointment seems more likely a few years down the line.
Manuel Pellegrini’s proved what he’s capable of with a top-class squad and offers Premier League experience, lifting the league title and the Capital One Cup twice during his three years with Manchester City.
The Chilean insists upon attacking football and always conducts himself with the distinction in the public eye. Furthermore, he’ll certainly be available this summer with Pep Guardiola set to replace him at the Etihad.
Frank de Boer has guided Ajax to four Eredivisie titles in five years despite continually selling on his best talents and remains revered from his playing days, as a former Champions League winner, Barcelona star and 112-cap Netherlands international.
A number of young players have flourished under his leadership and he’d certainly make good use of Arsenal’s academy ranks, whilst drawing some of the Netherlands’ most exciting technicians to the Emirates.
Perhaps more importantly, the 45-year-old would likely bring current assistant Dennis Bergkamp to north London in a managerial dream team. Many would like to see the iconic centre-forward heavily involved with his former club once again.
Ronald Koeman’s win rate with Southampton stands at an impressive 46% and the Dutchman is an incredibly underrated manager, considering he’s previously claimed silverware with Ajax, Benfica, Valencia and PSV.
He’s somehow improved the Saints despite their infamous 2014 summer exodus and is currently on course to secure a second season of Europa League football with the seventh-placed side.
Testing adventurous back three formations, always giving young players the chance to impress and notoriously nice to almost painful levels, the 52-year-old is a well-rounded manager who deserves a chance at a top Premier League club.
Famed for an industrious philosophy and his cult-of-personality leadership style, appointing Diego Simeone would certainly buck up the ideas of Arsenal’s many underperformers. But regardless of preferred playing style, it’s the Argentine’s ability to maximise talent that should take precedent.
Despite lacking the resources, finance and quality of Barcelona and Real Madrid, he’s transformed Atletico into genuine title contenders and regular trophy winners – claiming a Europa League title, a Copa del Rey and a La Liga title during the former midfielder’s four-year reign.
Simeone would add some much-needed pragmatism and discipline to the Gunners’ game, heralding the days of one-nil to the Arsenal, but the transition from the Wenger philosophy would take some time and considerable spending in the transfer market.
Claudio Ranieri’s role in Leicester City’s emphatic rise to the Premier League’s summit cannot be overlooked. Many of his substitutions have lead to vital points for the Foxes throughout the season and the manner in which he’s kept momentum going whilst fending off pressure has been phenomenal.
The Italian has worked at some of the biggest clubs in world football – including Fiorentina, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus, Inter Milan, Monaco and Roma – and clearly has a good understanding of how to claim results consistently in the Premier League.
But if he guides Leicester to the title this season, the ‘tinkerman’ won’t be jumping ship to north London.
Joachim Low has committed his services to Germany until after the 2018 World Cup but the situation could drastically change depending on Die Mannschaft’s successes at the coming European Championship. He’s already served as Germany gaffer for a decade and is surely keen to test himself at club level once again at just 56 years of age.
During his time at the helm, the former midfielder has proved himself a formidable tactician, a developer of young talent and a manager capable of getting high-quality personnel to work effectively as a team.
A lack of success during prior spells in club football is notable, however, and convincing Low to leave Germany this summer will require either title-winning triumph or enormous failure at the tournament in France.
He’s been tipped to take the hot seat at Manchester United but nothing seems set in stone just yet.
Appointing the Special One certainly wouldn’t please old nemesis Arsene Wenger but he represents the level of ruthlessness and pragmatism the north Londoners have consistently lacked during the last decade under Le Professeur.
Furthermore, Jose Mourinho’s success in terms of silverware is hard to overlook. He’s claimed two Champions League titles and domestic honours with Chelsea, Real Madrid, FC Porto and Inter Milan – and is still just 53 years of age.
But there’s so much bad blood between the club, the fans and the Portuguese that the Gunners may be forced to look elsewhere.