With the Frenchman set to step down at the end of the season, we look at those in line to replace him at the club.
The subject of many matchday program discussions, interviews, angry rants by fans, memes and what not, Arsene Wenger is stepping down as Gunners boss at the end of the season after a momentous 22 years in charge.
The Frenchmen will leave as the most successful manager in Arsenal’s history having won a record seven FA Cups and three Premier League titles including one in 2003-04 in which his team went the entire season unbeaten.
The departure of the Frenchmen makes the job of the Arsenal boss the most coveted one in football right now. But, as seen previously in the case of Manchester United, who are yet to match the heights they attained under Sir Alex Ferguson after the Scot retired in 2013; the transition at Arsenal under the new boss may also not be a smooth one.
Here, we look at the top five contenders to succeed Wenger and help the club find its long-lost glory.
1. Carlo Ancelotti
Ancelotti has immense experience across European football
Ever since his sacking from Bavarian giants Bayern Munich in the early part of the season, the Italian has emerged as a frontrunner for the Arsenal job. His attendance in games at the Emirates since has also lent a lot of credibility to the speculation.
Boasting of immense pedigree as a manager, Ancelotti has had an impressive career spanning over 23 years. Managing the likes of AC Milan, Juventus, Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, he has won almost every honour in football. The Italian is the most successful manager in the history of the Champions League, jointly with legendary Liverpool boss Bob Paisley, both winning the competition thrice.
Ancelotti is also a tactical master and his experience with big clubs makes him a hot favourite for Arsenal’s job. His appointment will undoubtedly provide the stability that has been a hallmark of the club for so long.
2. Thomas Tuchel
Tuchel is one of the brightest young managers in the game
One of the most brilliant young managers in world football at the moment, stories of Tuchel being linked to Arsenal have got Gunners excited.The twin signings of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the winter transfer window and also the recent appointment of Sven Mislintat as Head of Recruitment at Arsenal, people with whom Tuchel has worked with during his stint at Dortmund, point to a thought process in place in the Arsenal boardroom.
The 44-year-old manager is known for his work in the Bundesliga with Mainz and Borussia Dortmund. The German was reasonably successful with both the teams despite working with limited resources.
Tuchel is known for getting his teams to play a brilliant brand of attacking football and also getting the best out of youngsters like Ousmane Dembele, Christian Pulisic and Raphael Guerreiro. Qualities with which the outgoing Wenger had made a name for himself.
3. Luis Enrique
Enrique’s footballing philosophy would be a good fit for Arsenal
Due to his exploits with FC Barcelona, with whom he won nine trophies in his three-year stint as manager Luis Enrique remains hot property in the market. Now on a sabbatical after not extending his stay at Camp Nou in the summer of 2017, the Spaniard has expressed his desire to return to management in the near future. With the Arsenal job opening up in the summer, Enrique might soon be on his way to London.
After joining the Blaugrana in 2014 and with help from the record-breaking trio of ‘MSN’ Enrique won an incredible treble in his first season in charge. By the time his watch as Barcelona boss ended he had a stunning win percentage of 76.2%.
Having been a player at FC Barcelona before being a manager, he is well versed with the famed tiki-taka of the Blaugrana. As such, his footballing philosophy would blend seamlessly with that of a team that is equally well known for its possession-based attacking football.
4. Joachim Low
Low could leave Germany after the World Cup
With an increasing German influence at Arsenal, that includes the recent appointments in the backroom and boardroom staff and also signings into the first team, there have been many who have been predicting Joachim Low to take over once Wenger steps down.
Mesut Ozil who is an important member of Low’s German team only recently extended his contract at Arsenal. It is rumoured that the assurance of Low’s appointment in the summer had made up the star midfielder’s mind.
Low is one of the most accomplished managers in football today. Ever since taking over as head coach in 2008, he has guided Die Mannschaft from strength to strength, reaching at least the semi-finals in all the major competitions they have entered.
Despite his undoubted calibre as a coach, Low last managed a club side way back in 2003 and because of his long-term dissociation with club-level management, the German does not emerge as a top contender for the job.
5. Patrick Vieira
Vieira would bring continuity to Arsenal
One of the best players of all-time in his position, Patrick Vieira was one of the greatest ever to pull on the Red and White of Arsenal. Vieira was a 19-year-old at AC Milan struggling to break into the first-team before Arsenal came calling in 1996. He became one of the first signings in the Wenger era and his subsequent nine-year spell at the club was the finest in his playing career.
He became Arsenal skipper in 2002 and captained the club to its greatest achievement ever, going the entire 2003-04 season unbeaten. Vieira went on to win three league titles and four FA Cups in a glittering career at Arsenal.
After his playing career was over, the Frenchman did his coaching badges and was later appointed as the manager of Manchester City’s developmental squad. That led in 2016 to him being appointed as manager of another of City Football Group’s clubs, Major League Soccer franchise New York City, a position that he currently holds.
Recently Wenger backed his former ward as a future Arsenal boss saying, “He’s a guy who has the potential one day, yes, He works in the moment in New York and he works for Man City. I’ve followed his managerial career. I think he does very well.”
The board, for a smooth transition at the club, would want someone who knows it inside out and is well aware of the values Arsenal stands for. Looking into this, the board might be tempted make an offer for one of their own, in Vieira.
Arsenal’s all-time leading goalscorer and the greatest player ever in the history of the club, Henry is Roberto Martinez’s assistant with Belgium. “King” Henry would certainly be a popular choice among fans. However, like compatriot Vieira, his lack of experience acts as a deterrent for his billing as a top contender.