The fate of Arsène Wenger at Arsenal has finally been decided. After years of uncertainty and Wenger Out banners, the Frenchman will depart the club at the end of this season.
He leaves a year ahead of the expiration of the two-year contract he was granted last year despite many calling for a change at the club.
With the club’s performance in the Premier League becoming increasingly disappointing, this season marked the first time in 20 years that they failed to qualify for the Champions League.
Three Premier League titles which includes going an entire season undefeated in the 2003/04 season, seven FA Cups, and 20 successive years in the Champions League is a phenomenal record.
Despite having one less competition to worry about they are currently sixth in the Premier League and look certain not to achieve a top four finish, hanging their only hopes on winning the Europa League.
Former players, fans and commentators have been paying tribute to the manager who is currently the Premier League’s longest-serving manager having helmed 823 games at the club.
The last five years have been pretty poor showing for Arsenal. Following their move from Highbury to the Emirates, a new era was ushered in. But not in a good sense. Failed attempts at the league title and underwhelming attempts at the Champions League.
The constant of this downturn has been Arsène Wenger has been a constant. The last 18 months have seen an increasing backlash toward him with more and more people joining the Wenger out campaign.
He should have been sacked for the 4-0 annihilation at the hands of Liverpool alone in August. There is no life in Wenger’s team any more.
Arsenal used to be high-octane and electrifying. Now, they are slow and spiritless. It’s time for change.
Anyone who even attempts to fill Wenger’s shoes will have a big job on their hands. The list of options can be narrowed down to the following managers:
The only manager to have won the UEFA Champions League three times and reached four finals. Ancelotti will come with years of experience. Despite being sacked from Bayern Munich earlier this season, he is still extremely highly rated. Will he want to come to England though? There have been rumours that he has wanted to try his hand at international management
He took over from Antonio Conte at Juventus and has since guided them to three Serie A titles and has led them to two Champions League finals also. There are strong rumours linking Allegri for a move away from Juventus and maybe a move to Arsenal would be good for both him and the club.
He might not have the managerial experience but Henry is a fan favourite. He will have the backing of the fans at Arsenal which might give him time to bed in. He has shown on Sky Sport that he is knowledgable about the game and has been working under Roberto Martinez at Belgium. But, while Martinez is a great attacking manager, his lack of defensive care cost him his job at Everton. If Henry is learning from him then there might be a risk he will pick this up and this might not bring in the desired change needed at Arsenal.
Loew has spent 12 years as the manager of Germany and has led them to a great deal of success. He will once again lead Germany into the World Cup this summer and as favourites. His win percentage is 80 percent and he is still relatively young, aged 58. Arsenals board seem attracted by his long-term outlook and he might be the right person to come in to reignite Arsenal.
The Argentine has been manager of Atlético Madrid since 2011 and has done admirably since then. He has a track record of success in La Liga and the Champions League. This is noting that he is competing with Barcelona and Real Madrid, who have dominated Spain. There is only so far he can take them and maybe its time to move on, like many of his top players. With a number of rumours linking star player Antoine Griezmann with a move away from the Spanish club, it might be time for Simeone to follow suit and try his luck at the English game.
Maybe someone who won’t be every Arsenal fans favourite, Rodgers has the experience to fill Wenger’s boots. He has Premier League experience and has achieved a great deal of success in Scotland with Celtic. Surly he will be looking for a route back into the English game and Arsenal might just be the perfect fit.
The former German centre back has sewn a great reputation in his short time as manager of 1899 Hoffenheim. He has regularly taken the German club to top half finished in the Bundesliga. Despite being contracted at the club until 2021, a move to Arsenal might tempt him away from Germany.
Vieira won three Premier League titles under Wenger and is now in third season as manager of New York City FC following a spell in charge of youth development at Manchester City. The least experienced of all the candidates, he was listed by Wenger this week as one of several former players “who played here who have potential and the intelligence and the knowledge to do it”. It would be a popular choice with the fans but the chance may have come too soon.
Images credits to Flickr.