How do you replace Wenger?

By Matt Brown
In Arsenal
Jan 16th, 2017
4 Comments
Credit - Flickr

Credit – Flickr

If this is to be Arsène’s final season at the helm, and if the continued rumours are to be believed, the Frenchman’s reign will come to an end this summer, then where does the club go next? Hand on heart, very few Gooners had ever heard of the Nagoya Grampus Eight manager when he was ushered through the door twenty years ago (though subsequently, it’s incredible how many claim to have been charting his progress…) Casting your eye over the managers at Premier League clubs when Wenger took over shows just how forward thinking that move was:

Brian Little, Ray Harford, Ruud Gullit, Ron Atkinson, Jim Smith, Joe Royle, George Graham, Martin O’Neill, Roy Evans, Sir Alex Ferguson, Bryan Robson, Kevin Keegan, Frank Clark, David Pleat, Graeme Souness, Peter Reid, Gerry Francis, Harry Redknapp and Joe Kinnear.

The list reads like a who’s who of 1970s players, and managerial stalwarts of the 80s and 90s, with Gullit the only one from outside the British Isles. In the years since Wenger took over at Arsenal, the football landscape in this country has changed massively, and what went on at Highbury and then the Emirates has had a lot to do with that. In those 20 years, other Premier League clubs have gone through a staggering 232 managers, and gradually but definitively the tide has turned to foreign coaches. That is particularly the case with the bigger clubs, with marquee international managerial signings being as eagerly anticipated as those on the pitch.

So where do we go? Do we follow the trend, copy the likes of Manchester City, and (God forbid) Chelsea, or do we break the mould again, and go for “another Wenger?” There is no doubt it was a risk two decades ago. If that risk had failed though would we have had the balls to throw the dice a second time? Have we got them now to try it all again?

If he is to leave when his contract expires in the summer, it is hard to think that Wenger won’t have a say in his replacement, even if he doesn’t “go upstairs”. He will be handing over the reins at a crucial period, a similar one to when he took over himself. Online bookies BetStars currently has us 5th favourites to win the league, joint 5th favourites to win the FA Cup, and 8th favourites to win the Champions League. There are now 6 genuine contenders for the top 4, with another 3 or 4 chasing that pack hard. Whoever comes in is going to have to hit the ground running, which lends weight to the fact the board may well go for the safe option and go for a “name”. If Arsène does stay on at the club in some capacity however, it is unlikely an established manager would be happy taking the gig without complete freedom, i.e. without the Frenchman looking down and having a say in everything from transfers to playing style.

Wenger would prefer to bring someone in who he could mould in his own image, someone to carry on the philosophy that he has instilled into every aspect of the club. Whether that is the best way forward is debateable. Would a clean break be better? Whatever happens two things are for certain. Firstly Arsène Wenger’s legacy is intact, and secondly, it is going to be (another!) crucial and pivotal period in this great club’s history.

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A Gooner since the dark days of the mid 80s. Still waiting for number 14.

4 Responses to “How do you replace Wenger?”

  1. Wolfgang says:

    No one is indispensable ,not even rf,if you aint winning the epl/cl every year/ every /2/3 years.Football is about winning and no more for fun in the early years.
    Rf left because he knew he could not keep on winning the epl regularly as before and his dream of dominating the cl was shattered with the 2nd defeat
    by Barca.Deep down he knew it was matter of time before he left or was axed.
    As for Wenger,believe me,he is the last of its kind . As former Malaysia PM Mahatir said ,don’t overstay your welcome if you aint performing ie winning the epl/Fa.
    Hopefully Wenger better go before he lets down the fans with another let down this season.

    • Domhnal MacMathghamhna says:

      Well Wolfgang, you shouldn’t believe everything you think you know! Despite what this article says is almost a certainty, there is NO evidence whatsoever (and media rumours are NOT evidence) that Wenger isn’t signing a new contract. He has said he will take one day at a time and that makes sense. You are not fit to lick the dirt off Wenger’s shoes and yet you call yourself a supporter….with clowns like you it is no wonder so much bad press falls the Arsenal’s way!

      Matt, according to you,¨ if the continued rumours are to be believed¨ and that says it all….rumours spread by discontents and the gutter press, net and TV media have zero credibility and are simply sensationalism run rampant. The rest of your article is interesting BUT positing it on this spurious runmour-mongering is a poor start!

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Let’s leave out the personal attacks please.

    • Ken says:

      The Wengers clan at work to justify another 2 yr contract. This is a deliberate and paid strategy by Arsenal Fc. Articles are oozing from everywhere to cushion the specialist in failure stay. I believe that every piece we read about the difficulty to replace the gaffer is written by a mercenary remunerated by the club including Walter and his girlfriend.
      lol another two years of mediocrity and lies ahead.

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