Should Wenger Go, When & Who Will Replace Him?

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Jan 13th, 2013

The subject of the position of Arsenal manager is a touchy subject. The loudest voices seem to come from those well-known groups, the WOBs and the AKBs and both will try to convince you that their opinion is the correct opinion to hold.

I sit firmly on the fence and have the splinters in my ass to prove it. I’m not a WOB nor am I AKB although I admit to my right butt cheek drooping a little more to the AKB side.

The media (ahem, The Mirror) will have you believe that 96% of Arsenal fans want him out and that Arsenal are doomed to mediocrity as long as he is at the helm. For what it is worth, I don’t think any one group can claim or have the media claim on their behalf that they speak for the entirety of the fan-base because they don’t.

So whilst some believe Wenger’s time was up long ago others believe that he is still the right man for the job but that he is being held back by the board and it is the board that needs to change.

A quick thought on the board; do you really think that if the board left and Usmanov took over that he would actually support Wenger? Wenger would be out at the first sign of a Stoke long ball or a Vermaelen forward drive when both fullbacks are attacking and Arteta is in the oppositions half, ie within 2 games at max.

Forward…. who’s going to take us there?

I’m an Arsenal supporter first and foremost, I do not support any one man over the club however I do worry what will happen to Arsenal if Wenger leaves or is sacked.

Wenger is coming towards the end of his tenure as Arsenal manager whether it be at the end of the season or at the end of a contract extension (if he extends) but it is coming and it’s not far off. The future after Wenger is foggy, some say it is bleak and others say it is green but it’s not, it’s foggy. All future is foggy because we just. don’t. know.

I think the ideal situation would be for Wenger to leave on a trophy because otherwise it sullies his legend and let us not make bones about it, Wenger is a living legend at Arsenal football club and what the man has achieved for the club is immense. I think all Arsenal supporters and Wenger himself don’t want him to end on a barren spell.

That situation looks less and less likely the more the years go on and the more the papers exaggerate our situation/signings/out-going transfers/rivals signings etc etc.

Still the man? You might just miss him when he’s gone

Despite the last 7 years Wenger is still a great manager and still a great man. Something is holding him back and it could be the board, it could be money-clubs or it could just be a lack of fresh ideas. We just. don’t. know. We should be careful what we wish for because we might just regret him leaving too soon.

So who could realistically replace him? For me, that really depends on the circumstance of the club at the time of his departure.

If he left on the back of a few more titles/cups and the fans were reasonably sated then we could go for a young, fresh manager who buys into our philosophy and who can continue providing us with the attractive football we have become accustomed to.

If he leaves with no recent trophies then we need a “big name” manager to take over to sate the fans who would be baying for blood if we signed a “nobody”.

The big name managers are really limited to Mourinho and Guardiola but I have my reservations about both.

Mourinho as we all know is a great manager, a massive git if you are a rival supporter but someone you cannot deny is good. The issues surrounding him would be wages, Wenger is well paid but Jose already earns about £5m more per season, and style of football. Mourinho is a top manager but would Arsenal fans take to his brand of football? Sure, he might make us winners again but can we all honestly say we would take to a less stylish brand of football if we could compete and win in style with someone else? That said, Arsenal have no chance of getting Mourinho.

I’m no.:1 bitches.

Guardiola is the other big name but I have my reservations about him too. He is an excellent tactician, there’s no doubt about it, but could he handle the type of management that would be required in the Premier League (basically running the club) or rebuilding a club? I’m not entirely convinced although do not mistake that for a slight on his brilliance.

Pep is regarded as the best manager in the world by some because of his astronomical achievements with Barcelona but I think his brilliance is sometimes exaggerated or at least crucial facts are left out of the equation. Pep inherited a squad blessed with 8/9 of the finest players at the time and many of those players are still considered to be the best of their generation. He then spent over €200m “improving” that team. Can Arsenal offer him a team full of superstars and €200m to work with on his first day? No we can’t. What Pep gave to Barcelona was a discipline and a style of play that was unmatchable and breathtakingly efficient. He could bring that to Arsenal but would it be enough? Maybe if Wenger stayed on and had more time to identify players and maybe take on a baseball-esque General Manager’s job and left the coaching to Pep it might work and that is something I’d be a huge fan of.

You want trophies? No problem, only €200m for you my friend

However we also have to be realistic. Can we get Pep? Financially, probably, as even though he could earn more at City, Chelsea or United I don’t really see him as money-motivated and may see Arsenal as a better challenge but the lure of United might be too much for him. And then there is the possibility that he may return to Barca.

If Wenger left on a winning high and the fans were sated enough to afford a young manager time to grow then there are other managers to consider and probably more realistic targets. The first is predictably Klopp and others such as Stojkovic and Moyes have been mentioned as well, even AVB before he went to Spurs, how one name that doesn’t come up often but I think is worth a mention is Martinez of Wigan.

Klopp, is a fantastic manager in the Wenger mould who has proven he can win with a limited budget and a team full of promising talents. He is an astute tactician and plays attractive football and brings a winning pedigree.

Stojkovic is the man they claim Wenger has hand picked as his successor. His philosophy is supposedly identical to Wenger’s so maybe a “clone” would be good for continuity but do we want a carbon copy or the best of the man with a few fresh ideas of his own?

You call me Wenger’s mini-me… I shoot you in the face, Belgrade-stylie

Moyes is an outside bet and a manager I would not be entirely opposed to. He has proven over the years that he has an eye for quality talent at reasonable prices such as Jagielka, Baines, Fellaini, Jelavic, Arteta and Lescott. He has also shown that he is not afraid to blood a youngster if they are ready and that fits well with Arsenal. He regular keeps Everton at or above their level with next to no money and whilst that’s a positive it can also be a negative as it raises the question “can he still do it if he has money or is he at his best when limited?”. Not really top level for me.

Why so happy Dave? – I’ve just found a quid in the sofa.

Villas-Boas is a complete no-no now that he has been stained by not only Spurs but Chelsea as well.

Martinez is actually my secret favourite for the job if, and only if, Wenger retires on trophies (plural). He is a good manager, plays attractive football but knows how to change it up when required. He has also blooded some decent players and has picked up a few bargains. He does well with a limited group of players, talent-wise, yet still manages to keep them up every year. Some will argue that he fights to stave of relegation every year but that is probably above the level of the club he manages. I really like Wigan but I don’t think they are a “Premier League club” so I think Martinez performs above his level and could be the young, fresh manager we are looking for and he has experience in the league which is always a bonus. If he managed a mid-table team I think he’d be on the radar of many bigger clubs and could be a future great.

A future great?

I think most supporters are in agreement that Pep should be our next manager and my only reservation with him is that he hasn’t proven he can do it from scratch the way the other managers have. I think many would also like the next manager to be British and Moyes ticks that box and whilst it would be nice to have a Brit manager I’m not overly concerned with their passport. In the right circumstances it would be Martinez for me but I’m aware I am in the minority on this one.

For me the clear winner for next manager is Klopp. He is intelligent, a good tactician, has fresh ideas, a winning pedigree and decent connections in Germany which I feel will be the next rich scouting ground for Arsenal FC.

Arsenal’s next manager? A man with a grin to rival my own

The only question for me now is when do you replace Wenger? I’m happy for him to see his contract out but if the opportunity arose to get Klopp or Pep in the summer and Wenger was happy to move upstairs (I think it would be sacrilege to remove him from the club completely unless that is what he wanted) then I think we should do that.

In the mean-time though I am fully behind Wenger and the players because I’m an Arsenal supporter and it’s match day and that is what supporters do.

What do you think? Agree/disagree? Would you choose someone different? Please leave a comment and share your ideas.

Thanks for reading! Please comment on this post, subscribe by email, share with friends and follow me on twitter (@thedanielcowan).

Advertise your business here! Click here for details .

About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

33 Responses to “Should Wenger Go, When & Who Will Replace Him?”

  1. Nir says:

    Wenger shouldnt go yet Daniel, Thank you!

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I don’t think he should either. It’s his last year next year so if a top manager becomes available in the summer and there is mutual interest and Wenger is happy to step aside I think we should do it. That said, I’m not desperate for him to leave.

  2. Nir says:

    If he is to retire (or sadly sacked by Usmanov guy) then Moyes or Klopp suits the bill better than others out there, I think.
    Hope Wenger do win soem trophies with Arsenal again before waving Goodbye.

    • SAGunner says:

      Moyes does not have enough class to rule at the emirates – He is a good talent scout – better then AW example Filanie – rate him better along Vierra if not more useful at this time for Arsenal

  3. Madge says:

    I’ve no idea who will take over from AW & my own
    Preference is by the by. I do not agree with supporters
    Trying to hound him out, he’s astute enough to know that
    Himself, whatever fans say. AW is our manager & should be
    Suppored until he leaves, whatever our own feelings. He is not
    Perfect just like the rest of us but he has earnt our loyalty & respect.
    I for one will always give him that. When he dies leave I will support
    His sucessor as I have him.

  4. SAGunner says:

    The ever ongoing managers saga… you conveniently forget how many duds Wenger has signed with his bargain basement signings… djouro – the russian – scillatchi – the brazilian full back who likes to play cetre forward Santos I think his name is- shamak – the other big guy from denmark i think – Bendner. And a few more – all that money could have bought us 2 good players. Or paid correct wages and have kept some of our stars.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      It’s easy to say that but Bendtner was a good prospect and is still a good player, just a bit too egotistical to realise his potential. Chamakh is good in a 2 man system and was a good signing when he first joined, as was Arshavin. You cannot blame the manager for their level dropping. Djourou was also a youth player and Squillaci joined with a solid CV but he never adapted to the league which is hardly Wenger’s fault. All teams sign foreign players who don’t work out.

    • Nir says:

      mate, you have to remember, henry, cesc, viera, rvp, nasri were also bought by Wenger before we heard of them

  5. Jim2k4 says:

    Anyone one would be an improvement , the sooner the better

  6. DoubleDoubleDouble says:

    For some time I have thought that Wenger will ‘move upstairs’ in 2014 and leave a huge wedge of cash for the new man to mould his own team.

    If, and it’s a big if, Laudrup can keep Swansea competitive for the next couple of seasons, then he could be in with a shout – knowledge of the Spanish market, attractive football, huge clout from his days as a player.

    I think the next manager will have an intimate knowledge of either the Spanish or German markets, as they are regarded as the ones with the most depth at the moment.

    The appointment of Martinez wouldn’t come as a great shock to me, neither would Klopp, and, as I said, maybe Laudrup if he continues his current trajectory.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Laudrup is a good shout and maybe someone I would have included if he had been around for a while longer.

    • DoubleDoubleDouble says:

      His management CV is pretty impressive in Spain, though he still seems to have the same insecurity issues that he had as a player.

      Perhaps a club like Arsenal, with the loyalty that they have shown to Wenger, would be ideal for him. His teams’ playing style, although not identical to Wengers’, is very much of the same ethos.

      Next season will be the big one for Laudrup, if he can get Swansea to finish in the top half, then he would be a serious contender. I agree that it’s too early at the moment, but then Wenger doesn’t look like moving before his contract expires anyway.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Excellent points you’ve made there. Certainly food for thought.

  7. mario says:

    wenger is a cheque book manager without actually spending any money

  8. Benjamin says:

    Martinez will NEVER get the Arsenal job. I disagree with your view of him. Wigan plays well for what…half a season if that. His tactics are a work in progress. Sure he gets his team to pass the ball and try to attack but so do Holloway, Pardew, Lambert etc. My point is that going the route of Liverpool and throwing out lot in with a manager from a small team would wreck us. IF and Arsene leaves, Klopp seems a perfect fit.

    In many ways he would be like Wenger all those years ago. Arsene arrived with an intimate knowledge of French football and we had a leg up. One that has disappeared. Klopp would not only bring insight of German football but he knows how to drill teams and have players work in systems. Case and point, Marco Reus who has been exceptional for them in a variety of positions this season. PLUS we might be able to get Gotze! Hah.

    But bottom line, I still want Wenger to leave us on a high.

  9. Wrightydenhenry says:

    Whilst it would be ideal to leave on a trophy (and I am sure this is what he wants to do) if there is nothing at the end of this season it is surely time for change. Whatever happens the club should make sure his exit is dignified and replace him with Laudrup?

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      A good young manager and someone I would have considered in this piece if he had been around a while longer. Though I feel the next man will need to have a huge reputation if the fans are going to be patient with him.

  10. Tomas says:

    Wenger leaving on a trophy or two, highly unlikely! As for him moving up into the boardroom while a new manager is trying to implement a new system ? , good luck with that! This man is a macro manager and he personally measures every blade of grass on the park. His transfer record is average at best , for every superstar he signs there are three busts. If you want him out , he has to be out completely and only then can the new manager be able to wor effectively . As for Pep Giardiola, yes he inherited enormous talent at Barca but what he did with it was simply astonishing . He will succeed anywhere he chooses to go and I would love to see him at Arsenal. Fabregas said it best when describing practice sessions at Barca made Wenger sessions child’s play.

  11. twisted says:

    AW will not leave until he is forced out. The contract situation coming up will be awkward to say the least. It is time to go Arsene, you have had your day and we thank you. A new start is required, a new manager should not be picked by the manager, this is North Korean style !

    We should not be fearful of the future at all, there are many managers out there that could do no worse than we have done these past 7-8 years on the football front. They may not have economics degrees but who cares ? that’s what the board is supposed to be for !

    Laudrup reminds me of a younger Wenger and I am keeping my eye closely on his team !

  12. John says:

    Frank de Boer? Great article on him here:

    As you can read even Juergen Klopp is a fan of FdB
    Lots of interesting thing happening at Ajax at the moment, well worth following if you’re interested in football in general.

  13. Yorkshiregunner says:

    Ideal world Pep takes over end of season.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Thanks Andy. I love the guy and hope it happens at some point in the future but I’m still ever so slightly sceptical of him in a role where the squad he inherits is so much poorer than the one he inherited at Barca and he doesn’t have €200m to fill the gaps. That said I’m sure his coaching methods are ace and his ethos would garner results.

  14. Frimponged says:

    Great post. I agree with you – I don’t think Wenger will stay around much longer. He’ll probably run out his contract though.

    I think Pep Guardiola would be perfect (given Wenger goes ‘upstairs’ to guide him like you suggested) or someone like Klopp. I’m a fan of Moyes as well. But I honestly have no clue who will replace him, haha. Everything can happen.

    Somebody here also suggested Laudrup from Swansea. He’s definitely someone to look out for in the future.

    I’d like to suggest Frank de Boer though, from Ajax. He’s the next big thing of the Dutch coaching world. Him coming in anytime soon is unlikely but I wouldn’t mind him at Arsenal in the future. Ajax have a similar philosophy to Arsenal so I think he’d be a perfect fit. He could bring Bergkamp with him!

    Great post as always, Daniel. Would be nice if we win a prize before Wenger leaves. Even a FA Cup would be superb, imo.

  15. RealGunner says:

    Klopp is someone who could suit us well for the future, Dortmund has been a revelation and remember most of their first team players left in the 2 seasons he won the title still teamz doing good, whichz something I would prefer. I have my reservations bout Pep, Hez good but hez got some of the best players and probably the best player to have played the game in his team…hez an abject failure in transfer market, so he wdnt suit us well.

  16. Dan M says:

    Hi Daniel, great piece! I think Klopp or Moyes would be excellent choices for Wenger’s replacement. Another possibility (and I feel terrible for saying this) could be Rafa… He is an excellent man manager, has a good track record (the only reason Chelsea fans don’t like him is because he could stand toe to toe with Mourinho) and I actually think he would do a good job with this squad at his disposal. It’s a scenario I could see happening, as he is likely to be available when Wenger leaves/steps down and he could be a decent stop gap option if someone better isn’t immediately available. What do you think?

    • SAGunner says:

      Think you may have a point – though he certainly is not my favourite person…the question in the long run is going to be if – whoever the new guy may be – is going to knuckle down to this bargain basement transfer strategy which seems to have been thrust upon AW – I am sure given the license as are the chelsea and man city guys – the likes of Matta would have been arsenal players and RvP would still have been here holding up trophies.
      If Walcott is worth the fee now being brandished about – so was our hardworking centre fielder who left us against his will to elsewhere in Europe… this guy was good and still has not been nearly replaced. One thing is for sure AW has proved to be a good seller of home made products – unfortunately!!!! So we are rich in finance but low on quality.

    • SAGunner says:

      I believe he is bound hand and foot to do his transfer business in the bargain basement – not his fault – He is forced to seek in the quagmire for talent – some hits many misses. I say bust the bank and bring in Filainie – he will play a vierra roll but possibly even stroger and better.

  17. Craftygooner says:

    I’m for spending £200m & winning everything #getpep
    I’m getting old!

  18. Prince gooner says:

    Denial sweetheart, did you start supporting Arsenal few seasons ago, Martinez is a rubbish manager the fact you think he is any good means to me that you properly know more about how to get to sesame street than football.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      My name is Daniel, not Denial and your joke is not funny and not intelligent. I’ve been supporting Arsenal for over 20 years.

      The fact that you think Martinez is a rubbish manager shows that you know as much about football as an ant knows about quantum physics.

  19. Am says:

    People may disagree but I think Martinez or Moyes are better options for Arsenal. They are people who will work within our structure and will have good knowledge of the league as well as our history. Both young managers who can develop into great managers.

    • SAGunner says:

      What you are in essence suggesting is that either of the two enumerated managers would have done a better job than Wenger if given the same situation. I am not sure that Wenger is fully to blame (although I would like to see a change) –
      I have a question – why has Wenger been buing in the bargain basement – if he had bought less but spent more on good players i.e. buy one good player inplace of two mediocre dudes, we would not have been in this position now – Half the guys he bought are playing at other clubs on loan because they are not good enough for Arsenal – Bad buying!!!! Bad management!!!! He has a bad habit of buying than trying – he should be trying than buying

Leave a Reply to RealGunner Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

facebook comments: