Potential Replacements for Arsene Wenger in the Future
With the Gunners not playing Stoke till tomorrow, I’ve decided to invite Samuel Iyoha, the resident blogger of an Arsenal blog called Gooner of Steel (cool name, I know!!!). So sit back and relax as this Gooner shares his thoughts on the above named subject
Over to you, Samuel
As Gooners in every corner of the globe prepare to celebrate Arsene Wenger’s 17th year in charge of their darling club, there would be a reminder in their hearts that the Frenchman has less than one year on his current contract. There is no doubt that Wenger has done incredibly well at Arsenal and if we want to enumerate his achievements, we would not finish writing.
However, with one year remaining in his contract there is perceived tension in the air as the Boss even acknowledged that he would put his contract talks on hold until the end of the season, where he would evaluate his performances and decide forthwith.
With such a scenario placed in front of us, there are only three plausible outcomes;
- Arsene Wenger would decide to renew his contract with the club, citing how he has always loved it here and still has so many plans for the future with the team (this is what we all hope for)
- Arsene Wenger would lead his team to a title, probably the Premier League, and maybe a Cup competition, and then decide to leave on a high a la Ferguson, as he has spent so many years with the club and could do with a change of scenery.
- Arsene Wenger would decide not to renew his contract following another fruitless campaign that would see his team go for nine years in a row without a trophy
Many Arsenal fans would definitely prefer the first option, as it would be wonderful seeing Arsene Wenger sticking with the players he has worked so hard to mature their games and turn them to the superstars they are. This squad’s potential is there to see and they are on the brink of greatness, and it would be heartwarming if Wenger stays with the current lot to achieve those targets.
In any case, it would do no harm to look at the possible candidates if he decides to step down at the end of the campaign.
Bergkamp had an extremely successful eleven year career at the club and became a huge fan’s favourite during his time at Highbury. In his honor, the club played its first ever game at the Emirates Stadium in a testimonal match against AFC Ajax, where he’s currently plying his trade as a youth coach.
Personally, I think he stands a huge chance if the post becomes available given that he knows the club very well and would be popular among the fans. Some might point at his inexperience but Pep Guardiola was a rookie when he was contracted by Barcelona.
Dennis Bergkamp is adored as a ‘god’ by the fans and they would be elated to see such a legend in the tactical box giving his insight to his team. Bergkamp was regarded as one of the most intelligent and best technicians in the game, and Arsenal is a team that is molded on the technical side of the game, so having Bergkamp as Wenger’s potential replacement would be a plus as he will pick up what Wenger left.
Michael Laudrup is among the elite set of players that have played for Barcelona and Real Madrid during his playing career. The former Denmark international is presently at Swansea and he is doing a remarkable job.
One feature that would attract him to Gooners is the fact that he practices the same style of football that they have been used to all through Arsene’s reign. Swansea’s sleek passing play earned them plaudits and there were times when they were also known as Swanse-lona, as their football was a prototype of FC Barcelona.
In Laudrup’s debut campaign with the Swans, he won the Capital One against all odds and also signed one of the revelations of last season, Miguel Michu. That signing proved that Laudrup has a keen eye for spotting good talent, a trait that can be associated with Arsenal.
In the early part of Arsene Wenger’s career with the club, he had a very mean all-English defense with Nigel Winterburn and Lee Dixon as fullbacks while the famous ‘defensive trio’ of the mid-90s consisting of Martin Keown, Tony Adams and Steve Bould rotated in the central defensive positions.
The latter has been the club’s assistant manager since July 2012 after the retirement of Pat Rice and he’s widely known for his defensive qualities, and he was lauded when the Gunners managed three clean sheets in a row in the start of the 2012/13 campaign. He has transferred those qualities to the present squad, as we have seen massive improved performances from Jenkinson, Koscielny, Gibbs and Sagna. Along with the aforementioned two, he is a massive favorite.
When Carl Jenkinson joined the club in 2011, his performance in the 8-2 drubbing in the hands of Manchester United was so torrid and the Gooners wondered whether the Arsenal hierarchy was right to sell Farmer Eboue to Galatasaray. Last season, more injuries to Sagna paved the way for Jenkinson to get more games and under the tutelage of Dark Defensive Lord Bouldimort, Jenko’s performances massively improved and he now inspires confidence at the back.
Kieran Gibbs is another player that has improved massively in his attacking and defensive aspects of his game. His recent outing against Marseille was a testament of how much he has improved.
Under the reins of a manager like Steve Bould, the Gunners might not possibly be as entertaining as you would expect them to be but their defense could be a force to be reckoned with.
FRANK DE BOER
Like Laudrup, the Ajax tactician is a favorite because of his qualities. He has become one of the most successful young managers in Europe; leading Ajax to three consecutive Eredivisie titles, which is certainly not an easy achievement. In addition, his experience in working with young players would bode well for the team.
De Boer’s side doesn’t have all the household names you would expect to see in world football but his dominance in the Dutch League has shown that he’s a manager that can work with the resources afforded to him, while some of his players will be poached out, such as Toby Alderweireld’s move to Atletico Madrid.
Arsenal is a team that followed this trend in the past, but this summer has proved different.
Piski played under Arsene Wenger’s tutelage for two seasons, scoring 31 goals in the process. In both seasons, he won the J-League’s Player of the Year award and he also played a lot of games for Yugoslavia and Serbia before going into administrative positions after hanging his boots.
Stojkovic became the manager of Nagoya Grampus in 2008 after administrative roles with Serbia’s FA and Red Star Belgrade. His arrival at the helm was met with some criticism from the Nagoya fans because despite the fact that he had a glittering career with the club, he had never managed any other club before.
Stojkovic finally got some success for Nagoya in 2010, leading them to their first ever J-League title. The manager stated that he has constantly kept in touch with Arsene Wenger, receiving advice and he has learnt a lot from the French sensei.
Funnily enough, there was a time when Arsene Wenger stated that he would like Dragan Stojkovic to be his successor because they share the same ideas and strive for perfect football.
Apart from the top five, other possible names that would be in the mix are: Tony Adams, Laurent Blanc, Frank Rijkaard, Thierry Henry (if he gets his coaching badges) and Roberto Martinez.
Dear Gooners, no need to panic, I don’t think Wenger would quit at the end of the season, but it is a possibility and we have to guide our loins so as not to be caught off guard.
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