Arsene Wenger will step down this summer after 22 years in charge at Arsenal, making available one of the most coveted managerial jobs in English football – and there are likely to be plenty of willing candidates to replace him.
From former Gunners like Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta, to experienced heads like Carlo Ancelotti and Massimiliano Allegri, via young firebrands like Julian Nagelsmann and Domenico Tedesco, we take a look at the leading runners and riders to become the next Arsenal manager.
Arsene Wenger discussed Vieira’s “potential” as his successor earlier this week. The former Arsenal captain would bring an element of continuity and would be popular with supporters, but his relative lack of experience counts against him. His links with Manchester City also complicate matters – Vieira is currently managing MLS franchise New York City FC, part of the City Football Group owned by City’s Abu Dhabi overlords.
The Germany national team manager is believed to be high on the club’s shortlist. Since taking the head coach role in 2006, Low has reestablished Germany as a powerhouse of international football, winning the 2014 World Cup in impressive style. His involvement in the 2018 tournament this summer could delay any announcement.
The former Arsenal midfielder has had an active role in Pep Guardiola’s first two years at Manchester City behind the scenes, working closely with the club’s midfield trio and providing insight into opponents as Guardiola has adapted to the league. His inexperience – the 36-year-old has never been a head coach – would give Wenger added justification to stay on at the Emirates in a directive capacity.
The Celtic manager would be a divisive choice; he took Liverpool close to the Premier League title but ultimately departed in 2015 with a mixed reputation. However, he has had undeniable success in Scotland, winning a sensational treble last season during a remarkable 69-game unbeaten run in domestic competition.
Jardim is hugely admired at Arsenal for how he turned Monaco into one of Europe’s best sides, winning Ligue 1 last season ahead of Paris Saint-Germain and reaching the Champions League semi-finals, beating Tottenham and Manchester City along the way. The Portuguese did so playing attacking football and using mainly young players, and operating in an environment where Monaco’s best players were always up for sale – similarities to how Wenger has worked over the past decade.
The former Mainz and Borussia Dortmund manager built an impressive reputation in the Bundesliga, playing expansive football that would suit Arsenal’s traditions under Wenger. However, he is expected to take over at Paris Saint-Germain in the summer with Unai Emery’s tenure set to come to an end in the French capital.
The 47-year-old coach, who departed Barcelona last season after winning five trophies including the Champions League, counts on supporters inside the north London club’s hierarchy and shares an existing relationship with Raul Sanllehi, Arsenal’s new head of football relations. That would help smooth any arrival, but the former Spain midfielder has scared off some inside the club by demanding a salary on a par with Wenger. He is currently on sabbatical.
The Hoffenheim manager worked his way up through the club’s ranks, winning the U19 Bundesliga title, and has impressed in charge of the senior team, finishing fourth last season and qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history. The 30-year-old German is expected to have a big future in coaching, though he has found 2017-18 a more difficult campaign.
Juventus would like Allegri to stay beyond the current season, having won three Serie A titles in succession, and the 50-year-old is contracted until 2020. He has also been linked with Chelsea as doubt continues over Antonio Conte’s future at Stamford Bridge, but is of interest to Arsenal’s hierarchy too should he make himself available this summer.
Like Negelsmann, the 32-year-old has built an impressive reputation as a young coach in the Bundesliga. The German-Italian, who speaks five languages and is a qualified engineer, began his career in charge of Stuttgart’s Under 17s. This season he has taken Schalke to best-of-the-rest status, currently flying high in second behind Bayern Munich in the top flight.
The Italian with a stack of medals has experience of the Premier League, winning the title with Chelsea in 2009-10, and is currently available having been sacked by Bayern Munich in September.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies