The managers most fit to take over for Wenger, according to Arsenal’s stated wishlist

Arsenal have begun their search for a new manager for the first time in 22 years, with possible competition from Chelsea’s Abramovich if his notoriously fragile patience runs out again after the season.

On Friday’s already infamous announcement, Gazidis revealed the different principles the board will be looking for in their candidates for the fresh Arsenal job.

“Someone who plays exciting and progressive football. But I think there is also a significant thing at Arsenal in how the candidate represents the club. We need to make sure we don’t lose his (Wenger’s) qualities and his values,” Gazidis said about the process.

He also said they have to be open to new ideas and brave in their decision when hiring a new manager, much like they were when they appointed Wenger from Japan in 1996.

In addition to playing entertaining and modern football, and to keep Wenger’s values at the club, Gazidis and co are looking for someone who will continue to introduce young players to the team.

There are understandably many candidates.

Despite Arsenal recent form, the club is extremely desirable for just about any manager out there: Healthy finances, a patient board, state of the art facilities and stadium located in a desirable city (Alexis chose Arsenal not Liverpool…), a vast international fan base, plays in the most popular league in the world and enjoys an above average squad that with a new face and proper guidance would improve dramatically.

And as David Moyes recently said, when he took charge at Man United they were the champions (more pressure) with an old squad. Arsenal have a relatively young squad that has underperformed for a while.

So who are the most prominent and speculated candidates?

  • Max Allegri (Juventus)
  • Luis Enrique (klubbløs)
  • Diego Simeone (Atletico Madrid)
  • Carlo Ancelotti (klubbløs)
  • Joachim Löw (Tyskland)
  • Maurizio Sarri (Napoli)
  • Leonardo Jardim (Monaco)
  • Brendan Rodgers (Celtic)
  • Unai Emery (PSG – men mye rykter om at Tuchel skal ta over)
  • Eddie Howe (Bournemouth)
  • Marco Silva (Watford)
  • Julian Nagelsmann (Hoffenheim)
  • Eduardo Berizzo (klubbløs – tidligere Sevilla)
  • Mikel Arteta (asst. manager City)
  • Thierry Henry (asst. manager Belgia)
  • Patrick Vieira (New York City)

Through the guidelines Gazidis presented us with:

  1. Play exciting and progressive football.
  2. Give the youth a chance.
  3. Keep the current Arsenal values created by Wenger.

Who then fits the billing?

I assume Gazidis’ definition on “exciting” and “progressive” football means playing entertaining, positive attacking football, with some innovation sprinkled on top.

Give youth a chance is self-explainatory.

Keeping the current values in the club probably means to preserve the “class” and “style” Wenger will leave behind. To never give up and have a positive perspective on football. To always try to win but at the same time “win in the right way”, the “beautiful way”.

If we take all this into consideration the list shrinks. Some managers, including Simeone who is a fantastic manager, are excluded because they don’t fit the principles put out by the board.

I’ve also excluded managers with to high risk and inexperience to their name, like Henry, Vieira and Arteta. Although, they would be very interesting should the assistant role become available.

Here are the finalists:

  • Max Allegri (Juventus)
  • Luis Enrique (klubbløs)
  • Joachim Löw (Tyskland)
  • Maurizio Sarri (Napoli)
  • Leonardo Jardim (Monaco)
  • Unai Emery (PSG – heavily rumoured to be replaced by Tuchel)
  • Eddie Howe (Bournemouth)
  • Marco Silva (Watford)

All of these are suitable contenders through the wishes of the board. They’re all a little different, but they all play positive football with focus on scoring goals. Most of them utilise young players frequently and the majority possess most of the values Arsenal contain.

Who is your favourite?

From this point on I’ll reason who my favourite candidate is.

I have a fourth principle, though: a motivator. Someone who can light a fire under the players and keep poor performances accountable. Something Wenger lacked, and a big reason why it seems Arsenal just “switch off” sometimes and can’t keep the form or momentum throughout the season.

1. Leonardo Jardim


Jardim, like Wenger, have had lots of success developing young players. He is responsible for giving Mbappé enough time to flourish in Monaco, before PSG bought he for a fee that could rise to £175m ($245m).

Jardim transformed a mediocre Monaco side into a team full of desirable players in short time. Amongst them, Bakayoko (now Chelsea), Mendy (now City), B. Siva (now City), Sidibe (rumoured everywhere), Fabinho (rumoured everywhere) and Lemar (rumoured everywhere including Arsenal). Maybe he could pack one or two of them with him to London?

You can’t achieve that kind of progress in such short time without incredible ability to constantly develop and motivate players to perform at their best.

This is exactly what Arsenal need. Someone who can facilitate the full potential of the players. Especially Bellerin, Chambers, Holding, Maitland-Niles, Iwobi and perhaps Wilshere. Players we still haven’t seen blossom. Nelson, Nketiah and Willock as well. And the rest of the youth teams’ players, who have dominated this year.

Jardim has a clear identity to his tactics, which basically consists of playing very direct and attacking 4-4-2 style. This would give Aubameyang and Lacazette the chance to play together up top, most likely to deadly effect.

As far as I gather he has little influence when it comes to player transfers. That’s probably a good thing. Arsenal can’t bring in someone who will demand control over transfers now that Mislintat and Sanllehi have arrived, and gained so much pull behind the scenes. That would simply be contradicting with Arsenal’s new direction and its infrastructure.

And the bonus is, if Jardim ends up at Arsenal it opens up the door for Wenger to rejoin Monaco. This way the Frenchman could end his career in sunny Monaco and the club’s impressive youth system, in his home country.

Luis Enrique and Maurizio Sarri

are interesting solutions too. My number two and three. Without going into to details, it should be mentioned that Enrique and Sanllehi know each other well from their time in Barcelona. Sarri, except the beautiful football he has his Napoli side play, smokes like chimney. Maybe he could bring back Szczesny then…

Do you know who James “Gunnerblog” McNicholas is?? Check out his profile here.

Twitter: AFCandersen

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