Three of the leading candidates to succeed Arsene Wenger at Arsenal should be available this summer
It is hard to believe Arsene Wenger can weather the latest storm that has developed around him in recent days, but who can Arsenal turn to as they search for a replacement?
As was evident at Manchester United after Alex Ferguson’s retirement, a period of reinvention will be required for Arsenal’s next manager and with that in mind, they need to ensure they have a man with vast experience and presence who will be capable of filling the huge void Wenger will leave behind.
Here are some of the contenders who may be available (and willing) to succeed Wenger at Emirates Stadium.
CARLO ANCELOTTI - The former AC Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea, PSG and Bayern Munich boss has made it clear that he is keen to return to the Premier League and he would represent an steady presence at Arsenal as they look to rebuild following the end of the Wenger era.
Ancelotti’s lack of domestic title winning success at his various clubs is a blot on his record, but this three-time Champions League winning manager was a Premier League and FA Cup double winning boss at Chelsea in 2010 and at the age of 58, he could enjoy a lengthy run as Arsenal manager.
ANTONIO CONTE - The Chelsea manager has appeared to be keen to get out of his current position for most of this season, with his frustrations with the club’s owners aired in public time and again.
If he is relieved of his duties at Stamford Bridge in the coming weeks and rejects the offer of a return to his old job as Italy national team boss, Conte would be an outstanding candidate to take over at Arsenal.
RAFAEL BENITEZ - The Newcastle manager has vast experience in the Premier League and in Europe, with the fine work he has done under difficult circumstances this season adding to his reputation.
Benitez would jump at the chance to take over another big club and he would have the arrogance and confidence to succeed at Arsenal.
JOACHIM LOW - Germany’s World Cup winning manager is being strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid this summer, with the studious and highly respected tactician certain to be in demand if he ends his long reign as an international manager after Russia 2018.
Low is relatively untested in club management, yet his 12-year reign as Germany boss have helped to establish him as a coach with impressive tactical nous who makes the right decisions under pressure.
BRENDAN RODGERS - The Celtic boss has emerged as a candidate to succeed Wenger and while his reputation was shredded in his final few months at Liverpool, his success in Scotland backs up the perception that he has plenty to offer at the highest level of the game.
That said, Rodgers appointment may have echoes of David Moyes’s coronation at Manchester United following Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013, with doubts over his credentials adding to the complexities of replacing a long established manager.
LUIS ENRIQUE - The former Barcelona boss would appear to tick a few of the boxes Arsenal will look for as they seek a replacement for Wenger, with his eagerness to embrace passing football and top level experience attractive for Gunners chiefs.
However, he struggled in his final season as Barca boss and clashed with star names, which would set alarm bells ringing for potential employers.
THIERRY HENRY/PATRICK VIEIRA/MIKEL ARTETA - Hiring a former Arsenal to take over as manager would be a huge gamble and it may be that Wenger would look to remain involved in the set-up if this move was to take place.
Belgium assistant coach Henry should not be considered for such a huge role with no managerial experience and while Vieira and Arteta have some coaching credentials, they are not the right men to be drafted into Arsenal at this difficult time for the club.
VERDICT - Succeeding a manager who has been in place since September 1996 will be no easy task and Arsenal should look for an experienced manager with Premier League experience.
Conte would be an outstanding candidate if he is willing to stay in London, with Ancelotti and Benitez also great options who should be available next summer.