Who's next for Arsenal?
I began writing this piece earlier in the week and honestly never actually thought I would be doing so with so much certainty on the table. But as we all no doubt know by now (and if you don't, where have you been?!) Arsène Wenger has confirmed that he will step down, at the end of the season. With that in mind, we have to look at who the possible appointments are to, not replace Wenger, but become the new Manager of Arsenal Football Club and spearhead the new chapter, going forward. So without further ado here are the top 5 candidates for the position of Arsenal Manager, 2018/19. 5. Julian Nagelsmann.
Being one of the younger possible candidates at only 30 years old, Julian Nagelsmann would be proposed with the long-term in mind as opposed to a stop gap manager and whilst he doesn't have too much experience in managing clubs with big egos such as the likes of Bayern, Barcelona et al, he is an extremely ambitious and confident man in such as that he rejected the chance to manage Bayern's youth team to take on the first team at Hoffenheim. He learned his trade initially under the guidance of Thomas Tuchel, as the youth coach of 1860 Münchenn and in two years was in the same role at Hoffenheim before making it as head coach a further twelve months on in 2016. He took Hoffenheim from being a relegation threatened side to 4th in the Bundesliga in his first season there and although they currently sit in 6th, Nagelsmann is still doing exceptionally well for his experience level. He is contracted at Hoffenheim until 2021 but I could definitely see him being an option for Arsenal. Chance: 7/10. 4. Ralph Hasenhüttl.
Hasenhüttl, according to most while not on the same level as Nagelsmann age wise, he is still considered among those doing a lot, with a lack of experience. Starting his managerial career as the interim at Unterhaching and within a year went from their assistant to the first-team manager. After three years he was unfortunately fired from Unterhaching and took the helm of VfR Aalen who were one point from relegation. Hasenhüttl saved their blushes, keeping them in the German third tier and earning himself a year extension. In the 2011/12 season Hasenhüttl completely renovated the squad and took them to a second place finish and automatic promotion to the second tier where he managed to get himself another two-year extension. Two years later he retired from Aalen and went on to manage FC Ingolstadt 04, where he took them from rock bottom of the 2. Bundesliga to 10th place and then in the following season got them promoted as Champions to the Bundesliga for the first time in the club's history. The following season he kept them in the league in 11th but didn't extend his contract, instead he went on to manage newly promoted RB Leipzig where he finished 2nd and is currently in 6th. Another very possible appointment for me. Chance: 7/10. 3. Luis Enrique.
Believe it or not, Luis Enrique is an underrated pick among many fans, primarily and ironically because he's taken charge of the likes of Messi and Suarez in the past. What people fail to remember is that he is quite literally almost following Pep Guardiola's footsteps. Replacing Pep at Barcelona B, Enrique's first managerial position saw him bring the club back to the Segunda Division after an eleven year absence. In the following season he decided to leave Barcelona B with two years still remaining on his contract, he got them to the playoffs but they were ineligible for promotion. He then took over at A.S. Roma in 2011/12 and in all honesty he didn't do too well there, even being embedded into the Europa League controversy of him substituting Totti for Stefano Okaka Chuka in a game that saw them eliminated by Bratislava. Enrique's Roma also lost their opening Serie A game against Cagliari, being only the third time in eighteen years the club had lost their opener. Again on two years remaining and after not qualifying for any European competition, Enrique decided to step down and joined Celta Vigo as their manager a year later in 2013/14. Spending only one season at Celta, Enrique got them to 9th place, up 8 places from 17th. Three days after leaving Celta Vigo, Enrique was named as Barça's new manager on a three year contract. In that time period, he won two La Liga titles, three Copa del Rays, a Champions League, a UEFA Supercup, FIFA Club World Cup and a Supercopa. Many believe that after Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique's Barcelona were the best out there but given everything else as said previously, the squad he had has been named as the reason he's done so well. Chelsea are also rumoured to want Enrique but the latest is, he's definitely interested in coming to Arsenal and being close with the club's "Director of Football" Raul Sanllehí, this is definitely one that's highly realistic at the moment. Chance: 8/10. 2. Massimiliano Allegri.
Max Allegri is no doubt one of the most prominent names on the lips of Arsenal fans to take over from Wenger and has also been one of the bigger names at the club in general. Rumours of Allegri taking over from Arsène stem as far back as October 2016 when the Arsenal manager first made the choice to step down from the club. There are a lot of people out there who say Allegri "inherited Antonio Conte's Juventus" however one thing Conte wasn't good at doing at the Old Lady of Turin, was taking them the distance in Europe and Allegri? Took them to two UCL finals in three years as well as winning three Serie A titles back to back to back. His style is foward thinking and progressive such as Arsenal are looking for, however the one thing I'd say Max Allegri would need to get used to, if he were to succeed Wenger is the promotion of youth talent. Since 2016, Allegri has been learning English and his daughter, Valentina, was looking for colleges in the country as well as reports of the man having dinner with Arsenal reps around Christmas time in that same year. It was thought that any move was put on hold after Stan Kroenke convinced Arsène to stay but it's been since suggested Allegri has told his players and reporters in Italy, he will look to move abroad (England?) Should he leave Juventus this year. Chance: 9/10. 1. Carlo Ancelotti.
Just like Allegri, Ancelotti's name has been cropping up for an extremely long time with reports as far back as last November that the club have met and contacted Carlo on more than one occasion as well as him turning down the role of managing the Italian NT, with his agent going so far as to say Ancelotti "rejected the role, with the next six months in mind." A lot of people make comments regarding not wanting Ancelotti and they mainly mention the reason being his age along with the fact "He was fired by Bayern" without actually looking at the other fact that his most recent managerial outing saw him win the Bundesliga by miles, as well as being flanked either side by back to back DFL-Supercups. Carlo Ancelotti is an expert manager in European competitions too, being the only manager to have won the UCL on three separate occasions and doing so with two separate clubs in two separate leagues. He has won more accolades than a lot of modern day managers bar Guardiola, Mourinho and believe it or not van Gaal, but there's no doubt Ancelotti still has what it takes and age and managerial form aren't mutually exclusive. Carlo Ancelotti has been quoted as saying "if Arsenal come knocking" (diplomacy and respect are key) he would be more than happy to accept and a bonus in this, is that he's already stated that he has an assistant in mind, in Andrea Pirlo. Now if that doesn't excite even the most cautious of Arsenal fans I don't know what would. Chance: 9/10. Honourable mentions: Mikel Arteta, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry.
A lot of Gooners have been following reports where either or all of these three former Arsenal players have been mentioned as possible candidates to take the managerial role once Wenger steps aside, but I personally don't feel we should be hiring on sentiment. Whilst each of these former Gunners are doing well within their own coaching roles, the best I could see any of these men coming in, is as assistant to the chosen manager. Sure Vieira is doing amazingly with New York City FC in the MLS after taking on the City reserves, Arteta having pretty much replaced Vieira at City, taking on the role of Pep's assistant is learning from one of the best and Henry a true Arsenal legend, as an assistant with Belgium I still don't believe any have the relevant experience to take the helm at an illustrious club, such as Arsenal.
I would love to see any of them in the future taking the number one hot-seat, but for now being assistant to a more experienced manager would probably be in everybody's interest. Chance: ??/10.