5 urgent changes needed in order to fix Arsenal


A new manager, fresh coaching ideas and getting into bed with the super-agents: James McNicholas on the five key things Arsenal need to do after the loss to Crystal Palace

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1. Replace Arsene Wenger

There can surely no longer be any doubt: Arsene Wenger’s time is up. The rot has set in and Arsenal’s manager seems incapable of finding a remedy. If a two-year deal really is on the table, owner Stan Kroenke must withdraw it now.

Wenger signing an extension would not only be damaging to  Arsenal’s sporting aspirations - it would also widen the rift that is developing between the disgruntled supporters and a seemingly impassive board. 

Arsene Wenger

Wenger looks forlorn after Crystal Palace loss

The quicker an announcement is made the better. Replacing Wenger is a huge task, and one that probably requires more than one appointment. Arsenal are already looking someone to head up their academy - they may well also require a Sporting Director to fill the void Wenger will leave. 

As for who should take over, this is certainly not a job for the faint-hearted. Arsenal will hopefully learn from Manchester United’s ill-fated David Moyes experiment, and plump for someone with the experience and gravitas to survive the scrutiny. The success of former Juventus coach Antonio Conte at Chelsea makes the Turin outfit’s incumbent manager, Max Allegri, an obvious choice.

Max Allegri

Juventus boss Max Allegri lets rip on the touchline

Diego Simeone would be a fantastic appointment, even if his abrasive qualities are unlikely to sit well with the Arsenal board. Alternatively, perhaps Arsenal might opt for Argentine Jorge Sampaoli - it would certainly improve their chances of keeping his former Chile charge, Alexis Sanchez.

2. Let Ivan Gazidis do his job

Arsenal’s chief executive is a frequently maligned figure among the fans. It was back in 2013 that the chant “Ivan Gazidis, what do you do?” was popularised at the Emirates Stadium, and in truth we’ve never really had a definitive answer.

However, Arsenal fans need to give Gazidis a chance. After all, he has briefed fan groups about the importance of change at Arsenal this summer, and it’s possible that he has a more progressive vision for the club than he’s been able to execute thus far.

Arsene Wenger’s control over football matters at Arsenal is almost absolute. It’s been almost impossible for Gazidis to push through anything without the manager’s consent, creating a perverse power structure that has brought about the current mess.

Ivan Gazidis

Ivan Gazidis needs time to prove himself as CEO

Wenger was infamously on the panel that interviewed Gazidis—the manager effectively appointed his own boss. In a post-Wenger era, Gazidis would finally be granted the authority to run the club as he sees fit. That will be the first true test of his ability as CEO. 

3. Revamp the coaching staff

Whether Arsene Wenger stays or goes, Arsenal need sweeping changes among the coaching staff. Wenger has retained his assistants whenever possible, only making changes when forced to by staff leaving or retiring.

The Arsenal side look like a team who need to hear a new voice

Even when granted the opportunity to freshen things up, he has preferred to appoint from within, as with the promotion of Steve Bould and Neil Banfield to the first-team.

The Arsenal side look like a team who need to hear a new voice. The current staff seem incapable of getting their message through. Perhaps it’s simply become too familiar a refrain, or perhaps the players can’t motivate themselves to perform for a regime they sense is doomed. A new manager would likely bring his own team, and that could spark some life into a talented but listless squad.