Life after Wenger
Arsene Wenger’s contract as Arsenal manager doesn’t expire until summer 2019, but it is looking increasingly likely that the long-serving Frenchman will walk away at the end of the current campaign.
But who should the Gunners appoint in his stead? In this slideshow, we run the rule over nine of the contenders.
Allegri began his managerial journey at fourth-tier Aglianese and landed the Milan job seven years later in 2010, delivering a first Scudetto since 2004 in his debut season. But the road was slippery thereafter: as Milan's league position deteriorated he came under fire for having let Andrea Pirlo join Juventus on a free, and he was fired in January 2014.
Naturally, he joined Juve – stepping into the sizeable shoes of Antonio Conte – and has won the league and Coppa Italia in each of his three seasons, while reaching two Champions League finals.
Allegri is praised for his tactical flexibility: he often switches between a back three and back four, while his teams are strong in possession and solid in defence. In 2012, though, Allegri stated he would retire from management by 55 (he turned 50 in August 2017) and wishes to take charge of the Italian national team before then.
The favourite to replace Wenger, according to recent newspaper reports. Ancelotti is available having been sacked by Bayern Munich in September and boasts a winning CV that would doubtlessly appeal in the Emirates Stadium boardroom.
In eight years at Milan he won one Serie A, a Coppa Italia and two Champions Leagues. After 423 games at San Siro he joined Chelsea in 2009, winning the Premier League and FA Cup in his first season but getting the boot at the end of the following campaign.
A year and a half at PSG brought inevitable domestic silverware, as did his recent spell at Bayern Munich, but European success was delivered where it was craved most – at Real Madrid. Ancelotti accomplished that in his first season, winning the club's 10th Champions League, but was given the heave-ho a year later.
The Frenchman has mainly stuck to the Sky Sports sofa since hanging up his boots in 2014, but he’s serious about a future in coaching and was announced as an assistant manager to Roberto Martinez with the Belgian national side in August 2016. Since losing their first game together, the Red Devils have won 11 and drawn four out of 15 matches since, and will face England at the World Cup this summer.
With his UEFA Pro Licence secured, Henry may look to replicate the transition into management made by former team-mate Zinedine Zidane. But whether he’d be ready to take charge at Arsenal is another matter.
The 40-year-old is currently in his second spell at Bournemouth, the club for whom he made 284 of his 286 senior appearances as a player.
Howe first took charge in 2008, aged 31, and salvaged the seasiders’ Football League status. After a brief stint at Burnley between 2011 and 2012, he returned to his beloved Bournemouth and guided the Cherries to the top flight for the first time in their history. They finished 16th in their first season, five points clear of relegated Newcastle, and ninth last term – yet more year-on-year progress that Bournemouth have enjoyed ever since his arrival.
Howe has experience in the Premier League and a bright managerial career ahead, but he has minimal experience of managing high-profile stars.
Low’s Germany side are favourites to win the World Cup this summer, and a successful defence could be the perfect opportunity for the 57-year-old to move on. He’s coaxed consistent performances from his side over 12 years in charge, and his attacking football would surely appeal to the Arsenal faithful.
Low was appointed Germany manager in 2006, earning a promotion from his role as assistant to the departing Jurgen Klinsmann. In his five major tournaments, Low has lost three semi-finals (2010, 2012 and 2016) and a final (to Spain at Euro 2008) but did win the World Cup in 2014 thanks to Mario Gotze’s goal in extra time.
Nagelsmann is widely tipped as a future managerial great, so Arsenal may look to pounce before he inevitably lands one of the big European jobs. It would be a long-term project under the Hoffenheim boss, however, rather than the quicker success expected if they opted for Ancelotti or Allegri.
Nagelsmann guided Hoffenheim to fourth in the Bundesliga last season and qualified for the Champions League play-offs. They may have lost to Liverpool before the group stage, then struggled in the Europa League to finish bottom of Group C, but the German is undoubtedly an extremely gifted coach.
At 30, Nagelsmann is younger than senior players Laurent Koscielny and Petr Cech; we saw the problems this caused Andre Villas-Boas at Chelsea, and it may be a risk Arsenal cannot afford to take right now.
Although Simeone extended his Atletico Madrid contract last autumn to 2020, he remains one of the favourites for the Arsenal post. His full-on, aggressive style is the binary opposite of Wenger’s, but that could be exactly what this crop of Arsenal players needs to start challenging for league titles again – and Gooners were content with the trophies brought by George Graham's rigid structures.
Simeone has consistently kept Atletico punching above their weight with teams greater than the sum of their parts, giving Real Madrid and Barcelona a third rival that hadn't existed for a decade. Lifting the Europa League trophy after half a season in charge was a sign of things to come: as well as steering Atleti to the 2013-14 title, the Argentine has also reached two Champions League finals.
The 44-year-old German shot to prominence when he replaced Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund in 2015, tasked with revitalising an underperforming team. He switched formations regularly and got the best out of his squad – particularly new Arsenal signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Dortmund finished second in 2015-16 and third the following year. But despite winning his first honour with the DFB-Pokal in May 2017, he was sacked three days later.
His stylish football and history of nurturing players strike many parallels with what Arsenal have enjoyed under Wenger. Tuchel is untested in the Premier League, but he’s an exciting manager who Arsenal players and fans could embrace.
Vieira was Arsenal’s captain the last time that the Gunners lifted the Premier League title in 2003-04. Frenchman became Football Development Executive at Manchester City after retiring in 2011 and, two years later, took over the club’s development team.
Then, in November 2015, Vieira was unveiled as New York City FC’s head coach. In the Frenchman's first season, NYCFC reached the play-offs after ending their Eastern Conference campaign in second.
As a former Arsenal legend and young coach, it's no surprise that Vieira is in the running. This one seems unlikely, though: having sunk years into his development, City Football Group would be unamused at the prospect of letting Vieira leave for a Premier League rival.
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