Two Germans and a famous Dutchman to Manage Arsenal? New Manager Options against key selection criteria

Picking a new manager for Arsenal is no easy task. Gazidis said the BoD are looking for someone who shares Wenger’s qualities, plays progressive, exciting football and gives youth a chance. But of course the new maestro also needs to get Arsenal back into the top-four for CL football (at least), and, if we are looking for a long-term solution, they also need to possess the experience of winning league titles and, ideally, the Champions League.

We are now a big club in Europe in terms of annual turnover with a fabulous stadium and, being based in the metropolis of London and a strong fan-base all over the globe, the sky is the limit for our club regarding our potential to grow even further. This brilliant strategic position is for a large part Wenger’s legacy.

Part of me believes that the new manager has already been selected and contracted, but let’s assume this is not the case. Replacing a manager who has been in charge for 22 years is of course almost unprecedented and really hard to do, especially if that person needs to ‘share Wenger’s qualities’ etc.

Moyes replaced Old Red Nose but this is not a good comparison for the BoD to use. MU had peaked in their last season under Ferguson and initially the pressure was not that high for his fellow Scotsman. He turned out to be a disappointment for the Mancs anyway, though; and the rest is history.

Arsenal are in a very tricky position right now, as we lost our seasonal ticket to CL football in recent years (unless the boys win the UEFA league and qualify for the CL along that route) and look way off winning the title in the near future. We seem to have lost the connection with  the top-four and it is vital that this is restored asap.

On top of that, there is a disgruntled fan-base who may have been appeased by Arsene’s announcement to finally leave the club but will be looking critically at the BoD in terms of making a quality choice for the Frenchman’s successor. There is a risk of the club slipping further down in the coming season(s) and that is a negative spiral we really don’t want to get in to.

Getting it right is vital in more than one way. The pressure is on, and Gizidis and co know it.

Another decision the BoD will have to make is whether they are looking for a 2-4 year solution, possibly followed by a long-term assignment, or a straight long-term assignment, say for 6-10 years. I’d say the latter suits the club’s vision and values best, but club loyalty and ability to achieve continuous success are very rare manager-qualities to find.

A number of managers have been mentioned in the press, so let’s compare these against a list of selection criteria as per below:

  1. Shares Wenger’s qualities – let’s say these are to do with personal presentation, PR, and passion for the game;
  2. Plays progressive, exciting football;
  3. Gives youth a chance;
  4. Has won one or more top leagues, ideally the PL AND is likely to get us back into the top-four within one to two years;
  5. (ideally) Has won one or more CLs;
  6. Will gain the respect of the senior players quickly;
  7. Is tactically astute and will be able to give the team a much-needed balance between attacking and defending;
  8. (ideally) Is looking for a long-term assignment and wants to leave a new legacy

The main contenders (could change over the coming weeks):

Luis Enrique

Great start to his management career at Barca but the question remains whether the players could have managed themselves with the quality and experience contained in that team. Nevertheless he would score high on the above criteria 2, 4, 5, 6, 7. Question remains how well he would do at 1 and 3. No PL experience could also go against him, and from his career until now it remains to be seen whether he would be one for the long run (8). There is something exciting about him, thoug,h and bringing that Barca school of football into the mighty red and white may just be what the team needs.

Mikel Arteta

Love his personality and he is learning a lot from the maestro at MC. But he is a nr.2 there and that is hell of a lot different from being the nr.1. Of the above criteria, he offers 2,3 and possible 6,7 and 8. Too inexperienced and very unlikely to reconnect with the top four anytime soon imo. However, he could join Arsenal as nr.2 with the aim to promote him in 2-4 years….

Patrick Vieira

Love the guy but he is at the start of his trainer’s career. Of the above criteria, he offers 2,3,6 and possibly 1,7 and 8. Would be lovely to see him on the touchline but big risk of not making the connection to the top four imo. He could join Arsenal as nr.2 with the aim to promote him in 2-4 years….

Carlo Ancelotti
There is an attractive argument that a manager only needs to sort out the defence at Arsenal to make a big step upwards. With a phenomenal attacking force now at Arsenal, Wenger’s replacement only needs to teach the team how to defend and buy one or two CBs and possibly a GK, to make an instant improvement. That man could be Ancelotti who may not set the world on fire (criteria 2), but would score high on criteria 1, 4, 5, 6.7. Not one for the long term, though, and he may be too conservative for our liking, but strong candidate to get us back into the back four , and much closer to title contenders, in no time.

Massimiliano Allegri
Very successful at Juventus and keen to manage a PL team, Allegri is a strong candidate for Arsenal. He scores high on criteria 1,4, 6,7 and probably also on 3,5 (got Juve to two CL finals) and 8. He is unlikely to set the world on fire with exciting football (2) and that might rule him out of the job, but with attackers like Ozil, Auba, Mkhi, Jack (hopefully), Laca and Rambo, the exciting part of football is almost guaranteed. If we are looking for a quick, quality fix with potential to grow into a long-term successful relationship, Allegri could be a great option.

Joachim Low
Currently the very successful national manager of Germany and with no recent/high level club experience. Scores high on criteria 1,2,3, 6,7 and 8. Scores low on 4 and 5 but he clearly knows how to guide his teams to glory. Big question is how would he transition to club management? Given his involvement in the World Cup, he would join the club quite late on which would be stressful in terms of making the relevant acquisitions and prepare the team for the new season. But, as Low would likely be a long-term assignment, next season could be treated as a transitional one. With the BFG and Lehman already at the club, Low has strong (German) support to prepare the team for the coming season in his absence. A further signing of a certain Dennis Bergkamp would make for a Fab Four in management at Arsenal.

There are a few other contenders being mentioned in the press – Maurizzio Sari, Thomas Tuchel, Julian Nagelsman – but  I don’t know enough of them to ‘score them’ (feel free to do so, though).

I reckon Joachim Low is the best man for the job, especially if Bergkamp would join the management staff and become Low’s right hand man (with the BFG holding the left one). However, I could also live with Ancelotti or Allegri taken over with Vieira or Arteta taking over in 2-4 years from now. Finally, Enrique would be a bit of a gamble but our football could be very exciting to watch…. Exciting times ahead.

Who would you go for and why?

By TotalArsenal.

11 thoughts on “Two Germans and a famous Dutchman to Manage Arsenal? New Manager Options against key selection criteria

  • TA, your post exposes the fact that engaging a new manager is no trolley dash. Well done.

    Candidly, I don’t have enough facts to to make specific choices. Generally I’d prefer a coach in his forties and who has built or is building a big reputation for himself. Times have changed and I don’t think another “Arsene who” can make it now. There are stories of a crop of young brilliant Germans managers making waves in Germany. My prejudice leans in that direction.

  • Appreciate the opportunity TA– and will compose my thoughts in as concise a fashion as possible, regarding both the pros of offering the position to Mikel Arteta; as well the reasoning of the BoD for doing so.

    However. As the “most important match of the season” is tomorrow? And we meet MooUnited on Sunday– and the second leg with Atletico next Thu… (you see where that’s going?)

    Being the single-most important decision the club will make since green-lighting the stadium build? Would like for this discussion to not be limited to a one-day post. Would ask that this post be revisited between as many matches as possible. Or– until the conversation fades — or a manager is named. Possibly re-posting the link to this post– with each: New post 🙂 ?

    A topic such as this– to me at least– is a perfect one to leave open-ended with the regulars here at BK– for more than a day.


  • Hi TA. This is the question on all our minds I guess.

    The first aspect is around the strategy that the leadership wish to take in managing this transition. Are we looking for a relatively safe and brief appointment to stabilise matters after Wenger leaves pending a longer term appointment, or are we looking to move straight to a long term manager? The latter option represents much higher risk. If I were Gazidis I wouldn’t be jumping for a wiz kid unless I was supremely confident – or pretty relaxed about getting the sack!

    The second aspect is linked to the first and is the level of cash that the board have agreed to make available to help manage the transition. Little cash means an established name is unlikely to join. Loads of cash isn’t really our style. Of course we could sell of some big names to generate funds but this increases the risk. Rambo is the most obvious case that needs to be settled quickly. But a new manager may not fancy some of the established (and contracted) stars. And there may be some pushing for exit. Some cash plus some scope to sell would potentially give £100m to work with.

    Then there’s the question of style and talent. Like JW I don’t feel I can really comment on the young crop. But my concern with them would be a) will they command respect with our top players, b) will they be able to attract top talent to the club, esp if we don’t have CL in the package, and c) will they cope with the pressure that will come next season from fans and media. As with Moyes I don’t think a new manager will be given time to settle by on-line fans. They will expect an improvement and the vitriol will flow as freely as ever if there is anything less.

    All of this leaves me with the Ancelotti option. Keep our attack, improve our defence, and try and get us into the top 4 again. Anything more a bonus. And look to find someone inspirational within the following 2 years. If Gazidis can find us a young manager who can lift us from the off, well then he will be earning his money.

  • Thanks AB, I reckon the funds issue is not as big as you may think. Arsenal have money and plenty of it and let’s not forget that we just signed two shiny new superstars in Auba and Mkhi. Last summer we added Laca and Ozil just signed. Xhaka and Elneny are coming through strongly and there is still time for Bellerin and Kola to become our wing back beasts. Koz has another couple of seasons in him but I feel we need to add some quality CBs. This is a matter of knowing your CBs and coaching them into a quality defence. Rambo has at least another season with us and Jack can be signed up again. I reckon with 2-3 signings and the promotion of a couple of youngsters, we can come good next season. As Klopp shows at Pool: vision, hard work and clever acquisitions can make a big difference.

  • AB, your last paragraph makes sense. It is perhaps less exciting but Ancelotti could make a quick impact in the league with a couple of acquisitions and tactical adjustments.

  • Cheers PE, JW.

    Not need to further discuss the new manager issue. The post was meant to explain a) how difficult a decision it is and b) how important a decision it is, given our current position. We can all approach this romantically but the BoD have no such luxury, I will wait and see who it will be and comment/write on the topic again.

    Night all. 🙂

  • Hmmm. No thoughts for Brendan Rogers? Considering how he got Liverpool playing that season they came close to winning the league, but for Gerard’s slip, made me feel the 45 year old has something of a competitor about him and will bring some academy players. I recall he did get Swansea playing brilliant football too; with Celtic, he’s won their version of the premiership, league cup and FA cup, so I won’t be surprised if the club put up a fight about letting him leave. He looks principled too and can uphold some of our values.

    Very unlikely he will inspire confidence but isn’t that what it’s all about? Winning over the fans?

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