The pressure had been mounting for a number of years on Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
The club has been in somewhat of a decline for a while and The Gunners failed to qualify for the Champions League last season for the first time in 20 years. Their only hope of qualification this season rests with them winning the Europa League, with the top four out of reach. With this, Arsene Wenger has decided to call time on his reign at the end of the current campaign, a year earlier than planned.
Tributes have already begun to flood in for the outgoing Frenchman who not only transformed Arsenal as a football club during his 22 years at the helm but revolutionised English football too. While Wenger and Arsenal will be hoping to have a strong end to the season, with Europa League success the main priority, attention will quickly turn to who can come in and replace Arsenal’s greatest ever manager.
Even prior to Wenger announcing he’s to depart the club, many names were mentioned as possible successors for when the time comes. CEO Ivan Gazidis had already begun to make changes behind the scenes at The Emirates with the arrival of Sven Mislintat amongst others. This was undoubtedly in preparation for Wenger’s departure as Arsenal prepared to head in a new direction, in an attempt at playing catch up with the teams who have passed them.
During the transition period, it is possible The Gunners will look to appoint someone to oversee the changes and stabilise the club at the same time. Both Rafael Benitez and Carlo Ancelotti would be ideal candidates to immediately replace Wenger. They have the necessary experience to halt the club’s slide while being able to handle the pressure that will come with the job. Benitez has done a great job at Newcastle this season and if he isn’t backed in the summer with funds, he could be looking for a way out.
With Wenger having managed the club for over two decades, it’s likely that the Arsenal hierarchy will be looking for someone to follow suit. They’ll want a long-term successor who will see themselves managing the North London side for many years to come. Thomas Tuchel was linked but it seems likely he will be replacing Unai Emery at PSG. The likes of Patrick Vieira, Mikel Arteta and Thierry Henry are also likely to be considered due to their links to the club.
If, however, a top manager becomes available this summer or seems to be interested in replacing Wenger at The Emirates, it’s likely Arsenal will look to move fast. Max Allegri is possibly set to call time on his tenure at Juventus this summer, and he is going to be of interest to numerous clubs in Europe, with Arsenal being one of them. The Gunners could also look to pull off a shock move for Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone, who could be looking for a fresh challenge.