If, I repeat, IF he goes……who next?

We can speculate and protest all we like, but in the end there is only one man who will decide if Arsene Wenger stays, and that’s Arsene Wenger.

While we wait to hear the decision that a few months ago he told us he would let us know about “soon”, we can all take part in the debate over who should come after him. Why the hell not? The speculation and debate is all part of the fan’s life in the same way that we speculate about players we’d like to sign.

So who are the candidates? To be honest, I don’t really know. I read a lot of tweets about this manager and that manager. Why he will be a good fit, why he won’t. Why he is suited to the Premier League, why he’s not. I wish I knew half as much as all these twitter experts who announce their opinion as fact. They must spend all their life studying the French, Spanish, and Italian leagues to be so sure about their opinions.

I, for one, don’t watch other leagues. I may flick over and watch El Classico if I happen to be in front of the TV while it’s on, but it won’t be in the diary. I used to occasionally watch some other Champions League matches before BT shoved their oar in and asked us to pay even more to watch the same games that we always watched, so that they could pay the clubs more, so that the players could be payed more, so that the agents could be paid more, and in the end the fans end up watching the same players but expect them to be better because we are paying them a fortune. God that was a long sentence, but I’ve digressed.

The upshot of all this is that I have my opinions about who I’d like to be our manager next season. However, I’m not going to vociferously defend my opinions if anyone disagrees because, frankly, I don’t really know.

So, who are the candidates?

  1. Mr Wenger
  2. Allegri
  3. Simeone
  4. The Monaco bloke. I could pretend that I remember his name and Google it now, but I don’t. Hold on………Ah yes, Jardim
  5. Koeman
  6. Klopp
  7. Moyes — no, really. Hear me out.
  8. Allardyce
  9. Legends

Mr Wenger

For me, the turning point was the summer in which we signed Cech and no world class outfield players. I wanted Arsene to have the chance to build a team once the burden of paying off the stadium was vanquished. This was the summer when we could have built on the signings of Ozil & Sanchez, but we didn’t. Those signings are now at the end of their contracts & our squad has moved no further forward. So, for me, I hope that he decides not to be our manager next year.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe for a second that he is leaving. The early signing of Kolasinac is just another sign that he is still firmly in control. Bearing in mind that I am an Arsenal fan before anything else, I truly hope that Arsene proves me totally wrong. I hope that next season sees Arsene’s second coming. I hope that we make great signings, win the league, and Piers Morgan becomes a born again Wengerite.

Allegri

Well there are lots of people talking about him so he must be good. Isn’t that how it works? Maybe I should just jump on the bandwagon and follow the herd.

The only things I know about him are that he is the manager of Juve, his team stopped Barca from scoring over two legs of a Champions League match, they are in the final, they (I think) are winning the Italian league.

I can’t argue that these don’t sound good. If I was being picky I’d say that he was only building on the work that Conte had done before him, but I’d have nothing to back that up! I’d also be a little concerned about how he’d manage with a lower grade squad that the board will probably not improve on.

Simeone

For a while now I’ve been convinced that he is the right man for the job. I’m also convinced that Arsenal would not touch him if his name was Midas and they wanted to turn themselves into Gold. I get the feeling that he is a bit too wild and unpredictable for our wood paneled boardroom.

I see similarities between Arsenal and Athletico. However much Gazidis tells us that we will be on a level footing with Bayern, Real, Man Utd etc, we aren’t and we aren’t going to be (at least not with Stanley at the helm). We are in the second rung of clubs and have been for some time. Right now we are struggling to even stay there. Likewise, Athletico are a club that cannot compete financially with the big boys. Nevertheless, Simeone has somehow unsettled the status quo and consistently challenged the bigger clubs. I like that.

I’ve heard that his football can be a bit negative. I don’t care. It didn’t bother me when we were winning one nil, because we were winning. I’d love to be able to play Invincible football forever, but we don’t have invincible players anymore (and lets not forget that they didn’t exactly light up European football).

It doesn’t bother me that a manager sets out his team to be difficult to score against. I’m not a purist. I just like that feeling at the end of the game/season when we win. I’d like to feel that again someday. If he can do it with them over a number of seasons, why not with us?

The Monaco bloke

Ummmm.

a. They have done ok in the C.L. recently.

b. We did quite well once with a former Monaco manager that I hadn’t heard of at the time.

c. He might be able to use his Jedi mind tricks on Mbappe to convince him to ignore the glamorous callings (and pay cheques) of bigger clubs.

To be honest, I’ve seen no evidence to suggest that he is a Jedi, and I don’t like that fact that he looks like the love child of Sylvestre & Zidane. Any reminder of Sylvestre makes me wretch, and I’m not too keen on the taste of vomit in my mouth, however small.

Koeman

I have a lot of admiration for the dutchman. He has consistently done a lot with relatively little. I think that a manager should be judged on if he has exceeded expectations. For me, has has done this at Everton & Southampton.

He also appears to use this thing called tactics, which is nice. I’d like to see more of this at Arsenal, in the way that other managers seem to use it against us.

On the down side, he keeps professing his love for Barca and openly wants to manage them one day. This would leave us continually speculating over his departure every time Barca don’t win a game.

Klopp

I’m not going to waste much time on this ship as it has sailed. He was the one that I wanted and I was gutted to see him go to Liverpool. I hope that I am proved wrong and that he will be a long term failure, but each time he smiles that adorable smile………

David Moyes

(Cue laughing policeman…….)

We’ve had a manager for 20 years who is ingrained in every fragment of our club. Once he leaves, the next manager could be in for a rough ride. We keep hearing the warnings, along with tales of how difficult it was for Man Utd after the Fergie years.

With that in mind, why not employ the only man with experience of taking over from a long term manager. He could be our 2017 Bruce Rioch. A disposable manager that could release all the pressure from the actual appointment in January 2018.

O.K. I’m kidding.

Sam ‘Big Sam’ Allardyce

Sam of old Bolton fame. Sam was not stylish enough for Newcastle or West Ham (….regrets, they’ve had a few….). Sam who taunts us at our tactical immaturity. Sam who has the temerity to tell us in detail how easy it was to set up his relegation threatened Crystal Palace to dismantle us.

He is so unbelievably unfashionable, so Northern working class, so Mike Bassett. He comes with a reputation as an anti-football manager, but I think there is more to him than that. This time I’m not joking. No, seriously, I’m not.

Is it that unfathomable that an English manager should be given the chance at an English club? It is a sad fact that it probably is that unfathomable. Personally, I think that this is a shame. I’d love to see one of the top teams give him a go. He has a habit of proving everyone wrong.

If you gave me the choice of Sam or Arsene next season, I’d be all English.

The Arsenal legends

Let’s group them all together shall we. The potential managers; Henry, Adams, Vieira, Arteta, et al (sorry but I can’t include Dennis here if he won’t fly). And their potential assistants; Keown, Freddie, Senderos et al.

The unfortunate truth is that none of them are ready. Perhaps if we had a manager that embraced the former players and gave them a real voice in the club, we may be ready to do a Real Madrid & appoint from within. The sorry truth, however, is that we haven’t got that sort of a manager and we aren’t ready to appoint from within.

The only former player of note that is at the club is Bouldy. There is nothing there to suggest that he has had any impact from the bench. If it is the case that he does not have the autonomy to have any affect, then why is he there sullying his reputation?

The only Invincible at the club is Pires, but he has no ambition to manage. He is eying up the role of Director of Football, which Arsene has firmly vetoed. If we do go that way one day, he may be in competition with the man he replaced on our left midfield, a certain Mr Overmars. What is it about our left midfield legends that makes this role so attractive to them?

In conclusion

Well I’m damned if I know.

If I had to press the button right now I’d be hovering between Simeone & Allegri. My heart says Simeone, but my brain is telling me that more knowledgeable folk think Allegri. Perhaps I should just go with the crowd.

Thankfully I don’t have to make that decision. If a decision has to be made we can rest easy that the people at Arsenal who will be charged with making such an important decision are real football people like David Dein…………..Oh dear.