Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis perhaps said it best Friday while discussing the surprise resignation of the club’s longtime manager.
“You don’t find a replacement for Arsene Wenger,” Gazidis said, “you find a new path forward.”
There is no shortage of roads for the Gunners to take.
For the first time since 1996, Arsenal needs to find a new man on the sidelines. Luckily for the club, a number of experienced names are potentially available, including a couple that aren’t under contract elsewhere.
Enrique hasn’t been seen since his three-year tenure with Barcelona. He led the Catalan club to a treble in his first season and a domestic double in his second before letting his contract run out in 2017 and disappearing from the public eye.
It should be little surprise, then, that Arsenal has reportedly already contacted the 47-year-old about the position, according to The Independent’s Ed Malyon, though his apparently high salary demands may prevent an agreement.
After managing Juventus to three consecutive Scudettos – and likely soon a fourth – Allegri has already suggested he’s looking ahead to his next challenge, telling Jason Burt of The Telegraph in April that he’s “finished” in Italy after his spell with the Old Lady.
And Allegri’s not just a domestic heavyweight. The 50-year-old tactician led Juventus to the Champions League final twice in the last four seasons, a destination Wenger reached just once in 22 years with Arsenal.
If Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke is intent on transforming his club into more of a force in Europe, it’s hard to suggest a better option than Ancelotti. Though his last club stint didn’t end well – he was sacked by Bayern Munich in the Champions League group stages after a 3-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in September 2017 – he remains the only manager in history who’s won Europe’s premier club competition on three occasions.
If Arsenal wants another (very) long-term manager like Wenger, however, Ancelotti may not be a fit. Excepting his tenure with Milan from 2001-09, the 58-year-old has never spent more than three seasons with a single club.
The Venezuelan-born Jardim succeeds nearly everywhere he goes, including stints in Greece and his native Portugal. At current employer Monaco, he broke up French juggernaut PSG’s run of dominance by winning the 2016-17 Ligue 1 title – Monaco’s first in 17 years.
With the principality outfit, Jardim employs an attack-heavy strategy that suffered slightly this season with the departure of Kylian Mbappe to Les Parisiens. That approach, however, could translate well to Arsenal, which has a number of talented attackers.
Well, here’s a familiar face.
Vieira was a key cog in Arsenal’s midfield from 1996-2005, bossing the centre of the pitch for 279 games, scoring 29 goals, and serving as captain for the team’s legendary 2003-04 Invincibles squad. After hanging up his boots in 2011, Vieira moved into a coaching role with Manchester City’s reserve side before being named manager of New York City FC – also under the City Football Group umbrella.
While the retired France international’s coaching career is still young, he may already be the favourite for Arsenal’s soon-to-be-vacant managerial post; not even 24 hours before announcing his resignation, Wenger touted the NYCFC coach, stating Vieira has the potential to succeed him at Arsenal.
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