Arsene Wenger is certainly one of the greatest managers the game of football has ever seen. Joining The Arsenal in 1996, he has become the clubs longest serving manager. Throughout these years, he has always guided the club clinching to the top four spot every season at the least winning 3 premier league titles, 4 FA cups and 4 community shields along the way. He has also guided The Arsenal through that famous unbeaten campaign of 2003-04, for which The Arsenal were awarded with a special gold plated premier league trophy. In 2006, The Arsenal fc decided to shift their base from the historic Highbury to the newly built emirates stadium, a deal that would cost them an enormous 700 million pounds! This obviously meant that The Arsenal were going to have tough times ahead, financially. Even in these tough times, Wenger managed to ensure the all important top 4 spot. However, he hasn’t been able to any trophies since then.
Eight consecutive trophy less seasons could only lead to the fans being upset, and likewise has happened at The Arsenal in recent seasons. Lack of silverware and departure of star players every season has left Wenger in a very difficult position. Many fans have publicly displayed their disbelief towards le proff . Wenger, however, has always insisted that he will honor his contract with The Arsenal, no matter what. His current contract expires in 2014, which could very well mean that this is Wenger’s last season as The Arsenal manager. As soon as this knowledge became public, a lot of top flight European clubs around Europe have become interested in acquiring in his services. Among them, current Ligue1 champions PSG have been very public in expressing their admiration of the Frenchman. If Wenger does decide to leave The Arsenal next season, a return to his homeland would certainly tempt him to join a French club.
Now, lets look at the possible candidates who could fill the Frenchman’s large shoes! –
1) Michael Laudrup.
Few months ago, Laudrup was named as the most talented player to have played in the Spanish league in the past 25 years. In his homeland Denmark, he was named ‘the golden player of Denmark’ and ‘Danish footballer of all time’. After extraordinary success as a player, Laudrup has also impressed as a manager after spells at Brondby, Getafe and Spartak Moscow. Last season, he took reigns of Welsh side Swansea city and led them to capital one cup triumph, the side’s first ever major trophy in over 100 years! Along with his ability as a tactician, he has also proved himself efficient working in low transfer budgets. Miguel Michu, who joined from Celta Vigo last summer for a sum of only 2 million Euros, scored an incredible 18 goals! At only 49 years of age, he could be the man for the job, if The Arsenal decide to meet his release clause of 5 million pounds.
2) Jurgen Klopp.
The 46 year old miracle worker from West Germany is our next candidate. Klopp, who spent his senior career as a defender for Mainz 05, retired at the age of 32 and took the managerial position of the club the very next season! During his 7 years as a manager, he led Mainz 05 to Bundesliga promotion winning DFB Supercup in the process. In 2008, he joined Borrusia Dortmund, and the rest as they say is history. He won back to back Bundesliga titles in 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons, also winning the DFB Poskal. Last season, Klopp guided Dortmund to UEFA champions league final where they eventually lost to their German rivals Bayern Munich. Given his spectacular record as a manger, arsenal should certainly look into him to replace Wenger.
3) Rene Girard.
Though 59 years of age, Girard could turn out to be an interesting option. In the 2011-12 campaign, then managing Montpellier HSC, Girard delivered their first league title ever! Top scorer of the season was none other than Olivier Giroud!. What amazes even more, is the fact that the total cost of building that Montpellier squad was mere 3 million pounds! (Roughly). Even though the French league is considered inferior, Girard should make The Arsenal’s short-list!
All three candidates above show similarities to Arsene Wenger’s style of management in some or the other way. Any of the three could do a good job at the emirates. The Arsenal legends such as Tony Adams and Thierry Henry are yet to express their interest (if any) in management. But signing any one of them would also be positive. However, the board’s and Wenger’s opinion about the future is not yet known. Only time will tell!