With Arsenal crashing out of the FA Cup at the weekend to Watford, the calls for Arsene Wenger to step down will undoubtedly become even louder. There is little chance of anything happening before the end of the season but even the most ardent Wenger fans may accept that it could be time for a change in the summer.
Possible league champions only a few weeks ago, Arsenal are now eight points adrift of title favourites Leicester at the top and out of both domestic cups. They are still in the Champions League but face the unenviable task of clawing back a tie from Barcelona. Many will think that a new manager is the answer. But who is in contention?
Describing Henry’s popularity at Arsenal as ‘god-like’ is doing the Frenchman a disservice. Many fans would forget that he has no managerial experience and jump at the chance of him taking the top job. Henry has helped coach some of the younger players at the club but a jump to the main role now would be far too soon.
Another club legend linked with the job is Dennis Bergkamp. Currently assistant manager to Frank De Boer (incidentally also linked with the Emirates job) at boyhood club Ajax, the Dutchman would not have to win over the fans if he were to come back to north London. Lack of experience is probably enough of a reason for him not to be chosen but some bookmakers have made Bergkamp favourite for the job.
The current Atletico Madrid manager has been linked with a number of clubs over the past few seasons but has so far committed himself to staying in Spain. Chelsea are well known to be very interested in the Argentinian coach – as are Manchester United. And both clubs are no doubt already seriously arranging new managers for next season. A move to Arsenal just seems unlikely for Simeone though and if he doesn’t end up in England he could go back to one of the Italian clubs he represented in a glittering playing career.
Having been Arsene Wenger’s right hand man since Pat Rice’s retirement in 2012, Arsenal could do a lot worse than recruit from within. Three times a league winner as a player with the Gunners, Bould would naturally have the side behind him and know exactly how to get the best out of the squad. The other thing to think about here is that if someone else comes in to replace Wenger then they are likely to bring in their own coaching staff so Bould would probably be forced out. It would be a shame for Bould to leave the club but his lack of experience may count against him.
Surely an outside bet for the new manager at Arsenal but stranger things have happened and Mourinho has never been shy about making the headlines. His managerial record is littered with titles and the Portuguese coach is still out of a job after being let go by Chelsea earlier in the season. Manchester United are current favourites to land Mourinho in the summer but if he feels he is not being respected by the powers that be at Old Trafford he could look elsewhere.
It shows what an institution Arsene Wenger is at Arsenal that it is very hard to say categorically who will come in to replace him in the summer – if anyone. Even those fans calling for his head now will understand what he has brought to the club and how his vision has guided the team over the past 20 years. If will be a shame to say goodbye to the French master, but maybe the summer will be the right time to do it.