Arsenal have reportedly already begun to formulate a succession plan for current manager Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners boss finds himself under mounting pressure once again after a season that looks as though it will end without Champions League qualification, unless they can go on and win the Europa League.
The latest low point came in Sunday’s meek showing in the Carabao Cup final, with Manchester City running out relatively comfortable 3-0 winners at Wembley.
Although Wenger still has 18 months to go on the two-year deal he signed at the end of last season, reports on Monday night suggest that the Arsenal hierarchy and coming up with contingency plans if the 68-year-old decides to call it a day at the Emirates this summer.
The Telegraph and Mirror have both reported that as many as seven candidates are in the frame to take over at the Premier League club, each with varying levels of experience and prestige to support their credentials for the job.
Arsene Wenger’s position as Arsenal manager will be reviewed at the end of the season. Jardim, Rodgers, Arteta and Loew among potential candidates as club begins succession planning. More @MirrorFootball
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) February 26, 201
Anyway, Wenger’s successor – either this summer or next – highly likely to be young, fits into head coach structure and will have to be a bloody miracle worker. I think, and it is just my hunch, that Wenger will go this summer.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) February 26, 2018
From Cross’s report, the standout names would appear to be Leonardo Jardim, Brendan Rodgers, Mikel Arteta and Joachim Low. Of those four, Jardim is the only one with experience of managing in the latter stages of a Champions League campaign, is young and would fit into Arsenal’s managerial philosophy.
Low, meanwhile, while he does have a World Cup winner’s medal to his name, making the transition from international management back to the club game is not an easy one, and that may count against the Germany manager.
Rodgers would be a divisive appointment, as although his stock has risen since taking over at Celtic 18 months ago, the final few months of his tenure at Liverpool would make it a hard sell to appeal to a fan base looking for a manager they can get behind from day one.
Arteta, who was once earmarked by Wenger as a future Arsenal manager, is just beginning his coaching career with Man City and may feel it is too soon for him to take on the big job at his former club. That may also be the feeling of Thierry Henry, whom the Telegraph have linked with the post, as he is not long into his current role as assistant manager to Roberto Martinez at Belgium. The Arsenal legend, does, however, seem to want the job at some stage, so he may feel differently if it is offered to him.
The final two names on the latter report’s list are Paulo Fonseca of Shakhtar Donetsk and Carlo Ancelotti, who boasts some of Europe’s top clubs and multiple domestic and European trophies on his CV.
Although Arsenal seem to be drawing up contingency plans, it could all come to naught if Wenger, as he has done on so many occasions in the past, decides that he just can’t walk away from the job he has held for more than two decades.