Even our newsroom appears divided with two different sets of opinions about life after the Frenchman for the Gunners. Which side are you on?
Cries for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger’s head have only been intensifying, especially after the Gunners’ 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich last week. But the exit of a figure that has been synonymous with the ascendancy of the club to Europe’s elite will unquestionably leave a huge void behind.
In the recent past, we’ve already witnessed Manchester United being shaken to their roots after Sir Alex Ferguson hung up his managerial boots and it won’t take much for the same to replicate with the Emirates outfit after seeing the back of the Frenchman.
While a section of enthusiasts feels that a similar script is in the waiting for the Gooners, the others believe that there will be light at the end of this tunnel for Arsenal. Even our newsroom appears divided in this debate with two distinct set of opinions. Read on to find out what they have to say and pick your side.
Opinion 1: Arsenal will do a Manchester United
In a league that sees managers being sacked left, right and center, Arsene Wenger has been a rock solid face for Arsenal in the last 20 years. He has masterminded some great victories, including three English Premier League titles. He has also been responsible for giving us some of the league’s biggest legends like Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira.
Yes, his performance in the last few years may not have been the greatest considering Arsenal fans expect more than a top-four finish. Yes, Arsene needs to make some smart changes to his side and playing style urgently. But, one thing he shouldn’t do is leave the club because the fans are blaming him for the club’s failures.
Arsenal without Arsene will most probably result in deeper misery for the fans. Once a manager has reigned for so long, everybody from the ground staff to the youth team starts to believe in his philosophy. A new manager who comes in and tries to change how things work will only result in a lot of people getting bitter and uncomfortable. Look at what happened to Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson chose his own successor and asked the fans to stick by him in difficult times.
David Moyes, who had big shoes to fill, failed miserably much to the delight of ‘Anything but United’ supporters. Louis van Gaal, followed shortly after and he too was shown the exit door simply because Manchester United fans were so used to winning that they had trouble coping with their string of defeats.
The same will be the case with Arsene Wenger’s departure. You can bring in the best managers like Diego Simeone, Rafael Benitez or Ralph Hasenhuttl, but given Arsene’s association with the club, it will be like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. The 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich, failure to win league titles, falling short at crucial moments – all of these things can hurt, but if there’s one man whom you can trust to heal the wounds, it’s Wenger.
Opinion 2: Arsenal will do better than United
Despite their intense rivalry that even had certain ‘first-clenching’ references, various parallels can be drawn between Sir Alex’s rein at Old Trafford and the way Arsenal has been run under Wenger – be it having the final say on transfers or shielding players from criticism or refereeing ‘errors.’
However, there are some basic differences between the conditions of the exits of the two managers. While Sir Alex left behind a champion team, who had clinched the club’s 20th title, Arsenal in all probability won’t win the title this time, assuming that Wenger exits at the end of the 2016/17 season.
Provided the location of the club in the prime of London, the finances that make it one of the richest in the continent and the prospects of what can be done with the infrastructure and the talent, the new job is one to be grabbed with both the hands for any incoming manager.
As former Liverpool player turned pundit Jamie Carragher had pointed out in one of his columns, ‘This is not a club in need of major surgery. It is one screaming out for new ideas. And it should not matter that all the big names – Guardiola, Mourinho, Klopp and Conte – are elsewhere.’
Speaking of which, several other prominent names have popped up for this lucrative, yet highly challenging, job. The bookmakers have put the best odds on Juventus manager Max Allegri to replace Wenger. The 49-year-old has three Serie A titles and two domestic cups under his belt along with a UEFA Champions League runners-up medal and will look to take cue from compatriot Antonio Conte, who has enjoyed considerable success in the initial months of his English experiment.
Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Tuchel is also being touted as a probable option and will follow into the footsteps of Jurgen Klopp if he completes his move to the Premier League. Another rumoured candidate is Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone whose tactics could be a radical departure from Arsene’s total football, but would at least usher in new ideas and a winning mentality.
As things stand today, Arsenal are in dire need of change and Arsene Wenger’s jettisoning could prove to be more welcome than unsolicited.
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