Wenger Out but Who Comes In?
Arsenal fans are experiencing mixed emotions following the news that manager Arsene Wenger will be leaving the Emirates after 22 long years at the club. During his time in North London, the former Monaco and Grampus Eight boss transformed the Gunners into one of the most formidable sides in the Premier League with trophies galore coming along during his tenure.
Ultimately, as the rest of the division finally caught up, it was Arsenal’s inability to compete for the title that turned fans against the Frenchman and even those three FA Cup wins in four years were not enough to placate a certain section of supporters. Wenger is on his way and he will be a tough act to follow and the obvious question now is – who comes in?
Next manager markets can be very volatile and in this case, the early favourite has dropped several points in the 48 hours following Wenger’s announcement. Prices can fluctuate wildly but that does mean we could find some real value.
At the time of writing, Luis Enrique is the man at the head of the betting to be the next Arsenal boss and the top price in this respect currently stands at 4/1 with Sky Bet and 10Bet. Enrique is the former Spanish international forward and current Barcelona boss who is currently heading for a third La Liga title in four years.
With Real Madrid struggling in the league for much of the season, Barca have just started to dominate domestically but there has to be a question as to whether their manager is ready for a new challenge or if he wants to stay in Spain and target the Champions League glory that has eluded him so far.
Behind Luis Enrique, the second favourite for the Arsenal job is former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti who slots in at a top price of 7/1 with 10Bet and Sport Pesa. He’s been out of work since leaving Bayern Munich in 2016/17 but the 58 year old’s CV is an impressive one and it includes a Premier League title with the Blues in 2009/10.
Ancelotti is also the only manager to have won three Champions League titles but Arsenal will probably want a long term option and he may not fit that bill. Following on from the second favourite, Joachim Low is available at 8/1 with bet365 and BetFred while Brendan Rodgers is the man who has drifted from outright favourite to a top price of 10/1 with William Hill.
Rodgers is shorter in some places so this is the value punt for supporters of the current Celtic boss. Former Arsenal player Charlie Nicholas put Rodgers forward as his preference and this is the man who really should have won the Premier League with Liverpool a few years back. The former Swansea boss has good Premier League experience but will Arsenal’s owners be that impressed with his efforts in the SPL – a league where Celtic have routinely dominated across a number of years?
Patrick Vieira is a name being talked up in the press and the former Arsenal midfielder is available in this market at 12/1 with bet365 while the same bookmaker has the top price of 16/1 on both Thomas Tuchel and Massimiliano Allegri.
If he were to prove successful, Vieira would be seen as a long term option. He is just 41 but is largely unproven, with his managerial experience limited to stints with Manchester City reserves and New York City in the MLS.
Allegri, meanwhile, has been in charge at Juventus since 2014 and has picked up a number of trophies with the Turin club but as with Rodgers and Celtic in Scotland, the manager is in charge of a team that were completely dominant domestically long before he arrived.
Tuchel is an interesting one and despite a lot of positive rumours in the press, 16/1 is a relatively long price. It’s said that Arsenal’s owners have a preference for a German manager but irrespective of that theory, the former Borussia Dortmund man has done well in a league where Bayern Munich have been dominant for so long.
Tuchel’s Dortmund broke the Bayern monopoly by winning the German Cup in 2016/17 and have spent much of the last few seasons in the Champions League.
As we move right down through the list there are some names worth mentioning even though we think that the next Arsenal manager will come from those we have already discussed. Included in the list of less of less likely outsiders are Eddie Howe, the young Bournemouth manager who many think could take over Wenger’s legacy and build his own dynasty at the Emirates.
Howe is quoted at 25/1 with William Hill and Hills also have 25/1 on Mikel Arteta who, like Patrick Vieira, is another former Arsenal player just making his way in the world of management. Elsewhere, current Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is on offer at 33/1 with bet365, Chelsea’s Antonio Conte is listed at 40/1 with 10Bet and another former player, Thierry Henry can be claimed at 40/1 with bet365.
There are hundreds of names on a list which is too big to cover in every detail but those are most of the names being touted around the media so who do we think will get the top job?
Arsenal would hold more of an instant appeal if they were to win the Europa League this season and thereby qualify for Champions League football in 2018/19. The club’s owners will be looking for someone to sit in for the long term and to consider the wider picture but the Gunners would be more attractive to the big names if they are back with Europe’s elite next season.
If they are back in the Europa League, it could perhaps deter someone like Luis Enrique whose only failing with Barcelona is the absence of a Champions League trophy so it’s worth keeping this in mind when placing your bets.
There is also the question of longevity: Arsenal were a different club when Arsene Wenger arrived in 1996 but the current owners would like a long term replacement, even if it’s tough to see anyone matching his run of 22 years in North London. For us, that rules out the 58 year old Carlo Ancelotti but he could be the perfect candidate if the Gunners are seeking a ‘quick fix’.
Names such as Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta would be popular with the Arsenal faithful but their lack of managerial experience counts against them. It would be more likely to see either man brought in as a number two underneath the new manager.
The owners might be wary of Brendan Rodgers following a poor end to his spell at Liverpool but one man who seems to tick all boxes is that of Thomas Tuchel. If, as is being reported, the club has a preference for a German manager and a German style of play, that’s the first plus and at 44, he is young enough to be at Arsenal for a long time if he is successful.
The lack of trophies in a league where Bayern Munich reign supreme is unlikely to bother the club either. And, as Arsenal look slightly enviously towards Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp, who was once widely tipped to replace Arsene Wenger, Tuchel may well be seen as an identikit option who can get the Gunners back and winning major trophies on a consistent basis.
Best Bet as Arsenal’s Next Permanent Manager
- Thomas Tuchel at 16/1 with bet365