Wenger to nominate Arsenal successor
Published 22:59 08/10/11 By Steve Stammers
Arsene Wenger will nominate his successor when he decides to quit as Arsenal manager.
He has seen his team endure their worst start to a Premier League season as they languish in 15th position – after six trophy-less years.
Yet during international week, various figures in football – including former national boss Sven Goran Eriksson – have suggested Wenger would make the perfect England manager.
Fabio Capello’s job will become vacant next summer after Euro 2012.
But Wenger’s contract at the Emirates doesn’t run out until June 2014 – and he has never broken a contract in his career.
So, it would require an official approach from the FA to speak to Wenger for Arsenal to even consider releasing him. But the feeling inside the club is that he will turn down any offer while still under contract.
Instead, Arsenal are expecting a huge input from Wenger when it comes to finding the right man to step into the shoes of the club’s most successful manager.
Wenger’s influence during his 15 years in charge of the Gunners has been unprecedented – matched only by the untrammelled power wielded by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
So, it will require a figure of immense calibre to follow him.And the standout candidate is Pep Guardiola, of Barcelona.
He has enjoyed huge success at the Nou Camp, including two Champions League triumphs. But he has freely admitted that he does not know how much further he can take the club.
Guardiola may regard a move to the Premier League as a new and tempting challenge. He is also on a one-year rolling contract at Barca, so there would no massive compensation required. Another possible managerial candidate for Arsenal is likely to be Laurent Blanc, who has transformed the French national squad, which imploded at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
He has restored stability and taken them to the verge of qualification for next summer’s Euro 2012 finals.
He is also familiar with the demands of English football from his spell as a player with Manchester United and in his two years in management at Bordeaux, he took the club to second place in his first season and then to the league title. There is also former Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp, who has adapted impressively to his new responsibilities at Ajax. Johan Cruyff, the club supremo, has asked Bergkamp to work with manager Frank de Boer.
Bergkamp has been handed responsibility for overhauling the entire technical department and club structure as well as coaching the first team.
But if Arsenal promote from within, one candidate will be reserve team coach Steve Bould, who has followed the Wenger blueprint to bring through players such as Kieran Gibbs, Wojciech Szczesny and Jack Wilshere.