Does anything scream ‘an organised, well-run club’ quite like compiling a 12-man not-so-shortlist of potential new managers?
Well, that’s exactly what Arsenal have done, if reports are to be believed, as the hierarchy target the perfect man to kickstart their flat-lining season. The Gunners’ gamble on Unai Emery turned out to be a complete disaster, with the team looking even less drilled and more leaky than the final years under Arsene Wenger.
There can be no margin for error t
With those requirements in mind, here is a list of names that could be on that shortlist, and just how likely it is that we’ll see them in the Emirates dugout in the coming weeks.
Let’s just get this one out of the way. Mauricio Pochettino is not going to be the Arsenal manager, especially less than a month after prowling the Tottenham Hotspur dugout.
The club need a unified fanbase, and appointing an ex-Spurs boss isn’t the way to do it. It’s not happening. Next.
11. Bruno Genesio
We can put this one on the ‘almost as unlikely as Pochettino’ pile.
10. Eddie Howe
Someone has got to take a gamble on Eddie Howe soon, right? The young boss has worked miracles at Bournemouth, to the extent that the Cherries no longer feel out of place among the Premier League heavyweights.
Question marks have arisen over Howe’s ability to organise a defence and squeeze real consistency out of his players, which may put off the Gunners from taking a bite of the Cherry (get it?) – for now at least.
9. Patrick Vieira
Patrick Vieira. Club legend. This may have seemed a brilliant idea around the February period of last season, as the Gunners watched Manchester United (temporarily) gatecrash the top-four party with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the wheel.
But Arsenal should have learned from the Red Devils’ experiences, and they may allow the Nice boss to continue his managerial education elsewhere, instead of throwing him under the Emirates bus.
8. Freddie Ljungberg
The feeling is that while Freddie Ljungberg is a feel-good appointment for the short-term, he is not the man Arsenal want moving forward.
A Spanish manager of a middling La Liga club who earned success in cup competitions? Where have we heard that before?
Okay, so Marcelino may not be the real Emery 2.0, but their similar records may discourage the Arsenal board from taking that sort of risk again.
He does have an impressive track record though, so who knows…
6. Mikel Arteta
Arsenal could well be intrigued by Mikel Arteta’s education, having worked with the brilliant footballing mind that is Pep Guardiola. Another former Gunner, Arteta has bided his time in leaving Guardiola’s side, and the North London club may feel the moment is right to hire the Manchester City assistant manager.
A lack of experience as a number one is his obvious shortcoming however, and it may be enough to stop the Gunners from pulling the trigger on this move. Arteta is destined to have a great career as a coach, but the Arsenal job may have come too soon.
5. Brendan Rodgers
“We know Leicester City are currently second in the league with one of the most exciting, attacking and likeable teams in the country, and we know Arsenal are 13 points behind you, but we’re definitely the better choice…Bre…Brendan? Are you still there…Brendan?”
Brendan Rodgers has already ruled himself out of a move from the King Power Stadium this season, so this one feels like it’s already dead in the water. Stranger things have happened though, and after all, this is Brendan Rodgers….
4. Carlo Ancelotti
This may sound a tad harsh, but Carlo Ancelotti has the aura of a man whose best days are behind him. And he knows it. And he doesn’t really care.
The Italian’s relaxed persona has led to a complete breakdown behind the scenes at Napoli, and his equally laid-back training methods came in for serious criticism during his time at Bayern Munich.
A bit of a free-for-all, and a people pleaser is exactly what the Gunners DON’T need at the helm, or they’ll be in free-fall themselves.
But since when do Arsenal make the sensible decision? Ancelotti will probably be out of work in the near future, and his record may be enough to land him another cushty job at the top. Beware, Gunners.
3. Rafa Benitez
Rafa Benitez, a man who famously left Newcastle United as a result of constant fall-outs over the lack of a competitive transfer budget, is being linked with a Premier League return with Arsenal.
After the Spaniard’s dealings with the devil – AKA Mike Ashley – the ex-Newcastle boss may think twice before diving into another rescue job.
But in the end, Arsenal are an appealing prospect to most managers, and if they are able to convince the former Liverpool boss to make the switch, the duo could be a real match made in heaven.
One to watch.
2. Max Allegri
Max Allegri is currently out of work, and was previously reported to have been studying English, so this collaboration may actually have legs. Allegri was a serial winner at Juventus, and worked wonders during his time at Milan.
But both clubs were at their financial peak at the time, making his task much easier than the one potentially awaiting him at Arsenal.
Allegri can organise a defence impeccably however, and although his style of football goes against everything the Gunners stand for, it may be time for them to swallow their pride and accept that the current model just ain’t cutting the mustard.
A positive change in the right direction, perhaps.
1. Nuno Espirito Santo
Now this feels like a good match. Nuno Espirito Santo has done his time in the Championship, taken Wolverhampton Wanderers to the Europa League and proven himself to be an adept tactician against the top teams in the country.
Whilst Wolves have made progress, they’re still some way off breaking into the same bracket as that of Leicester or the traditional top sides, and Santo may feel he’s not willing to wait around for the midlands club to catch up.
Go get him, Gunners.