Friday, 27 April 2018

Top 5: Contenders to succeed Arsène Wenger as Arsenal manager

It has already been a week since Arsène Wenger announced he would be stepping down as Arsenal manager at the end of the season.

The 68-year-old will end a near 22-year reign at the Premier League club, having been appointed Gunners manager back in October 1996.

He will depart the Emirates Stadium upon the conclusion of the current 2017-18 campaign, a year before his contract was due to expire.

Wenger, who previously managed Nancy, AS Monaco and Nagoya Grampus, has won 17 honours at Arsenal – three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and seven FA Community Shields.

Wenger gives his first Arsenal press conference back in September 1996.

The Premier League’s longest-serving manager, having managed a record 823 games, Wenger led Arsenal through the entire 2003-04 league campaign unbeaten, as his ‘Invincibles’ side went 49 games unbeaten.

Despite coming under fire in recent campaigns for Arsenal’s lack of success, ambition and spending power, Wenger will be forever remember as a legend of the club, but the attention now turns to who will succeed the Frenchman as Gunners manager this summer?

We run through the Top 5 contenders to replace Wenger this summer, according to the bookmakers…

Favourite for the hot seat in North London is former FC Barcelona coach Luis Enrique.

The 47-year-old has been on sabbatical in his homeland Spain since leaving the La Liga giants in the summer of 2017, where he won nine honours with Barca during his three-year reign at the Nou Camp (2014-2017), including two league titles and the UEFA Champions League.

Massimiliano Allegri is second on the list, following his success at Serie A champions Juventus.

The 50-year-old succeeded current Chelsea boss Antonio Conte in Turin back in July 2014, and has gone on to lift three Serie A titles, three Coppa Italias, the Supercoppa Italiana, as well as finishing runners-up in the UEFA Champions League in 2015 and 2017.

Allegri has admitted he would like to take on a foreign job, once he leaves Juve, with his side currently one point clear of second placed Napoli in the race for the Italian title this term.

Having led his native Germany to FIFA World Cup triumph in 2014, Joachim Low is a wanted man in club football.

Having coached his country since 2006, with his current contract expiring in 2020, the former midfielder has also helped Germany finish as runners-up in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, runners-up at the 2008 UEFA European Championships and been crowned FIFA Confederations Cup champions in 2017.

Former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta could also be a real contender for the job, with The Gunners’ chief executive Ivan Gazidis a big fan of the current Manchester City assistant coach.

Despite having no managerial experience to date, Gazidis believes the former player has the credentials to succeed Wenger at the Emirates Stadium this summer, having worked alongside manager Pep Guardiola at Premier League champions City since July 2016.

Arteta, 36, scored 16 goals in 150 appearances in all competitions for the North London outfit between 2011 and 2016, after arriving from fellow Premier League side Everton for a reported £10m fee.

And finally, rounding off our Top 5 candidate list is Ralf Rangnick.

The 59-year-old is highly regarded as one of the best coaches in German football, and is currently Sporting Director at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.

He has managed the likes of Stuttgart, Hannover, Schalke, Hoffenheim, Red Bull Salzburg and Leipzig in the past, and was reportedly a contender to replace Sam Allardyce as England manager back in 2016.

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