Praveen’s latest “The Arsenal Annals” column.
The Sun reported last week that Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri would be interested in replacing Arsene Wenger at Arsenal if the latter were to step down in the near future.
Although he has hardly been tipped to become Wenger’s successor, Arsenal may not identify a more capable gaffer to replace their longest serving manager.
Censured, but respected
Arsenal’s longest reigning French manager has often been censured for failing to be a world-class coach despite masterminding the best Premier League team in history.
However, even his ardent naysayers will not dare to question his managerial prowess as Emirates Stadium, club’s financial status, and global reach bear testimony to the same.
Hardly a handful of instances of a manager thriving at a club as illustrious as Arsenal for more than two decades exist in modern football.
The only notable similar managerial reign saw Alex Ferguson elevate Manchester United to unprecedented heights during his 25-year stay at Old Trafford.
Similar impact to Ferguson’s departure
However, in light of his departure, the club have now crumbled to a point where they have proved willing to trade their celebrated philosophy in exchange for a place in the title race.
Despite Wenger’s team being not so successful as the United of the yesteryears and the current Arsenal side being superior to Ferguson’s team in his final season at helm, the aftermath of his departure will likely be similar to, if not, worse than United’s plight.
Qualifying for Champions League 20 seasons in a row is no mean feat; however, replacing a successful manager with such a pedigree at his peak is a must to ensure continuance.
Accordingly, bringing in his replacement in the summer is imperative despite the Frenchman constantly evolving, especially since a Louis van Gaal-esque slide can be just around the corner.
Enter Juventus’ Allegri.
Many fans are skeptical of his talent because of his final few months at AC Milan that saw the club resume its fall after keeping the process on hold for a short duration.
However, most managers the footballing world considers genius will crumble in a financial position of that ilk though the Arsenal manager has not; there really is only one Arsene Wenger, apparently.
Another common consensus circles around his big-spending nature.
As a manager, he has broken numerous transfer records, with his newest record-breaking transfer hauling former Napoli striker Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus for a Serie A record fee.
Has the ability to entice world-class talent
However, the transfer also underlines his ability to pull in world-class talents, which is one attribute many Arsenal fans seemingly want in Wenger’s replacement.
Additionally, given the financial status of the club, spending big on world-class talents should hardly be a concern.
Premier League has proved a hub for world-class managers, with Antonio Conte, Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho all working in England.
Not many top options available
With very few renowned names up for grabs – Diego Simeone seems keen on an Inter Milan move whilst Thomas Tuchel looks happy at Borussia Dortmund as of now – Arsenal can only do worse than signing the Juventus manager.
Besides, his keenness on a move to Ashburton Grove only makes the negotiations simpler.
With the 49-year-old manager pledging to retire at 55, Arsenal will also have had ample time to evaluate the now-top-flight novice with many Wenger-like traits Eddie Howe, who has been mooted as an Arsenal target for two years now.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
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