Arsenal’s dismal Carabao Cup final defeat to Manchester City has left even more people asking questions about Arsene Wenger’s future as manager.
The Frenchman himself cut a frustrated and forlorn figure in Wednesday’s press conference, with it becoming clear that this could well be his last in North London.
The Gunners are in the unenviable position Manchester United were in when Sir Alex Ferguson retired, the Scot had been so entrenched with everything that went on at the club, as soon as he left the carefully constructed house of cards just spectacularly fell at the feet of David Moyes.
Arsenal have made some steps to avoid such a scenario, Sven Mislintat arrival and subsequent influence on transfers being one, however when Arsene Wenger leaves the Emirates Stadium, there will be an almighty chasm to fill, irrespective of how bad results are at this present moment.
A plethora of names have been linked with the Arsenal hot-seat in recent days, ranging from Luis Enrique to Leonardo Jardim, however one name that should be considered more closely is Thomas Tuchel.
The German coach left Borussia Dortmund under a cloud, irreparable differences between himself and his employers brought a premature end to what had been a fine spell in charge at the Westfalenstadion.
Tuchel’s football was brilliant to watch, his 2015/16 Dortmund team were lightning quick in attack and their Europa League tie with Liverpool lives in infamy for its excitement. It’s also worth remembering that two crucial cogs of that team just so happen to be the London club’s latest two signings, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Tuchel got the very best out of the pair and reuniting them once again could have a dramatic positive influence on Arsenal’s fortunes.
The German coach is a free agent at this moment as well, his availability has to come as a plus, especially in a World Cup year when the calendar is so condensed, he would be able to start as soon as the season ended.
The clouds surrounding the Emirates Stadium have been there for a number of years now, yet the French coach was always given a reprieve by his ability to qualify for the Champions League, an incredible feat it must be noted. The 2016/17 season saw the club drop out of the top four and this season they have shown no sign of being able to get back in.
For so many years the sticking point of a successful season at Arsenal was finishing in the top four, even Wenger himself confirmed this, so surely two successive seasons out of Europe’s top competition would indicate an official failure on the coach’s behalf.
Much of the fan ire at the club has long since died away, there is an acceptance that change can’t be forced, yet it may well be difficult for anyone within the club to argue that a managerial change isn’t needed should Arsenal fail to qualify for the Champions League this term.
This is where the Europa League takes on a renewed importance, in all his years in North London the former Monaco coach has never won a European trophy.
Defeats in Copenhagen and Paris are painful memories for the Frenchman and he will now be forced to look towards winning the Europa League.
Unfortunately the competition hasn’t brought out the best in his team as yet, the malaise that comes with a team feeling they are above the tournament has been evident, so much so that Ostersunds actually emerged victorious from the Emirates Stadium, although Arsenal progressed.
Tuchel is known to have a personality that can rub people up the wrong way, there was a series of disagreements in his final season with Borussia Dortmund, however Arsenal are clearly a club that has the fiscal means to placate their next appointment.
It’s never been fully understood whether Arsenal or Arsene Wenger himself are the overly cautious ones in the transfer market, and the reality is that it’s a little of both. However Tuchel would certainly challenge those above him to deliver players of a requisite standard to him, despite his previous up and down relationship with Mislintat.
Defensively there may be concerns, the former Mainz coach’s style is not dissimilar to that of Wenger and if recruitment isn’t correct in defence then he too could struggle.
It’s obvious that Arsenal are now preparing for life after Arsene Wenger, there will be many more managers linked before the end of the campaign, however things might already be in place for Tuchel to succeed.
Written by Chris Winterburn
Follow Chris on Twitter @cmwinterburn
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