It feels like every year there are calls for Arsene Wenger’s resignation. Anytime Arsenal hits a rough patch these calls come flying in from fans of all sorts. While most of these claims seem meritless at the moment there is no doubt that Wenger will eventually step down from leading Arsenal. Accordingly he will need a successor, one that upload the class, prowess, and legacy of the team. Over the course of the waves of resignation rumors that have floated around over the past few years several names have popped up as people who could fill Wenger’s shoes.
Names such as Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, and Dennis Bergkamp have been thrown around (among many others). However many of the candidates are simply not realistic. Pep Guardiola has a reputation for leading the biggest, baddest clubs in their respective leagues, and while Arsenal is a wonderful team, it really doesn’t fit the profile of the teams he’s led. Furthermore it really doesn’t seem as if he’s ready to depart from Bayern Munich. Jurgen Klopp and Dennis Bergkamp on the other hand are a different story. Jurgen Klopp is a favorite to lead Arsenal. Klopp became famous as the manager of Borrussia Dortmund as he led the team to the 2012/2013 Champions League Final (they ended up losing). In his time at Dortmund he has shown great talent but has said several times that he doesn’t see himself leading Arsenal anytime soon. Bergkamp knows the lay of the land quite well, being a former Arsenal player, and in the words of Thierry Henry was a “dream for a striker” could be a great next choice for Arsenal. Bergkamp has spent his last few years as an assistant coach at Ajax and has even stated in the past that he would love to come back and coach Arsenal.
Personally I think there is one candidate that has all of the qualifications for the job: Thierry Henry. He is an Arsenal legend, and one of, if not the greatest Arsenal player of all time. He has an unwavering passion for the team and has taken up a coaching role with Arsenal’s youth team. Henry has the charisma, passion, and intelligence to lead Arsenal, and with his legacy he could attract top players to Arsenal. Although it may be a ways away, Henry is my pick to succeed Wenger.
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As both an Arsenal supporter and a Duke basketball fan, I see a lot of similarities in the career trajectories of Arsene Wenger and Mike Krzyzewski, the respective leaders of each program. They each have had prolonged success and have each built their respective empires mostly from nothing. Before Duke won the National Championship in 2015, I thought the comparison was even more striking since both had experienced a fairly lengthy success drought. I’ve been a Duke fan longer than I’ve been an Arsenal supporter so I feel like I have more of an authority when I say that I would never call for Coach K’s resignation. The amount that he has done for the school and for the basketball program is incalculable and he has earned the right to retire at his leisure. Which is why the Arsenal faithful calling for Wenger’s resignation baffles me. I know that the only trophy he’s won in the past 8 years is an FA Cup but Arsenal have consistently been one of the top sides in English football, reaching the Champions League every year under Wenger’s reign and the group stage each of the last 12 years. Not to mention the globalization of the Arsenal brand, the construction of a new stadium, and the consistent outpouring of quality youth. There will come a day when Arsene will no longer be fit to manage the club, but I believe that he has earned the right to decide when that day comes.
Awesome post! And definitely something that I have thought about a lot too… Henry is my favourite player of all time, and of course would be my number one pick too. I think it will be interesting to see how coaching suits him in the youth league, and I think it’s fantastic that he’s been given that opportunity and clearly is considered by Wenger as a potential candidate. The two of them have a special relationship, and Henry knows exactly what Wenger is all about. I think he would carry on Arsene’s legacy, as well as bring in his own vision to complement it further. It’s definitely been seen in the past that superstar players don’t always make the best coaches / managers, so it would be interesting to see how playing the game at such a high level will translate to coaching for Henry. As an Arsenal fan there would be nothing that would make me happier than either Henry or Bergkamp taking over, what a great story that would be! Two superstars that left their mark at Arsenal as part of “les Invincibles” taking over and leading Arsenal in the future…. Ahhh dreams do come true!
Super interesting read! As an Arsenal fan myself, I have gone through the classic trials and tribulations that have come with Wenger’s tenure. We have seen such great highs, with teams like “The Invincibles” of 2003-04 that went through the entire Premier League season without losing one single game. However, in the last 3 or 4 years, Arsenal, under Wenger’s direction, has sold some of its most recognizable and skilled players, including Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas. Nonetheless, this year has produced some brilliance for a team that has not seen its name at the tip-top of the Premier League in a while. With the loss of key player’s like Bacary Sagna, Carlos Vela and Nicklas Bendtner came new talent with the likes of Chile and Barcelona’s own Alexis Sanchez, along with Southampton’s Calum Chambers, Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina, and lastly, French international and fellow Premier League defender Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle. Playing with poise and a newfound sense of teamwork, this team has placed itself just behind Chelsea with a stellar 2015 season (they have now secured 30 points in the 11 games played this calendar year).
Nonetheless, for the past few years, many different names have been thrown out as replacements for the great Arsene Wenger. Like you said, Carlos, I believe that Thierry Henry, Arsenal’s club leader for goals overall, Premier League goals overall, most European goals overall and most UEFA Champions League goals overall, would be an ideal fit to replace the man whom he thrived under. Henry has gone on note to say, “I don’t know what Arsene wants to do and how long he wants to stay. But I just want to be equipped…to be in the position, maybe one day to be manager. Being a manager of Arsenal FC would be a dream.”