Five reasons why Nuno Santo shouldn't switch Wolves for Arsenal

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 27 November 2019, 11:15

It’s that dreaded time of year when managers start to get twitchy in the dugout. 

November recently gobbled up Mauricio Pochettino, and there’s many a reason to believe that another Premier League gaffer could soon be chucked into the Job Centre.

The current favourite to leave is Arsenal’s beleaguered boss Unai Emery, with rumours rife that Wolves’ own incumbent Nuno Santo could jet down to the capital should Emery be ejected from his hot seat.

Here are five reasons why there’s Nu chance Santo would switch Wolves for Arsenal at this time...

Santo is employed, and so is Emery

Let’s start off by stating the obvious, which can often get overlooked amid the frenzied workings of the Rumour Mill: As simple as it sounds it’s important to note that Santo and Emery are actually both employed. 

But while Santo’s position is secure as it can be - at least from the club’s perspective - Emery’s isn’t.

An ever-expanding cloud of negativity currently engulfs the Emirates stadium with Arsenal without a win in six league and cup games, they are eight points adrift of the top-four, have a negative goal difference, and have fewer wins than Burnley.

However, as of yet there's not even a job up for grabs, so at this point speculation is purely speculation.

History tells us that this is a club that is reluctant to make a change when things aren’t going well, which is great for the manager, but infuriating for many supporters, and potentially a few players. The club's hierarchy may well look at the next five favourable fixtures with a sense of positivity - Frankfurt, Norwich, Brighton, West Ham and Standard Liege - and in turn, back Emery to steer Arsenal out of stormy waters.

In contrast, Santo is loving life at Wolves, as we'll now discuss...


Wolves fans love him, and vice versa

"Whenever I go around Wolverhampton I feel the appreciation of the people," Santo revealed in the summer. "This is the most important thing, not only for me but the players and staff. We work to give joy to the fans. If the fans are unhappy, what’s the point?"

What a time it is to be a Wolves fan. 

The Championship title in Santo’s first season, followed by an impressive 7th-place standing back in the big time, and a first FA Cup semi-final this century. 

The current domestic campaign started slowly but Wolves have since stormed up to 5th, above Spurs, Arsenal and Man Utd, while they’ve lost fewer games than Man City, who they beat at the Etihad. And don’t forget the on-going barnstorming journey throughout Europe.

It’s rare these days for a manager to enjoy the full support of the fanbase, but Santo is adored at Wolves, and rightly so. Supporters swarm to Molineux in their droves to watch an exciting team who continue to thrill, provide frequent moments of magic, and conjure up cracking results against the big guns.

Santo will be well aware of this, and while every manager will always hold ambitions to manage a top Premier League club, he knows that he’s currently experiencing something rather special at Wolves.

Invested in the project

The journey has been electric, and there are no signs to suggest that the upward curve will plateau anytime soon.

In fact, the curve is steaming to new heights; Wolves are hunting down a position in the top-four following an eight game unbeaten run - their best undefeated top-flight streak since 1974 - and they are on the brink of the Europa League knockout-stages.

All signs point to Santo being fully invested in the Wolves project, as are the players, with key members of the squad committing their futures to the club. Joao Moutinho recently signed a deal through to 2022, Raul Jimenez penned a permanent four-year contract in April, while Ruben Neves’ deal doesn’t expire until 2023.

We all know how quickly the equilibrium can change in football, but for the moment at least Wolves are enjoying a compelling chapter in their long history.

It doesn’t always work out

Prior to his appointment at Wolves, Santo didn’t always have it his own way in the managerial arena.

The Portuguese coach has managed some pretty well-known clubs too. Take Porto for example, where he spent a single trophyless season - which is rare at that club - and while he enjoyed a decent start at Valencia he then resigned from his post a few months into his second season with the club struggling domestically and in Europe.

The chance to rejuvenate Arsenal is an attractive proposition for any manager, yet it’s a huge risk. The bigger the club the bigger the expectations. Santo knows this from prior experience. While he’d no doubt back himself to bring success back to the capital club, why rip up a winning recipe at Wolves?

There's an obsession with managers changing jobs after an upward curve, but 1) it can rupture reputations, and 2) why can't a manager be happy in his current position.

Is he even the right man for Arsenal?

The previous points have predominantly focused on reasons why Santo may not fancy changing jobs anytime soon, however who is to say he even features on Arsenal’s managerial wishlist - should the club cut ties with Emery.

Santo may be the odds-on favourite with a number of bookmakers but within hours of this article being published, we could see a new frontrunner grabbing the headlines. Betting markets can often be off the mark.

If Emery was to leave, Arsenal could instead try and lure over the former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, who is arguably the most sought after available manager on the planet. Max Allegri also fits into that category while they could opt to appoint from within in assistant coach Freddie Ljungberg, or former Gunner and current Man City assistant Mikel Arteta.

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