Next Arsenal Manager: Six interesting contenders to replace the sacked Unai Emery

Jack Kitson by Jack Kitson / 29 November 2019, 11:21

Arsenal Wenger lasted 22 years, while his successor Unai Emery couldn’t even make it to 22 months, such is the way of modern football.

So Arsenal are once again on the hunt for a new manager after Emery’s spell came to an end, a week-and-a-half after his North London rival, Mauricio Pochettino, was axed by Tottenham, who in turn unveiled Mourinho as their new boss less than 12 hours later.

It’s unlikely that Arsenal are going to find Emery’s successor in the same time span, so with that in mind we’ve plucked out six contenders from the next Arsenal manager market...

Freddie Ljungberg

Let’s start with the club itself, could Arsenal appoint from within?

In a statement revealing Emery’s departure the Gunners stated: ‘Freddie Ljungberg to take responsibility for the first team as interim head coach. We have full confidence in Freddie to take us forward.’

In the space of 18 months Ljungberg has returned to Arsenal as the U23 coach, been promoted to the first-team coaching set up, and now he’s the man temporarily at the helm.

The club legend now has the chance to showcase his own managerial credentials for the first time ever when Arsenal travel to Norwich this weekend. If the club’s managerial search ends up taking a while, and within that time he gets a few wins under his belt, then who knows he could be handed the job until at least the end of the season.

However, his lack of managerial experience is a major hindrance, and in truth the job looks to have come too soon for the Swede. He could do his future prospects no harm though.

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From Tottenham to Arsenal?

Nuno Santo

Earlier this week Nuno Santo’s odds were slashed from a distant 25/1 to the odds-on favourite to replace Emery should he be sacked. Well the sacking has now become a reality and there’s a top Premier League job up for grabs.

Wolves fans will now be desperately fearing the worst. Santo, who previously managed Porto and Valencia, will have ambitions to manage at the top level in the Premier League, and will no doubt be tempted to make the move should he be approached.

However, you get the feeling that he could actually remain loyal to Wolves, given the incredible journey he is currently on at the Midlands club. The Championship title, the record-breaking Premier League finish, the domestic and European cup runs, and above all the style of football and frequent magical moments. It’s been a thoroughly engrossing chapter in the club’s history, and one that Wolves will hope isn’t about to come to an end.

Mikel Arteta

Now this really is an interesting one.

Mikel Arteta was of course previously interested in managing his former club following the departure of Wenger, only to lose out to Emery.

18 months later and he is unsurprisingly right bang in the mix once again.

Like Ljungberg, Arteta has never managed at senior level - bar one Man City game that Pep Guardiola let his coach oversee: a 2-1 victory against, yes you’ve guessed it, Arsenal - however, he’s been learning the managerial ropes under the best boss in the business, who previously had this to say about his current assistant:

“He’s a young manager, he’s 37, so he is so young but he has experience already to handle big players and teams and when it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. 

“He’s so happy when we win but suffers when we don't and that is why he tries to find a solution. He’s an incredible human being, with incredible values about what it means in the locker room to be together, and he is already an incredible manager and he’ll have incredible success in his future. We see the football in really quite a close way.”

An appointment would undoubtedly be a risk, but what managerial appointment isn’t?

Mauricio Pochettino

It couldn’t happen, could it?

It would be a titanic appointment soaked in controversy.

Only two bosses have previously managed both Arsenal and Tottenham, in Terry Neill and George Graham.

However, from Arsenal’s perspective he’s arguably the best manager out there at the moment. Sure, a number of Gunners fans would be against it, while it would be absolutely crushing for the Spurs faithful. Mauricio Pochettino also comes across as a very loyal man, and has previously said he would never do it.

But times change, so watch this space…

Max Allegri

Could the time be right for Max Allegri to make his Premier League bow?

This is what the Italian, who has been learning English, has been waiting for since his decision to leave Juventus in the summer, and he’ll already be on the phone to his agent demanding an interview at Arsenal.

He has six Serie A titles to his name, seven Italian domestic cups, while he’s twice reached the Champions League final.

You can bet that he’d sure up Arsenal’s shocking defensive issues and make them far more difficult to beat, there are however questions as to whether the fans would warm to his more pragmatic style of play. However, if it’s purely trophies they are after then Allegri could well be the man.

Chris Wilder

We simply can’t write this article without including the ‘Manager of the Moment’ Chris Wilder. The popular Englishman has had an incredible rise up the managerial ladder, from League Two to the Premier League, in the space of four remarkable years.

Wilder, who shared a glass of red with Sir Alex Ferguson after the thrilling 3-3 draw with Man Utd, is currently in the lofty position of 6th in the table, ahead of Arsenal, United and Spurs.

He’s living the dream managing his boyhood club, yet should Arsenal come calling the tactical innovator may find it extremely difficult to turn down. 

Anyone else?

Another Arsenal legend in Patrick Vieira, currently at Nice, will be inevitably linked.

Brendan Rodgers’ stock is soaring again following his incredible start to the season with Leicester, although it’s difficult to see him leaving the club right now.

Rafa Benitez could well be lured over from China, but given his past at Liverpool and Chelsea, he would not be an overly popular pick.

Then there’s Eddie Howe, who year after year continues to do an excellent job at Bournemouth. Could now be the time for the English boss to make the step up? 

Managers Departed

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Russ Wilcox
Russ Wilcox
(Scunthorpe United)
7th August
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