Brendan Rodgers’ cryptic comments about vacant Arsenal job leaves a lot to be desired

Callum Pragnell by Callum Pragnell / 02 December 2019, 11:45

Unai Emery had huge shoes to fill when he took charge of Arsenal last summer. Following a manager like Arsene Wenger, who had become part of the Gunners’ DNA after his 22 years in north London, was always going to be a thankless task which required plenty of patience - the one thing that fans of Arsenal Football Club famously do not have. 

Wenger, a legend of the footballing world who had brought so much success to Arsenal during his two decades at the club, was forced out by a fanbase who felt they deserved better. At times, it was difficult to argue with them. So often did Arsenal capitulate at times where capitulating simply shouldn’t have been an option, for years there was an overwhelming feeling that it was time for the Frenchman to depart the club and let somebody else have a go. It finally happened last summer and now it has, are Arsenal any better off? Absolutely not. 

The Arsenal managers job is a poison chalice in many ways. The Gunners are a huge football club steeped in historical success and should continually be fighting for silverware each season. Because of this, expectation among fans, the media and pretty much anyone else is, rightfully, sky high. Instant success is expected if you are crowned the new manager of Arsenal and if you get it right, then it really could be the start of something special. Get it wrong, though, and that’s your reputation as a top-level coach tarnished forever, just ask Unai.

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Rodgers is now 13/2 to get the Arsenal job

At odds of 13/2, Brendan Rodgers is now in the running for the Arsenal job. The former Celtic boss is doing a stellar job with Leicester this season, with the Foxes now emerging as the main title rivals to Liverpool after Manchester City’s 2-2 draw with Newcastle on Saturday. Leicester are just eight points behind the Reds at this stage, which is a sizeable gap but, as we saw last season with City and Liverpool, not completely uncatchable. 

When asked about the vacant position at Arsenal this weekend, Rodgers insisted that his focus was “very much” with Leicester but did not completely rule out a move to the Emirates. The Northern Irishman went on to explain how “Arsenal probably have a list of 10 names” for the vacant position at the club, before saying that “there are probably clauses in most managers' contracts. It's all hypothetical” when asked about his reported £14m release clause at the King Power.

It is worth noting that this is a manager who left Celtic halfway through the season to join Leicester in February, though. The Hoops were on the cusp of winning a ‘treble treble’ and he jumped ship without a second thought. As it transpired, the move proved to be the correct decision as Rodgers has now re-established himself as a respected top-flight manager after a dismal period in charge of Liverpool. 

Leicester are playing some fantastic football and could genuinely win the Premier League for the second time in five years this time out, though they have got their work cut out chasing a rampant Liverpool team who have been consistently flawless this term. Arsenal, on the other hand, are struggling for form and lie 8th in the table, 13 points behind Leicester after 14 games. 

Longevity at the top is something that does separate the two sides, however. There is no doubting that Leicester are now a recognised top-half club in the Premier League but with ultimate respect, they will never be the same level of Arsenal in terms of stature. If Rodgers did decide to leave Leicester for the Gunners it would be a confusing decision - at this moment in time. Looking to the future, though, the level of footballer Arsenal can attract is greater than Leicester can, even if they do obtain Champions League football this season. 

Rodgers would have players like Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang at his disposal if he did move to north London, while Leicester will always live in fear of losing their best players to one of European football's heaviest hitters due to their seemingly limitless budgets. It seems odd to say right now due to how well the Foxes are doing with Rodgers at the helm and perhaps arrogant to belittle them, but there is no denying that Arsenal do represent something bigger than Leicester. 

Does that make them the right choice? No, not in my opinion. Taking everything into account, including a fanbase with such little patience for anything other than constant, total success and the obscene weight of expectation in north London, Rodgers would do well to completely swerve this job like the plague. He's got something really good at Leicester and if he stays, has the potential to become a legend at the club. Why would you risk it all for a job which has the potential to go so, so wrong; so, so quickly? 

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