Over the last week, a lot of names have been tossed about as to who should be the next Arsenal manager. De Boer, Klopp, Martinez, Simeone & Heynckes are 5 such names. It has been done to death. Everyone has their own opinion. Often they differ. After numerous attempts to come up with a short list, I decided to go down a different route, by not asking ‘who should replace Wenger?’ but ‘what attributes must Wenger’s replacement have’. I came to the conclusion that the next Arsenal manager, whether he be in place this summer or 3 years down the line, must fulfil 4 criteria.
Be a Proven Winner
The single largest argument as to why Wenger must leave is due to it being 8 years without a trophy. To many, this is deemed as not good enough. The question has always been asked ‘If Wenger managed Chelsea, Barcelona or Real Madrid, would they have stood for 1 year without a trophy, let along 8?’ The answer is no.
Therefore, it is important that the next Arsenal manager is a proven winner. What is the point of replacing Wenger for not winning anything with a manager who has also not won anything? This was my single biggest argument against David Moyes. Why bring the Scot in to replace Wenger, when he himself has not won anything in 10 years of managing Everton?
The other important factor is in modern day football, where ego’s rule, the new manager has to be able to ‘put his medals on the table’. One reason Villas Boas failed at Chelsea as he did not command immediate respect. How could he instruct a player such as Petr Cech (who at the time had 3 PL, 3 FAC, 2 LC in his cupboard), when all he had was a couple of Portuguese medals and a Europa League – before you shout out about Mourinho, he had a Champions League in his pocket.
If the current manager is not a proven winner, he is not worth pursuing. Is Martinez or Laudrup with their single English domestic cup honour a proven enough winner? Probably not. I look at Pep Guardolia. He could walk into the Bayern Munich dressing room and, despite them having just won the treble, could hold his own as a winner.
Arsene Wenger’s replacement must have both the winning mentality, and the trophies to back himself up.
Long Term Plans
I am not talking about Glenn Hoddle’s 5 year plan that he announced when he took over Tottenham (he last just after 2), I am talking about a manager who wants to come in and win multiple honours over the next decade. Someone who targets the 2014/15 Premier League, but also someone who wants to win the 2019/20 titles & the 2024/25 title.
Mourinho is a short term manager. He is brilliant if you want short term success. He will come in, manage for a couple of years, then move on to his next club. Rather then continue to rebuild teams within the current club, he moves on. What this results in is a lot of money spent – as he always looks at the next season, rather than the next 5 -, a high turnover of players, and often the next manager coming in and having to manage with one arm behind their back, as they have to manage out the expensively assembled players his predecessor signed, whilst spending millions getting in new players to get his own short term success.
We need someone who wants elongated success. Or at least is willing to leave the club in better shape then he joined. It is very easy to come in, spend £100m, and leave after 2 years, leaving nothing for the next man. A sign of a top manager is always someone who leaves the club in a better state than when he joined. Yes, I would love the next manager to come in and manage for 1,000 games, but this is unrealistic. So as a compromise, we need someone who wants the short term success, but is also able to work to a long term plan, such as that of the Liverpool boot room. Keep your eye on the long game, whilst not taking it off the short term.
All Round Ability
There are 3 types of managers.
The first is the manager. Ferguson became this towards the end of the reign. They are rarely on the training ground, leaving it to their coaches. They pick the team, they give the team talks, all they care about is match day. Harry Redknapp is another example of this. They are not great coach’s, but have attributes elsewhere, such as signing players.
Secondly, you have the coach’s. They are technically brilliant. The first on the training ground, the last off. They know everything, and are always up skilling themselves. Andres Villas Boas certainly falls into this category. They are often given the title of head coach, and have to work with a director of football above them.
You then have a special group or men. The all rounders. Arsene Wenger
is was one. Ferguson was in his early reign. Mourinho is one. They do everything. They run the club from top down. They manage the team. They sign the players. They take the coaching sessions. They instruct the scout’s where to go. It could perhaps be argued that they eventually become power hungry dictators. That they become self-obsessed. That they are egocentric. They are control freaks.
The way Arsenal are currently set up, an all-rounder is what is required. Someone who wants to manage every aspect of the club, from picking his CEO to whether the tea girl uses Earl Grey or Assam. Frank De Boer has a massive team around him at Ajax, playing to Johann Cruyff’s beat. Is he suitable? Meanwhile, Jurgen Klopp is his own man, responsible for everything.
We need a man who is a top coach and a top manager.
Q. Why did Mesut Ozil chose Arsenal? A. Arsene Wenger.
Whilst money is king in the current game, the manager can also play an important part. Would Mesut Ozil have left Real Madrid to play for David Moyes, Brendan Rodgers or Tim Sherwood? He probably does not even know who they are.
Last year, Everton finished 6th in the Premier League. David Moyes then joined Manchester United. He then spent the summer trying, and struggling, to recruit players from Europe. The money was there, Manchester United, one of the biggest names in world football, were Champions, so why did he struggle? My theory is players, when told that David Moyes wanted them at Manchester United, answered ‘David Who?’ – He ended up signing just one player, who used to play for him, and who he did not really want.
Who currently manages the 6th placed team in Spain, Germany, France & Italy? Hint: The clubs Real Sociedad, Borussia Monchengladbach, Marseille & Parma.
Not only do you not know, players will not know. Despite them being professional footballers, they are thick, they are isolated. They would not have a clue. Players want to be improved. They want to be coached by the best. Would Roberto Martinez become an important factor in the pursuit of Julian Draxler? Probably not. Meanwhile, the likes of Jurgen Klopp and Frank De Boer are world known names, for either managing or playing. They have that international reputation.
Oh, and the answer was Jagoba Arrasate, Lucien Favre, Jose Anigo and Roberto Donadoni.
People might argue that I am setting the bar high. That only perhaps a dozen men in world football right now fulfil all 4 criteria. But we are Arsenal, and we need to set that bar high. Like we are all demanding the best players, not someone with ‘potential’, we need to do the same with the manager. We do not need another Arsene Wenger, we need the best we can get.
Arsene Wenger is currently the 4th highest paid manager in world football. If we plan to pay the best, we need to ensure we get the best, Remember, the man they are replacing is a manger who was named coach of the decade in 2010. We should be looking for the next coach of the decade.
Feel free in the comments below to leave who you feel fulfils all 4 criteria.