Arsenal legend Steve Bould to become Wenger's new deputy
The former Gunners defender will take over from Pat Rice after 11 years behind the scenes
FORMER Arsenal defender Steve Bould is set to become Arsene Wenger's new deputy as the Gunners manager plots what the Daily Mail describes as "the biggest shake-up to his coaching set-up of his 16-year reign" in an attempt to end his club's seven-year barren run.
Pat Rice, who has sat alongside Wenger in the dugout throughout his reign, will step down in the summer, ending a 44 association with the club. Who replaces him has been a hot topic among Gunners fans for some time, with most hoping that someone with a connection to the club would be chosen.
Gunners legend Tony Adams had been linked with the post, but he has been overlooked in favour of another Arsenal old-boy, his former team mate Bould, who made nearly 300 league appearances for the club over an 11-year period.
He left Highbury in 1999, but returned to Arsenal in 2001 after hanging up his boots and joined the youth-team coaching staff. As the head of the Under-18 side at the Emirates Bould has helped develop the talents of players like Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Kieran Gibbs and Emmanuel Frimpong.
As a no-nonsense defender he may also be able to plug the holes in Arsenal's leaky rearguard. According to the Mirror: "He is renowned for being loud and having strong opinions." But the paper adds that he is well-liked by the players and is a popular choice for the role.
Some Gunners fans, who were unimpressed by suggestions that someone like Stuart Pearce could fill the role, seemed overwhelmed by the news that another tough defender had been given the role. Arsenal blog Le Grove went as far as to say: "Bould has it in him to be like [Barcelona manager, Pep] Guardiola."
And while Bould is set to take over as assistant manager, the Gunners' reserve team boss, Neil Banfield, is also set for promotion to first-team coach. It seems that he will work in tandem with current coach Boro Primorac who, it is reported, will carry on in his role.