In Depth

Arsenal’s next manager: Low, Ancelotti and Arteta on shortlist to replace Wenger

Gunners’ long-serving boss is odds-on to leave the club at the end of the season

Arsene Wenger’s future as Arsenal manager is once again the biggest talking point across the UK’s football media.

Following Sunday’s dismal 3-0 loss to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final, and the Gunners’ poor league position, a number of media outlets are speculating on who will take over from Wenger when he finally leaves, or is sacked, from the top job at the Emirates.

The Frenchman, 68, has been in the role since 1996 and has a contract until summer 2019. But with Arsenal’s Champions League qualification hopes looking weak, many fans want to see immediate change in the Gunners’ hot seat.

Currently sixth in the Premier League, Arsenal are ten points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, who sit in the final Champions League qualification spot.

This means Arsenal’s only realistic path to qualification for next season’s Champions League is by winning the Europa League - and they face a tough draw against AC Milan in the last-16.

Pundits slam Wenger

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright, who played under Wenger, believes there’s “no case” for the Frenchman to stay in the job beyond the end of the season.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Wright said: “There are excuses [from Wenger] and he is mollycoddling a team. Whether he stays at the end of this season, I could not make a case. I am not sure anyone can. This development of mediocrity has to be arrested.” 

Meanwhile, former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood says that Arsenal “need a new voice” and time has run out for Wenger.

Sherwood, who was on Sky Sports’ The Debate, said: “The players are not good enough to challenge for the Premier League title. The Arsenal fans want a team to challenge but they’re miles away from that at the moment.

“They need more players, different types of players, a better balance to their squad, and they need a new voice. I love Arsene Wenger and I love what he’s done for that football club and I’d always support him as much as I can, but I think they’ve run out of time.”

Could Wenger actually be sacked?

The Sun reported last week that Wenger would not be fired by Arsenal because the board don’t want to axe a “club icon”. However, that was before Arsenal capitulated against City at Wembley in a performance described as “shambolic” and “pathetic” - and that was putting it nicely.

According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are set to review Wenger’s position this summer and the prospect of ending his 22-year reign is now a “genuine option”.   

Betting odds for a ‘Wexit’

The bookies also believe that Wenger’s long stay at Arsenal will soon come to an end. Ladbrokes says that Wenger is odds-on to leave Arsenal before next season. “The Gunners boss is 5/6 to leave before the opening day of next season,” said Ladbrokes. “That’s the shortest price a ‘Wexit’ has been so far in 2018.” 

In the latest odds to be the “next Premier League manager to leave”, Wenger is 16/1 with William Hill, 25/1 with Unibet, 20/1 with Betway and 25/1 with both 888Sport and BetVictor.

Who will be Arsenal’s next manager?

While Thierry Henry said yesterday that it would be his “dream” to replace Wenger, today there’s a host of experienced managers linked with the Arsenal top job. 

The Daily Telegraph reports that Arsenal are already picking candidates to replace the “faltering” Wenger. His position will be reviewed at the end of the season and succession plans have “already begun”. The paper includes Henry on a shortlist of seven candidates who are “in the frame” to replace Wenger. 

The other names on the Telegraph’s shortlist are:

  • Leonardo Jardim (Monaco manager) 
  • Mikel Arteta (Manchester City assistant manager) 
  • Paulo Fonseca (Shakhtar Donetsk manager) 
  • Joachim Low (Germany head coach) 
  • Carlo Ancelotti (former Chelsea manager) 
  • Brendan Rodgers (Celtic manager)

The Daily Mail also reports that Low, Rodgers, Jardim and Arteta are “among the early favourites” for the Arsenal job when Wenger leaves. 

Meanwhile, the Daily Star says that former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti is “ready to step in” when Wenger goes. 

The Italian, 58, has reportedly told friends he wants another job in the Premier League and the Star understands that Arsenal “are the club he fancies taking charge of”.

As reported by the London Evening Standard, Betfair has a shortlist of ten names who could replace Wenger. Low is favourite with odds of 7/2 while Thomas Tuchel (7/1), Diego Simeone (8/1), Patrick Vieira (10/1) and Luis Enrique (10/1) also feature.

The Standard is also running a poll on who should succeed Wenger and Low is in top spot with 23% of the vote. 

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