After being condemned to a defeat in the North London derby, voices in favor to ring in a change at Arsenal's managerial helm have begun to grow louder. Despite injecting the squad with world-class players like Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, the Gunners have failed to compete for major honors.
Inability to mount a serious bid for the league title for over nine years has led to a deep divide among the Arsenal fans. Arsene Wenger, the man responsible for molding the club's football philosophy, now faces the prospect of missing out on European qualification for the first time since taking charge of Arsenal.
While the Frenchman still continues to enjoy support of the club's decision makers, sections of loyal Arsenal fans have now taken off their rose-tinted glasses to judge Wenger's tenure at the club. While some live in hope of him rediscovering his midas touch, others have declared the 65-year-old's reign as a decade of failure.
Though his contract runs up to 2017, Wenger is now in danger of tarnishing his legacy at one of English football's iconic clubs.
If Arsenal's board opts for a painful divorce, here are some capable football managers that could replace Arsene Wenger.
Jurgen Klopp has long been considered as the perfect replacement to Arsene Wenger. Klopp's approach to football management that relies on philosophy and team building mirrors closest to the Arsenal boss. The Dortmund manager has revolutionized the club, breaking Bayern Munich's stranglehold on the Bundesliga. Despite losing his key personnel to the cash-rich Bavarians, Klopp's dogged determination has helped orchestrate two league triumphs during his six-year tenure at Ruhr Valley. Despite sharing a strong bond with all involved with Dortmund, the time is right for Klopp to take up another challenge.
Diego Simeone has accomplished the seemingly impossible at Atletico Madrid – breaking the Real Madrid-Barcelona duopoly in the La Liga. Having won the league title and narrowly missed out on European glory to city rivals Madrid in 2014, the Argentine is arguably the most sought after manager in world football. During the last few years, Arsenal teams under Wenger have been criticized for being 'soft'. Simeone could prove to be the ideal replacement by implementing the Atletico model in North London by infusing hunger and grit among players. His teams have displayed remarkable fitness levels that will also boost the Arsenal team, often plagued by injuries.
Ronald Koeman took over charge at Southampton in the middle of a crisis. With coach and key players opting for greener pastures in the summer, pundits rushed to pen premature obituaries of the club ahead of the 2014-15 season. In an astounding turn of events, Koeman not only held the rest of his squad together, but also developed a refreshing brand of football that has seen Southampton as a permanent presence in the top four so far this season. With limited resources, the Dutch manager has been the mastermind behind several big upsets caused by the Saints. With more resources at his disposal, Koeman would be well equipped to lead a renaissance at the Emirates.
Frank de Boer
Ajax have assembled a powerful management team, with Frank de Boer as the center piece, ably support by lieutenants Dennis Bergkamp and Edwin van der Saar. Having won four consecutive Eredivisie titles under De Boer, Ajax have rediscovered their famous footballing traditions. With Bergkamp, an Arsenal legend, by his side, one can expect De Boer to seamlessly don the manager's mantle at Emirates. Despite a managerial dream team at his command, De Boer's chances of establishing Ajax as a powerhouse of European football once again are wafer-thin. Hence, moving to North London would make perfect sense for the Dutch manager should the Arsenal offer come calling.
Andries Jonker replaced Liam Brady as head coach of Arsenal's academy ahead of the 2014-15 season. Most people will remember Jonker as Louis van Gaal's assistant at Bayern Munich, who then went on to become the club's interim manager. The 52-year-old relinquished his role as Wolfsburg's assistant manager to head the ambitious objectives of Gunners' academy. The club has outlined its vision of revamping the Arsenal academy to bring it on par with Barcelona's La Masia. Considering the favored club policy of internal hiring, Jonker succeeding Wenger could be the preferred choice by the Arsenal board.
When Sir Alex Ferguson retired from professional football management, Manchester United fans were aghast with the thought of replacing him. Arsene Wenger, one of Ferguson's great adversaries, would no longer be deemed irreplaceable if numbers instead of nostalgia were opted as parameter by Arsenal fans to judge his tenure.