Unai Emery’s second season in charge at Arsenal has definitely not started the way that anybody would have wanted or expected. Having basically been given a free pass in his first season, much more was expected from the Spaniard for the second, particularly after what most believed to be a very successful transfer window. This however, has not been the case. The biggest question of Arsenal’s season really has been, have Arsenal been worse going forward or at the back?
At this point, unless there’s a dramatic turn around from Emery, it seems more of a case of when and not if he is replaced as manager. I’m going to take a look at the names most frequently mentioned as potential replacements should Emery lose his job, and one or two rather unlikely names that I think could be suited to the role.
Completely inexperienced as a manager but he would have the values of the club he learned in his time playing for them. Freddie would be a popular appointment but definitely a big risk. What I believe would be the biggest plus with giving Ljungberg a chance would be his knowledge and relationships with the many, very talented young players that Arsenal have coming through at the moment. Ljungberg has worked with the likes of Willock, Smith-Rowe and Saka among others at Under-23 and 18 levels which would make their transition into the first team even easier than they made it look already. Freddie is definitely a risk but could be worth a try.
The first choice of most Arsenal supporters when Arsene Wenger left the club, Allegri decided to extend his stay at Juventus in an attempt to win the Champions League. After being let go by the Italian giants after their shock Champions League exit at the hands of Ajax, Allegri seems like an ideal replacement.
In his time at Juventus, he reached two European Finals playing a combination of organised, conservative football but with some style and flair also thrown into the mix. Allegri’s defensive organisation is exactly what Arsenal need and at Juve, he seemed to allow the creative players in the team to have the freedom to express themselves.
I believe Arsenal are in need of a serious coach to put a proper structure in place. The quality in the squad is not the problem in my opinion and I do think Allegri could definitely get the best out of what we have at our disposal.
A very controversial choice that has grown in popularity over time this season – definitely not someone that I would consider as Arsenal manager. Mourinho has obviously had an incredible career and deserves full credit for that but I do not think the juice is worth the squeeze with the Portuguese manager.
Realistically, without spending an inordinate amount of money, Arsenal are a few years at least away from competing for League Titles with Manchester City and Liverpool. This is exactly why I believe Mourinho would be a silly appointment. You cannot sell your soul for some immediate success and sacrifice your long-term future and that’s what hiring Mourinho would seem like to me.
Not a name that I’ve seen mentioned with the job but he is a name that was floated around at the time of Arsene Wenger’s departure. When you look at the job Rodgers is doing at Leicester, he’s not a name that you can ignore. He’s taken a Leicester team who were languishing in mid-table to serious top-four contenders in a very short space of time.
He’s gotten the very best out of the likes of James Maddison and Youri Tielemens in his spell with the Foxes and there’s no reason to believe he couldn’t do the same with Mesut Ozil and Nicolas Pepe, who Arsenal have definitely not been getting the best out of so far this season. Possibly an unrealistic option but should Rodgers be interested, he would definitely be one of the top candidates.
Another former Liverpool manager but he is a manager that I feel doesn’t get nearly the credit he deserves. When you look at the team that Benitez took to the Champions League and FA Cup success in his time at Liverpool, he, along with Steven Gerrard, should take the majority of the credit for those victories. The biggest knock on the Spaniard over the years is that he is too pragmatic in his approach and doesn’t play exciting football. I believe this is an unfair criticism as when he has had quality players at his disposal, Benitez has shown he is capable of a more exciting brand of football.
When he had Torres, Gerrard, and Alonso in his side at Liverpool, they played fantastic football and were one of the better teams to watch in the Premier League. Benitez, I feel is a slightly more realistic possibility than Brendan Rodgers as I think he would favour a return to England over his current job in China. As he isn’t currently available though, he is less likely than the top three options.
Of all the options I’ve gone through, I would definitely opt for Allegri. I believe he has all the qualities as a manager to get the best out of this Arsenal squad offensively and put more structure on the defensive side of the game as well.