Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who's our next manager?

"I have a very strong relationship with this Club. But I always believe the most important thing in the Club is that everybody does what he is paid for and not the rest. If they consult me I will give an opinion but I certainly will not name the next manager because that's not my job and I wouldn't like to do anything other than my job."

- Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger won't do anything other than his job.

After observing his activities in the past five years, therefore, Wenger must be paid to be the manager, the head scout, the CEO, a board member, a stadium planner, a financial adviser, an accountant and the Arsenal's main PR spokesman. That's a heck of a job description. No wonder he's on £5 million a year.

One of the problems of the past five years is that Wenger has been doing too much at the Arsenal. It is a coincidence that our transfers dwindled in the time between the sacking of David Dein and the hiring of Ivan Gazidis? I don't think so. Since Dein left, Wenger has been focused too much on off-the-pitch matters, such as balancing the books, negotiating contracts, and developing Arsenal change rooms along feng shui principles. And during that time, our squad has been allowed to stagnate.

I hope this statement is a sign that things are getting back to normal. Ivan Gazidis may be a mouthpiece for the Arsenal Board, but he's effective at his job and he's taking the off-the-pitch pressure off Wenger. I hope this arrangement works out. It's time that Wenger concentrated his efforts on on-the-pitch matters, such as landing our first Premier League title in over five years.

That said, it would be interesting to speculate on our next manager. I assume that when he retires, Wenger will take up some sort of advisory role at the Club. And I assume that the next manager at Arsenal would be someone who shares Wenger's football philosophy and his parsimoney. However, there aren't many established coaches who would accept a position like Arsenal manager, if Wenger is still at the Club in some capacity.

Which leads me to suspect that the next manager will be an inside appointment, someone understands the crazy principles of Wengerball. Wenger's been on record saying that some of his old players have the potential to be Arsenal managers. He's mentioned Henry as one example. And I'm sure Tony Adams, Martin Keown or Dennis Bergkamp would have an interest in managing Arsenal.

However, I've another target in mind. From my Football Manager 08 saved game, I know that Patrick Vieira has the potential to be an excellent manager. After taking over from me at Arsenal, he won two Premier League and three Champions League titles in the space of five years. He then managed France to a World Cup win. He was an awesome player, and he turns into an awesome manager.

Maybe that's the real reason we've been linked to him in January?

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