Following the recent 5-1 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, that recurring question of whether Arsene Wenger is still the right man for the job has cropped up again.
On the other hand, it does seem odd to have doubts in a manager who has successfully led the team to a top four finish in every season he’s been at the club.
However, after spending just under £100 million during the summer transfer window, Wenger has failed to get the best out of a strong squad, relying instead on crucial goals from Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud when introduced off the bench. Meanwhile, his team selections in recent months have been questionable.
With the potential exit of the manager who has been at the club since 1996, rumours of his replacement have surfaced and here are the three candidates that have been linked.
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri, who is known to be adaptable to many systems and formations, is regarded as the main candidate to replace Arsene Wenger.
During his first year in Turin, he delivered the league title to Juventus and took them to the final of the European competition, but suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of an unstoppable Barcelona side.
Nevertheless, his good work led to a well-deserved one-year extension which kept him at the club until the end of this season.
Weeks before his contract extension, Allegri dipped into the transfer market and brought in Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic, showing that his ambitions included Champions League success and rather than settling for only the league. Both attackers came in for a total fee of £45 million, which could easily be seen as a bargain if you look at what they have achieved in the past 18 months.
Given Antonio Conte’s success at Chelsea this season, there is no reason why Italian managers like Allegri cannot thrive in the Premier League. Although his tactical decisions were questioned at the start of the season, Conte has now utilised his preferred back-three system which is now being used by other managers in the league.
Allegri’s tactical choices had a lot of Juventus fans confused a couple of months ago, however, he has started to use the 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 formation which helped his side recently overcome Inter Milan in a vital 1-0 victory.
If he was appointed at Arsenal at the end of the campaign, without a doubt, his ability to turn a good side into a dominant force would be something the fans can look forward to.
Second on the list is Borussia Dortmund’s Thomas Tuchel.
Since replacing Jurgen Klopp at the Bundesliga club ahead of the 2015/16 campaign, the German coach has already been regarded as ‘the new Klopp’ as well as one of the best young managers in Europe.
Only 43, he has instantly helped his squad to tactically adapt to several formations.
Just like the Liverpool manager, the former Augsburg and Mainz coach is also known to work around the football philosophy of high pressing, popularly known as gegenpressing in Germany.
Similar to the likes of Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino, Tuchel is known to place a lot of faith in youngsters and give them the chance to develop. Although it takes time for players to settle at a big club, the young guns at Dortmund have gotten into their stride quickly and the manager should be commended for that.
So far this season, Dortmund and Tuchel have got the most out of the talents they brought in during the summer in Ousmane Dembele, Emre Mor and Rapahel Guerreiro as well as Felix Passlack and Christian Pulisic, with the pair being promoted to the first team from the youth academy.
Tuchel has proved to be resourceful when it comes to working with a tight budget, which could be seen as a big positive given Arsenal’s reluctance to spend big over the years.
On the other hand, Tuchel leaving Dortmund anytime soon seems unlikely given his determined pursuit of success at the Westfalenstadion.
The final candidate on this list, is none other than Eddie Howe, who impressively took Bournemouth from League Two in 2008 to the Premier League in 2015.
The fact that the Englishman has not managed a top club in any of the major leagues in Europe doesn’t appear to have limited his chances. Wenger also believes that Howe is an example for all young managers and has a massive future ahead of him.
Despite his side conceding a lot of goals, Howe isn’t afraid of sticking to his attacking style of play. Although he isn’t anywhere near as tactically versatile as either Allegri or Tuchel, Howe has demanded his side press high up the pitch which led them to a famous 4-3 win over Liverpool in December and a six-goal thriller against Arsenal last month.
However, due to the small squad at his disposal, the high-pressing strategy has been difficult to sustain and Bournemouth often drop in intensity around the hour mark.
At the end of the day, Howe has done very well so far in his managerial career but could do with experience at a club in the top half of the table before a potential move to Arsenal.