Comparing the candidates to replace Wenger: Enrique, Simeone, Vieira…

Quick Reads

Arsene Wenger will end his 22-year association with Arsenal at the end of the current season – prompting plenty of speculation about who will replace the Frenchman.

Wenger has won three Premier League titles and lifted the FA Cup a record seven times in his lengthy spell in charge of the club, and many credit him with changing the face of modern English football.

We’ve taken a look at some of the names reportedly in the running to replace Wenger to see who might be the best fit at the Emirates.

Luis Enrique

Enrique’s managerial career began in 2008 with Barcelona B, where he replaced Pep Guardiola in the role. He guided them to the Segunda Division before making the play-offs in his final season, although they were ineligible for promotion to the top tier.

In 2011 he joined Roma, where a difficult season saw his side dumped out of the Europa League by SK Slovan Bratislava and fail to qualify for Europe, meaning he left after one season having won just 40.5% of his games.

An impressive season in charge at Celta Vigo saw him appointed Barcelona manager in 2014, and in three years in charge he won the Champions League, La Liga twice and lifted the Copa Del Rey in every season – after the club had managed to win just one trophy out of nine prior to his arrival.

A dramatic downturn in form in 2016 saw Enrique’s side lose four out of five – after going 39 unbeaten – but his response may encourage Arsenal fans.

“I like adversity, that’s how I am,” he said. “I want to turn this around, win tomorrow and put on a show. I want to delight the fans who are behind us and can’t explain this situation.”

Across his four managerial appointments, Enrique has lost just 80 of his 387 matches, winning 59.2% of those. At Barcelona, he won over three quarters of his games in charge.

In his latest role, he averaged 2.41 points per game, and 2.87 goals – conceding an average of just 0.81 per game.

Patrick Vieira

After coaching the youth teams at Manchester City, Vieira was handed his first managerial job across the pond, taking over New York City for the start of the 2016 MLS season.

The club had finished 17th in the overall table in its inaugural season, before Vieira guided them to fourth in 2016 and then second last year.

They currently sit top of the overall table after taking 17 points from their first eight games, with pundits generally praising the former Arsenal captain for the job he has done.

Vieira said he has even learned from Wenger’s struggles over recent years, with his former manager even lending his espertise to his trusted ex-captain.

“You know that you will have ups and downs during the season,” Vieira said.

“One day you will be the best coach and the next day you will be the worst. So, it’s all about – I believe – how you can be consistent in yourself, and how you have to be consistent with the media, with the fans, with your players.”

When it comes to the numbers, Vieira has picked up an average of 1.6 points per game, scoring 1.65 and conceding an average of 1.47 times each outing.

His New York City career so far has seen him pick up wins in 45.12% of his matches, losing 25 times in 82 games.

Diego Simeone

Beginning his managerial career in 2006, Simeone took charge of six clubs before settling at Atletico Madrid in 2011.

‘Brutally effective’ is a phrase synonymous with the Argentine’s approach to games, which suggests he may suit the Premier League in general and act as a catalyst for change at the Emirates.

“Far from parking the bus, Atletico aggressively defend the ball like a dog with any sort of toy,” wrote The Telegraph in 2016.

“Atletico are good without being superstars but become a relentless winning machine with the intense tenacity and commitment to the cause that Simeone has brought to the club.”

The manager himself has said: ”Atletico are about passion, hard work, humility. If you don’t give it your all and I can feel it, someone else will take your place. Nothing is guaranteed, and if you fall asleep, you’re out.

All of this will be music to the ears of Arsenal fans.

Simeone’s Atletico have conceded an average of just 0.74 goals per game since he took charge, scoring 1.76.

His win percentage in Madrid is 61.73 (56.35% across his whole career), while his Atletico side pick up an average of 2.08 points per game.

Carlo Ancelotti

A distinguished career has seen Ancelotti manage Juventus, AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG, Real Madrid and most recently Bayern Munich, where he was sacked last September.

He has won four league titles, the Champions League three times and five domestic cups across those clubs, having started out a manager at Reggiana in 1995.

“Discipline, following rules, and respect are important to me,” the Italian said when describing his style.

“I try to talk to everyone and – what is even more important – listen to everyone. Eye to eye. I like to have a good relationship with my players. Many people confuse that with softness – but that is not quite right.”

Ancelotti, who has also been touted as the next Italy manager, was sacked at Bayern despite losing just nine of his 60 games in charge, finishing with a 70% win ratio.

He averaged 2.28 points and 2.68 goals per game at Bayern. Throughout his career, the 58-year-old has won 58.93% of his matches in charge.

Brendan Rodgers

Rodgers was one of the first names to be linked with the Arsenal job following an impressive two seasons at Celtic which look set to end with a second successive treble.

The former Chelsea youth coach shot to prominence in charge at Swansea City, who he guided to the Premier League for the first time before establishing them in the top flight and then joining Liverpool.

His spell in charge at Anfield saw him win 50% of his matches, lasting just over three years before he was sacked in October 2015 and then joined Celtic the following summer.

“He is someone who demands a certain level from himself. He demands that level from his followers, the players and the staff,” Rodgers’ assistant Chris Davies recently said.

“He’s extremely hard working, dedicated to his profession and a winner. The players feed off that. They see Brendan as being relentless so they can be relentless.”

“His one-on-one management is the best I have known,” former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard said. “He makes you go out on to the pitch feeling a million dollars — full of confidence and belief.”

At Liverpool, Rodgers averaged 1.77 points per game, a number which has rocketed to 2.30 at Celtic.

Since joining the Hoops, he has won 71.3% of his games in charge and scored 2.31 goals per game, conceding 0.89 on average.

Mikel Arteta

Another former Arsenal midfielder, Arteta is also reported to be high on the shortlist despite never having managed a club before.

After his retirement, the Spaniard joined up with Pep Guardiola as his assistant at Manchester City, where he has now been for two years.

It’s claimed Ivan Gazidis, Arsenal’s chief executive, wants Arteta to be the man to succeed Wenger in the Emirates hot seat.

“We need to be open-minded and also brave in the decision. When Arsene was appointed, I don’t think he was on many people’s radar,” Gazidis said, prompting suggestions they could go for someone in the mould of Arteta.

Julian Nagelsmann

Arsenal’s head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, formerly of Borussia Dortmund, is reportedly keen on 30-year-old Hoffenheim boss Nagelsmann.

Nicknamed the ‘mini Mourinho’, Nagelsmann ended his playing career as a teenager due to persistent knee injuries, coaching youth teams before working as an assistant at Hoffenheim from 2012.

The young coach was appointed manager in February 2016, taking over with the club seven points from safety and going on to win seven from 14 to finish above the relegation and relegation play-off spots.

That excellent form continued and his side finished fourth in 2017, earning a place in the Champions League for the first time in the club’s history, only to meet Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the qualifying round.

“I like to attack the opponents near their own goal because your own way to the goal is not as long if you get the ball higher up,” Nagelsmann said.

“I like the way Villarreal play and they have a great way of coaching young players. I also like Barcelona and Arsenal as well as the work of Arsene Wenger.”

He has averaged 1.59 points per game at Hoffenheim, who currently sit two points off fourth spot in the Bundesliga.

The head coach has had his contract extended to 2021 after winning 42.86% of his games in charge, his side scoring an average of 1.80 goals per game.


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