Arsene Wenger’s job security, which was already under threat, took a massive hit on Wednesday night when his Gunners were thrashed 5-1 by Bayern Munich. The loss wasn’t exactly a surprise, as the German giants were favorites, but the way in which the north London club fell apart in the second half of the match was surely shameful.
Arsenal went into halftime holding Bayern to a 1-1 scoreline; however, they could not keep Robert Lewandowski and company quiet for too much longer. Following center back Laurent Koscielny’s departure due to an injury in the 49th minute of the match, the Gunners quickly allowed three goals within 10 minutes and the match was all but essentially over.
If Wenger was on the hot seat prior to the heavy defeat in Deutschland, it’s probably on fire now. Much has been made over the Frenchman’s future with the club, and whether or not he will return for the 2017/18 campaign. Squawka has recently claimed that Wenger is leaning towards letting his current contract expire and mark an end of an era with the north London side. If this is the case, Arsenal will have to find a new manager to lead them into the future.
Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone and German national team manager Joachim Löw are the two biggest names to be rumored with replacing Wenger; however, both appear happy with their current roles at the moment. Max Allegri, Thomas Tuchel, Leonardo Jardim, Ralph Hasenhüttl, Eddie Howe, and Roger Schmidt have all also recently been linked with the Arsenal job as well.
While some, or perhaps most, of these managers could do a fine job with the Gunners, there is another coach that stands out as a possible Wenger successor: Jorge Sampaoli.
Formally the Chile national manager (with whom superstar Alexis Sanchez played for), now with Spanish side Sevilla, Sampaoli is widely regarded as one of the best managers not currently with a “big” club. Not only would potentially hiring the 56-year-old give the Gunners a bit of boost in re-signing Sanchez due to the relationship between player and manager, but Sampaoli’s tactics would suit Arsenal as well.
Sampaoli is known for his attacking style of play (much like the current Gunners) and has brought a bit of flare to the Spanish club. During the 2015/16 season, Sevilla managed to score a total of 51 goals during league play (sixth most). However, since Sampaoli has taken over, the club have netted 44 goals in just 22 league matches during the current campaign (only Real Madrid and Barcelona have scored more).
The Argentine also has a big personality and would most likely not be intimidated potentially replacing the legendary Wenger. Arsenal should look to sign a proven manager with a strong disposition, who would not be afraid of pressure surrounding the move, and Sampaoli fits the bill.
Arsenal would have to act quickly though. It has been reported that Barcelona would look to sign Sampaoli should current manager Luis Enrique not lead his team to silverware this season. Not only do Barca brass potentially want Sampaoli, but so does Leo Messi.
If Wenger were to depart north London at season’s end, Gooners around the world will hopefully understand how much he has meant to their beloved club. The Frenchman has been with Arsenal since 1996 and only Manchester United’s Sir Alex Ferguson has recorded more Premier League victories than Wenger. Although the Gunners are underperforming at the moment, Wenger’s reign with the team should be looked at as a success.