Diego Simeone should be Arsenal’s first choice as next manager

Simeone

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been with the north London club since 1996.  That’s longer than any other club manager in Europe.  He has guided the team to nine significant trophies, along with six Community Shields as well.  The Frenchman also has the distinction of collecting the most FA Cup triumphs in the competition’s history (along with Aston Villa’s George Ramsay).  In fact, Arsenal have won the prestigious trophy 12 times, with Wenger being manager of the Gunners for six of them.

Despite all of Wenger’s accolades during his 20 year coaching career with Arsenal, it appears as if his time is running short as a Premier League manager.  Even while he has won back-to-back FA Cups prior to the current campaign (you would never know due to all of the scrutiny currently facing the manager), it is Wenger’s recent Premier League collapses that have turned some Gooners away from the team.

Wenger currently has one more year left on his current contract.  At 66-years-old, one would assume that the 2016/17 season would be his last on the sidelines of the Emirates, if he does not step down or get sacked first.  With a significant chunk of Arsenal supporters calling for Wenger to be fired prior to the start of next season, Wenger’s legacy is taking a major hit.  Make no mistake about it, Wenger has been a fantastic manager for the Gunners.  The greatest manager in the club’s history, in fact.  Nevertheless, a change at the helm may be in order.

Whether Wenger departs Arsenal this summer or next, they should already be on the search for the Frenchman’s potential replacement.  The first place Gunners brass should go is Madrid, Spain.  Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone has been an absolute revelation since joining his old club in December of 2011.  In the nine seasons prior to Simeone donning his famous all black suit on the Atletico sidelines, the team had an average finish of eighth in the La Liga table.  Compare this to the Argentine’s first three full seasons in Madrid in which the club finished third, first, and third in the standings (and are currently fighting for a title this season).

In his second full season in charge, Simeone not only led Atleti to their first league title in 18 years, but he also guided them to the Champions League Final.  The Spanish club went 40 years between appearances in the European competition.

Simeone has brought a fresh style and plenty of intensity on his return to the team in which he played four and-a-half seasons with.  Never shy, the 45-year-old oncesaid about his playing days, “I always played as if I had a knife between my teeth.”  His Atletico team have certainly appeared to adopt this mentality.  They do not play flashy soccer such as their Spanish rivals Real Madrid or Barcelona, in fact Atleti have almost scored half as many league goals as the other duo have, but Simeone’s club play with a certain passion that just plain works.

Atletico are a defensively stable club, something that Arsenal have struggled with in recent memory.  They are very patient without the ball and do not need a lot of possession to succeed.  Simeone usually deploys a starting XI that’s filled with tall and physical players.  During Atletico’s recent Champions League victory over Barcelona, the team from Madrid only had one player under 5’10” in the starting lineup (superstar striker Antoine Griezmann).

These characteristics are a bit different from Arsenal, to say the least.  Nevertheless, with Arsenal’s recent troubles in defense, as well as intensity issues, Simeone would seemingly give the Gunners the boost that they desperately need at the moment.  Prying Atletico’s manager away from the club may be difficult to do; however, Arsenal should be beating down the door at the Vicente Calderon to do their best in persuading Simeone to make the switch to the Premier League.

If Simeone were in fact willing to replace Wenger at Arsenal, there would most likely be changes with personnel.  The days of beautiful soccer under Wenger would be gone and counter attacking soccer would be a weekly occurrence at the Emirates.  However, if the north London club are collecting Premier League titles and going deep into the Champions League tournament, Arsenal fans probably won’t mind a few 1-0 matches.

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One Response

  1. VicBklyn April 27, 2016

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