In yesterday's Life After Arsene, we covered Everton's Roberto Martinez and the successful, and not-so-successful, parts of his managerial resume. Today is Carlo Ancelotti's turn as our series rounds into its homestretch.
Brief managerial background: Extremely impressive. One of the most successful manager in our series, and in world soccer today, Ancelotti started out his managerial career guiding Italian club Reggina to Serie A promotion in his first season in charge. That drew the interest of Parma, where he took them immediately to a second-place finish in Serie A. After two seasons at Parma, he left for Juventus for two seasons before arriving at Milan in 2001.
It was during his eight-year run at A.C. Milan where he cemented his reputation for success. While he only won the league once during his time at the San Siro, he steered them to three Champions League finals, winning two. He also won a couple subsequent UEFA Super Cups and the Coppa Italia.
He resigned from his Milan post in 2009, eventually landing in Roman Abramovich's arms before the year's end. He took Chelsea to a domestic double (league and FA Cup) during his first season with the club, but was dismissed from his position after finishing second to Manchester United in the 2010/11 season. Ancelotti emerged at another big spending club, nouveau riche PSG, in the middle of the 2011/12 season, finishing second to Olivier Giroud's Montpellier.
Having a full year seems to help Ancelotti, as evidenced by the Ligue 1 title he won in the 2012/13 season. But when Real Madrid came calling after then-manager Jose Mourinho left for a second stint at Chelsea, he promptly resigned and became the director of Madrid's historic 2013/14 season that included a Copa del Rey conquest and their famous Champions League La Decima.
Is there an Arsenal connection? No.
Does he have a connection to Arsene Wenger? No.
Pros: Tactically flexible based on current squad makeup. He currently enjoys a wealth of talent at Real Madrid, and he's known to change the shape and starting XI from match-to-match based upon matchups and his opponents' weaknesses. He moves the shape from a 4-2-3-1, to a 4-4-2, to almost a 4-2-2-2. Of course it helps having wingers galore and sturdy, strong central midfielders at a manager's disposal, but it helps being a good tactician at hand and he certainly fits within both of those parameters.
Additionally, Ancelotti's won at every stop he's made. He has three Champions League titles, three league titles, three domestic cups, and countless other victories in UEFA, FIFA and domestic champions cups and, currently, his Real Madrid side are four points up on second-place Barcelona in La Liga.
Cons: Ancelotti's worked at clubs where his transfer wishes and desires were realized, which might not be the case at a club that's as financially-prudent as Arsenal. That aside, while he's notably signed some of the finest players in the world, there's no bigger strike against him than his authorization for Chelsea to spend £50 million on Fernando Torres.
Further, Ancelotti's 55 years old right now, so if he replaces Wenger at Arsenal in two-plus years, he's not exactly the sort of long-term hire desired by the fan base.
Overall assessment: By no means not the worst hire Arsenal could make to replace Arsene Wenger. Ancelotti very recently said that he would welcome a return to England and the Premier League, and even going as far to say that if he doesn't go back to the Premier League after his Madrid time is up, he'll instead retire from management altogether.
That doesn't necessarily mean Arsenal would rocket to the top of his wish list, knowing there's always the two Manchester clubs and his old club Chelsea who would be just as attractive options. His ability to produce results with all types of players at his disposal would be a huge plus if he took over an Arsenal squad assembled under Arsene Wenger, given that he probably wouldn't need to drastically overhaul the squad during his first transfer window in charge.
All in all, Carlo Ancelotti and his forever-arched left eyebrow would bring a resume filled with success to Arsenal, and his presence alone would theoretically make them title contenders upon his arrival. But if he's going to make the transition back to England, the sooner the better for everyone involved. Otherwise Arsenal would have a manager who's already admitted that retirement is on his mind, who will not be in this role for a considerable amount of time.
In tomorrow's Life After Arsene, we dissect the possibility of one of the most popular names in soccer management replacing Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.