Embroiled in controversy, Sam Allardyce has quit as England Manager after only one competitive game in charge. Now, with World Cup Qualifiers bearing down on them, the English FA is scrambling to find a permanent replacement and hope to land one with the clout to help them push past this uncomfortable position. Which is likely the motivation for approaching the Gunners boss.
Numerous media reports are suggesting the FA are prepared to approach Arsène Wenger for England’s top job. He originally was their first choice to succeed Roy Hodgson, who stepped down after their shock exit to the Mighty Iceland, but they were rebuffed by Wenger. With interim manager Gareth Southgate signed on for Engalnd’s next four international games, the FA are pressed to close the deal quickly.
On the surface, the move makes sense. Wenger is the type of calm personality who could combat the blood thirsty world that surrounds England right now. Even though French by birth, he has been a mainstay on the English soccer scene since joining Arsenal 20 years ago and has long history of developing youth (if not to great results), including the current British crop at Arsenal. England possess a lot of young players and Wenger could be the steady hand they desperately need, having been someone who’s pretty much seen it all.
Wenger has been open with his feelings of the country and team, speaking about this job in July:
'Could I manage England? Why not? I would never rule that out, but I am happy and focussed in club football.
'England is my second country. I was absolutely on my knees when England went out against Iceland. I couldn't believe it.
However, the FA face one major obstacle, just as they did in the summer: Arsenal.
Stan Kroenke and Arsenal are already seeking to extend Wenger, whose contract is up in the summer, and it’s easy to see why. Coming off a massive win against Chelsea, about to re-sign their midfield star Mesut Özil and having built a team that could see them competing at the top of the league for a few years, it is hard to imagine Arsène walking away from Arsenal.
As well, he has long been giving near total control over everything at the club, a status one would greatly doubt he’d experience at England. Nor would the deal be likely as lucrative as the £8m per year Wenger currently enjoys, should that come into account.
It is very likely that one day Arsène Wenger will join the ranks of international soccer managers, perhaps even for England, but right now he has a very good job with very good players for as long as he wants it. It would be a real shock to see the big man depart now.