If you look up the phrase “polarizing topic” in the dictionary, you have a better dictionary than I do, because mine only generally lists single words. But, that aside, if in this magical phrase dictionary you’re using, you look up that phrase, it will contain at least one entry about “Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal future”.
I’m not here to rehash those same arguments for the, uh, eleventy squillionth time. I’m here to talk about what happens after Arsene does go, after he officially decides he’s done being the best thing to happen to Arsenal since Herbert Chapman.
There’s all sorts of discussion about who the fans want - basically, to join in that discussion, all you need is a template that says “I think (big name manager) would be great” or the farcical “I think (ex-player) should be manager because (ex-player) is Arsenal through and through” - which, c’mon. I mean, Alexander Hleb is an ex-Arsenal player and arguably loves the club, but you don’t want him managing Arsenal. No, you don’t.
Anyway, the Sun, a paper so dubious I’m not really even going to link it here, seems to think that Eddie Howe is going to be “groomed” for the Arsenal manager seat, at least according to NBC Sports.
Here’s the thing: I know very little about Eddie Howe. He may be a fine manager! I am, however, somewhat skeptical (echoing the NBC sports skepticism) that a manager with basically two years of Premier League experience can step into quite possibly the largest, most visible, most pressure-filled shoes in the modern English game and do well.
I don’t think he’d be a Moyesian failure - Arsene will leave Arsenal in much better shape for someone to pick up the reins than SAF did - but I think the next Arsenal manager will have to have, above all else, a very thick skin in order to deal with quite possibly the most outsized set of expectations of any fan base anywhere, and hopefully if this “grooming” thing does happen, the first step is Arsene taking away Eddie’s smartphone and telling him to ignore all external voices always for all time.
I don’t know much about Howe’s management ability, but Arsenal seem to rate him pretty highly, so it will be interesting to see what happens over the course of the next season or two, and whether Arsenal are willing to bring in someone so young and relatively inexperienced to lead one of the biggest clubs in the world.