Arsenal’s chief executive, Ivan Gazidis, the Director of Football Relations, Raul Sanllenhi, and the chief scout, Sven Mislintat, are drawing up a list of successors for Arsène Wenger, who is expected to leave the club after this season, according to Matt Law in the Telegraph. Per Law, the change will happen whether Arsenal win the Europa League and qualify for next season’s Champions League or not.
The three men all favour different candidates. Sanllehi’s preference is Luis Enrique, who won the Champions League at Barcelona, but is also believed to be the favourite to replace Antonio Conte at Chelsea. Mislintat, meanwhile, likes Domenico Tedesco, who has managed one season at Schalke, and Julian Nagelsmann, who is the manager of Hoffenheim. The link to Tedesco seems tenuous; Mislintat was at the derby between Dortmund and Schalke this past weekend, but Mislintat, of course, worked for Dortmund, and could’ve been there for a number of different reasons. Finally, Ivan Gazidis likes former Arsenal captain and current Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta, and is also an admirer of Brendan Rodgers and Leonardo Jardim, of Monaco.
The three will reportedly work together to develop a shortlist, while not trying to be seen approaching candidates while Wenger is still in charge. This, then, presents a challenge in time, and perhaps in veracity. With the season fast ending and a World Cup this summer, a decision has to be made quickly—perhaps even now. That, though, is impossible if the club is trying to ensure a smooth exit for Wenger, which, as a legendary manager no matter what you think of his ability now, is the right thing to do. On that end, though, there is seemingly no movement; Wenger will likely not want to resign, and it’s unlikely Stan Kroenke will sack him. The timeline for carrying out a search, replacing the current manager, and making sure Wenger leaves gracefully seems impossible. An exit next season, with his contract expiring, and with Arsenal able to give notice, seems the more likely outcome.