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Tuchel won’t join Arsenal because of the power of paralysis

Arsenal won’t have a new manager because the current one doesn’t want to leave and the board don’t want to make him leave.

Arsenal v Chelsea - The Emirates FA Cup Final Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Arsenal hiring Thomas Tuchel was always a long shot. The manner of Sven Mislintat’s banning at Borussia Dortmund, plus the position of power the new chief scout and definitely not Director of Football assumed at Arsenal meant that Tuchel was always likely to end up, if not at Bayern Munich, then Chelsea or Paris St. Germain. The story mattered, though, for two reasons. Firstly, if Arsenal are to replace Arsène Wenger, then this is the time these details need to be put into place. With a World Cup this summer and a shortened transfer window, having the next man in place for the job is essential to mitigate the shock of transition. This, you will note, failed to happen last spring, and is one reason why Mister Wenger was always likely going to be the Arsenal manager for the 2017-18 season despite having not signed a contract. We do not have to get into what has happened this season, but, it is suffice to say that Arsenal would be justified getting a new manager, and Mr. Wenger would be justified in stepping down. That, though, is likely not happening.

I am sure that there are many at Arsenal who would like to begin transitioning from Arsène Wenger to another manager. That might include Ivan Gazidis, Sven Mislintat, Raul Sanllehi, and various members of the board. Indeed, some of those people may even suggest hiring Thomas Tuchel, who is the best manager currently without a job, and is a damn sight better than many of those linked to the Arsenal job, and is more of a natural fit than Max Allegri or Leonardo Jardim, given his work at Borussia Dortmund, the context of getting the Dortmund job after a down-season under Jurgen Klopp, and Arsenal’s turn away from Ligue 1 and France to the Bundesliga and Germany.

There are, though, three factors, aside from Mislintat, that prevent Tuchel from getting the job, including the simple fact that a better, richer team want him (Chelsea or PSG). There are, though, two universal factors that apply to Tuchel or anyone else linked with the Arsenal job: Arsène Wenger does not want to stop managing Arsenal, and still believes he is the best man for the job, and those in a position of power at Arsenal to stop him managing the club do not want to do so. Those people, at board level, are the key, and may include Gazidis, but more likely Stan and Josh Kroenke, with the latter’s recent period in London indicating not that he was going to replace Wenger, but rather, he was going to help Wenger, and make Arsenal structurally more efficient.

This, though, is the simple equation at Arsenal. Until it changes, there will be a cycle of news stories linking coaches and managers to the Arsenal managerial position, and they will all have the same conclusion.