The deed is done, Emery is gone, and Arsenal fans are all collectively now the dog that caught the car. Freddie Ljungberg is the interim manager, for however long interim lasts in this case, but who is in the conversation to be Arsenal’s next permanent manager?
There have been a lot of names batted around, so let’s take a quick look at some of the bigger names floating around the Arsenalsphere. We’re not going to put odds or a likelihood on these, because we have no idea, but these are some of the names that seem to be in contention as of this morning.
Widely considered to be one of the favorites to land the job permanently, he was also a subject of discussion when Wenger left. Some concerning-if-true things about the club’s process came out today about that conversation, though:
Allegri was interviewed before Emery’s appointment 18 months ago but we are told he asked the club to tell him why he should become their new manager. At the time, the hierarchy thought he was arrogant, although those feelings have subsided [@CraigHope_DM]— Arsènic™ (@MrArsenicTM) November 29, 2019
Allegri had great success at Juventus, winning five Serie A titles and reaching the Champions League final twice. I mean, it’s Juve, so that’s kind of the baseline expectation, but he did well there and would presumably do well at Arsenal, although the newly restructured Arsenal may not want a coach who will demand the level of control that an Allegri would probably want.
Nuno Espirito Santo
The current Wolves manager’s name popped up earlier in the week, thanks to his agent Jorge Mendes, who has close connections with Raul Sanllehi. Santo’s done a good job with Wolves, to the point where they’re everyone’s favorite to muscle their way into the top six this year, but whether that’s the right level of manager Arsenal should be looking at is an open question.
While his office door name tag is currently written on a post-it, with the permanent name tag door-holder empty and awaiting a new name, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Freddie could get the gig, if he does well as interim manager. He’s been widely praised for his management of the Arsenal youth setup, as both a good mentor and a manager who instills good habits into young players, and Arsenal will be keen to see how that translates into senior team management before making a decision on his ultimate status.
Heavily mocked, unfairly in my opinion, in his time at Liverpool, Brendan Rodgers has rehabilitated his reputation since leaving Anfield, winning two trebles and the 2018 Scottish League Cup at Celtic before moving to Leicester City in February of 2019. He’s since brought Leicester City back up from mid-tableness to second in the league, and has them in the top four conversation again.
The ex-Arsenal player has been taking notes from Pep Guardiola since 2016. He was a (glorious) hair away from getting the Arsenal job that was handed to Unai Emery, and since then, seemingly any managerial vacancy that pops up has Arteta’s name attached to it. As with Ljungberg, I’m one who is very skeptical about managers with no experience managing a club the size of Arsenal, but I’m also willing to be proven wrong.
The banter-est hire that would ever have bantered. With the added bonus that he’s actually a good manager! It is probably the longest of all longshots, but Arsenal could absolutely do worse than to bring Poch in. Poch did at Spurs what Wenger did at Arsenal at first - he revitalized Spurs and made them relevant again, even if that relevance has yet to yield a trophy. It’ll never happen, but it’d be hilarious and good for the club.
Currently managing Napoli, he’s kind of another longshot because, well, currently managing Napoli. But like Emery, he’s had his struggles there this season, and it wouldn’t be unheard of for him to change clubs at this point. He fits Arsenal’s profile, as a manager who has been at the biggest of the big clubs and had success, but his status at Napoli keeps this from going into the Very Serious Prospect column for me.
The Invincible and Emirates fan-favorite is currently managing Nice and is reportedly on David Beckham’s shortlist to manage Miami FC, so, like Ancelotti, he doesn’t belong in the Very Serious Prospect column. That said, he was on the list of names being tossed around to replace Arsene Wenger back in 2018. If Arsenal want to dip into the former player pool, Vieira is probably the best option of that bunch, but I don’t see him leaving his current post mid-season.