The Arsène Wenger saga seems to become more and more complicated by the day. According to the Daily Mirror, Rafa Benitez is now among the shortlist of world class managers set to replace Arsene Wenger if he leaves at the end of the season.
The shortlist also includes Luis Enrique, Thomas Tuchel and Max Allegri. Three of these names fill Arsenal fans with joy, the fourth not so much.
The current Newcastle manager stands 1 point clear at the top of the Championship with only 16 games left to play. However, behind the scenes, things are not so rosy. It’s believed that Benitez has reportedly fallen out with Newcastle owner Mike Ashley over failed transfer dealings in January. It looks as though Benitez will see Newcastle into promotion and then jump off to bigger things.
Despite his seasoned CV, many Arsenal fans are in meltdown over the links to Benitez, I for one can’t understand the negative reaction. I don’t know why many seem to look down on Rafa Benitez, the man is a born winner. This is the same guy that has won 12 major honours in his career, nearly as much as Wenger. But he’s also achieved several accomplishments Wenger has never even gotten close to, especially on the European stage.
Benitez was the legend who led an average Liverpool side to the pinnacle of European football in 2005, with only one star in the team he won the Champions League. The Spaniard has also won an incredible two Europa League titles. Wenger couldn’t even deliver a European trophy with the Invincibles team.
Despite managing more inferior teams at the time, Benitez is unbeaten in 60% of the games he’s faced Arsène Wenger in, now doesn’t that tell you something. Everywhere he’s gone he’s brought silverware, it’s almost a guarantee he’ll bring back the glory days to the Emirates.
Despite the flattering links, the Newcastle manager came out yesterday and coyly played down the speculation.
“As a manager, you know that people will talk.”
Is this the end of Le Prof?
The rumours on Wenger’s imminent departure were sparked by Arsenal legend Ian Wright’s comments on Radio 5Live on Friday. In a dinner Wenger had with former players, Wright used the opportunity to analyse the Frenchman’s body language.
“He looks tired. I feel he will go at the end of the season.”
After a 12th successive failed title bid it looks as if Wenger’s position at the club has never been so untenable. Everyone is calling for him to leave the helm and let someone with fresh ideas come in. In the face of adversity, Wenger responded in typically icey fashion to pour cold water on the exit rumours.
“I appreciate you want me to rest but I’m not ready.”
The Mirror also reported last week that the boss has a two-year extension offer sitting on the table, a deal that he will come to review at the end of the season. For now, it looks as if the future of Wenger is still up in the air with no one truly knowing what will happen come May.