3 former Arsenal players who could succeed Arsene Wenger
Friday 20 April was a normal day until news broke that Arsene Wenger had decided to leave Arsenal at the season's end. The Frenchman's journey has been full of ebbs and flows, drama and disappointment, with some truly magical moments along the way
The time is right for Wenger to exit the Emirates. Football has evolved. Arsenal's boss hasn't.
Managerial changes have become commonplace, particularly in England. There won't be another Wenger again. Having served the Gunners for 22 years, he showed exemplary loyalty.
A new era now awaits Arsenal. The North London club can learn from bitter rivals Manchester United. After Sir Alex Ferguson departed Old Trafford, the Red Devils had three turbulent seasons under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal.
For the first time since 1996, Arsenal's board must select a new manager. The experienced candidates are well known. Perhaps, though, someone with club connections will take the hot seat. Pep Guardiola showed the merits of that approach at Barcelona.
Here are three former Gunners who could replace Wenger.
Arteta already knows Arsenal's inner workings having played five seasons at the Emirates. He was also club captain. Although some may think his association with the current squad would hinder performance, the opposite is true. A friendly face will benefit the Gunners.
Arteta's current boss, Guardiola, praised him for his work at Manchester City this season. Especially his drills with the much-improved Raheem Sterling.
Despite being an untested manager, Arteta's tactical awareness stands him in good stead. His inexperience isn't an issue. Hiring the 36-year-old will prove Arsenal are ready for change. A massive change.
An Arsenal icon who was a mainstay in Wenger's side for nine years, Vieira is the perfect man for the job. He knows the club's tradition and heritage better than most. Similar to Gennaro Gattuso at AC Milan, the Gunners' former captain can breathe life into underperforming players, enlightening them of the jersey's value.
Arsenal's fans would welcome Vieira back with open arms, making the transition period less troublesome.
Vieira has managerial experience. He did brilliantly at Man City's youth setup before earning promotion to City Football Group’s other franchise, New York City FC. During his first year in MLS, the Frenchman reduced the team's average age by promoting youngsters.
Vieira is tactically astute. He keeps up with the times. Shifting from the classic 4-3-3 formation to a modern 4-2-3-1, while utilising 'gegenpressing', has ensured a bright future for NYCFC.
The New York franchise finished 17th in the Eastern Conference three years ago. Vieira improved their position by 13 places during his debut campaign. Last time out, NYCFC claimed the second spot.
Vieira deserves an opportunity at Arsenal. Speaking about the role in March, he told reporters: ''Let's say someday it might interest me.''
Has that day arrived?
Henry's appointment as Arsenal's next manager would offer fans a romantic reunion. As well as being the club's all-time record goalscorer, the legendary striker still has genuine passion for the Gunners.
After a spell coaching at Arsenal's academy, helping to develop promising youngsters, Henry provides assistance to Belgium manager Roberto Martinez.
When asked about potentially taking over the Gunners, Henry stated:
I still have a job to do with Belgium, but let’s see what’s going to happen. It will be a dream for me, but I’m still with Belgium.
World-class players don't always make top managers. Henry has never given any tactical masterclass. His inexperience puts him behind both Arteta and Vieria to succeed Wenger at Arsenal.