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October 2016
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The task facing the next Arsenal manager. Candidate Group 3: Joachim Löw, Diego Pablo Simeone, Thomas Tuchel, Frank de Boer, Laurent Blanc

By Josif

We have been running an occasional series about the task facing the next manager of Arsenal, whenever he might take over.

First we looked at the overall problem and presented the first group of candidates:

Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman, Jose Mourinho and Roberto Mancini

This was continued in the second article which continued thinking of those four managers and brought in…

The issue of tactics and referees

Next we turned to another group of possible managers

Dragan Stojkovic, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp

And now today we have the fourth article in which we look another set of candidates:

Group 3: Joachim Löw, Diego Pablo Simeone, Thomas Tuchel, Frank de Boer, Laurent Blanc

1.Who would want to come to Arsenal in this toxic atmosphere?

Joachim Löw hadn’t had the easiest task to return Germany to the very top. In fact, Germany had gone through a rough decade between 1996 and 2006 despite reaching World Cup Final 2002 (mostly thanks to the most unbelievable luck with the draw). They hadn’t beaten a single European team at the international tournaments for a decade – between goals of two Olivers (Bierhoff’s golden goal against Czech Republic in EURO 96 Final and Neuville’s injury-time winner against Poland).

Defeats against combined teams of Portugal (EURO 2000) and Czech Republic (EURO 2004) particularly stood out us a new low (no pun intended) for the German national team. Löw was only the assistant manager for Jürgen Klinsmann at World Cup 2006 but Phillip Lahm, the German captain, didn’t see it that way. In fact, he wrote a book in which he blasted Klinsmann as a complete ignorant and praised Löw for his work with every single player suggesting it was Löw who did Klinsmann’s homework.

Löw wasn’t softened with those kind words and publicly stated his discontent with Lahm’s book. That proves he can both work in a toxic atmosphere and be a gentleman. Löw had lost EURO 2008 Final, World Cup 2010 semifinal to Spain and EURO 2012 semifinal to Italy before his Germany won fourth World Cup. During that journey Löw’s Germany won the hearts of many neutrals with their attacking and exciting football led by Thomas Müller and Mesut Özil.

When Diego Simeone took over at Atletico Madrid in December 2011, they had already gone out of Copa del Rey to the third-tier side Albacete and were hanging four points above the relegation zone (W5 D4 L7). They were still alive in Europa League though but for a team who had spent big on Radamel Falcao their league position was quite poor.

Atletico fans had had memories of relegation that were more fresh than the ones about the league title so they knew relegation can happen even when you have one of the best scorers in the league (when Atletico were relegated in 1999-2000, their striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink ended joint second in the score-charts). Up to the end of the season Simeone won ten, drew seven and lost five games and brought Atletico two points off the Champions League place. Atletico won Europa League though and they have been on the rise ever since even if players like Falcao, Diego Costa, Miranda and Arda Turan have been sold in the last few years.

Simeone knows how to work in a toxic atmosphere as a player as well – he played for Lazio in 2001-02 when their fans were cheering for their club to lose the final match of the season against Inter Milan. It wasn’t only because Lazio’s victory could have helped their bitterest rivals, it was also because Lazio’s defeat would have punished the underachieving players by forcing them to cut their holidays due to participation in Intertoto Cup.

Despite their fans’ wishes, Lazio won 4:2 and Simeone scored a goal for 3:2 against his old club. He wasn’t happy with it, his head-shake said more than a thousand words but he was a total professional as a player regardless of what his or the opponents’ fans think of him. Here is a caveat though: Simeone has been a legend of Atletico Madrid since his playing days as he played a huge role in the team that won the league in 1995-96. He wouldn’t have that sort of shield at Arsenal in case of a slow start.

Thomas Tuchel could end up with a restraining order on Jürgen Klopp’s demand as he has been following his footsteps for a while. Firstly he took over at Mainz and now he has been doing remarkable job with Borussia Dortmund. Perhaps this part about Tuchel is redundant then as he is likely to succeed Klopp at Liverpool!!! one day?

Anyway, Tuchel took over at Borussia after a very disappointing season that was the last one in the career of one of the most successful Borussia Dortmund managers ever (Ottmar Hitzfeld is still No. 1 of all times). He reinvigorated the squad that had struggled in 2014-15 and played a really exciting football making Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang one of the most wanted strikers in the world.

Of course, it’s one thing to work at Dortmund where you have fantastic and creative home support and completely another to work at Arsenal where sometimes – at least that’s my arm-chair impression – a quote from Sir Edmund Blackadder springs to mind: “I’ve been at autopsies with more party atmosphere”. I can even picture white A4 papers with a six-year-old kid “Tuchel go to hell” handwritten sign.

Frank de Boer has been doing well with Ajax in Eredivisie but for Ajax, the five time European champions, the only benchmark is Europe. De Boer has failed to deliver a significant European result even if one could argue that his record would have been better if Ajax hadn’t been robbed by the referees in 2011-12 Champions League Group Stage.

I reckon it’s easier to deal with a toxic atmosphere at Ajax – a league title in two-three years is a given and fans have already been used to the club policy of nurturing and polishing young talents before shipping them to richer clubs, especially after The Bosman Ruling that no club in the world has been stricken with more than Ajax. De Boer, however, can’t promise a title at Arsenal in three-years time due to strength of the rivals. Also, Eredivisie has been well-known as a high-scoring league for years. At Arsenal, De Boer would have to deal with number of opponents parking the bus or just sitting deep waiting for a break.

Laurent Blanc did a solid job with France following the South-African fiasco in 2010. He led France to EURO 2012 quarterfinals and managed to stay in the saddle despite a lot of controversies his remarks about the ratio of black and white players in the youth categories had drawn. He has done well at PSG by winning three league titles in a row but he hasn’t been able to progress past quarterfinals in Champions League. If he had reached quarterfinals three times in a row with Arsenal, the English media would rename that round to Quarterarsenals.

2.How will the new manager cope with the opening sleeze story that the media will create?

Löw has already been subjected to some journalists’ garbage regarding his sexuality but he managed to deal with it. Of course, there could be a disturbing picture or two of his nose-pickings in order to discredit him.

Simeone would be a different thing. After David Beckham’s red card at World Cup 1998, Simeone was pictured as a villain. If he takes over at Arsenal, he can expect the same thing to happen again.

Tuchel would probably have to deal with comparisons with Klopp, especially before the games against Liverpool!!! and would be reminded of Liverpool!!!’s great Europa League come-back against Borussia Dortmund. In case he doesn’t have a decent start with Arsenal, that game would be announced as “Klopp vs Flopp”.

De Boer could expect questions about his ability to punch above his weight, about two missed penalties in EURO 2000 semifinal defeat against Italy and about the nandrolone-ban from 2001 that he appealed with a partial success.

Blanc… Oh, Blanc! Can you imagine how many puns would English journalists create out of his last name. Firstly, they would keep reminding him about his comment on the racial representation in the French youth teams. Then, they would connect his last name (“Blanc” means “white”) with his comment. Finally, whenever Arsenal fail to score, the headline “Arsenal fire Blanc” would pop out at so many internet web-sites that Blanc could pay his own wages by claiming his copyright on it. And, before we play West Ham United, he would be asked about how Slaven Bilić forced him to miss World Cup Final against Brazil.

3.What does the new man have to do in his first year at Arsenal?

As I have written while assessing the Group 1 and 2 of candidates, our next manager will be expected to win the league in his first season. That would be a lot of pressure on people who don’t have managerial experience in England.

Löw didn’t build the German empire over night. It took him a while before Germany were ready to conquer the world. Can he expect patience from the Arsenal fans? Say, three seasons without winning the league (EURO 2008, World Cup 2010, EURO 2012) before a big triumph (World Cup 2014)?

Simeone won Europa League after just six months at Atletico but he hadn’t won the league before his second full season at Atletico.

Tuchel has a very remote chance of winning Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund as Bayern München are five points clear with two matches to go.

De Boer had managed to win four consecutive league titles in just three-and-half years with Ajax (he has been at helm since December 2010) before PSV broke his sequence last season but there is a good chance he could make it five in five-and-half years as Ajax and PSV are involved in head-to-head battle for Eredivisie title.

Blanc won Ligue 1 with Bordeaux in his second season at helm and with PSG in his first but I think Untold Arsenal’s management team would claim the title with Qatari billions at PSG.

4.Will the new man be subjected to the last match being everything analysis?

“Arsenal reach a new Löw” (after a surprising defeat), “David Beckham is smiling” (after Simeone’s defeat at Old Trafford), “Journey Tuchel continues for Arsenal” (after a bad streak), “Let’s be Frank, it’s not working” (after Arsenal fail to make a strong title challenge), “Point Blanc” (after a disappointing draw at home with a relegation-battling team). Each one of them would be going through a rough time.

5.Whoever comes in will be incredibly lucky having Awobi, Bellerin, Coquelin, Elneny, coming up. But apparently this is a side without leaders.  Where will he find them immediately?


6.There was a call for attacking reinforcements which (again according to the Telegraph) should have been bought in January.  But where to do you find them?

and …

7.We also have a soft centre, according to many reporters and the aaa.  So again who could we get who would want to come here?

I decided to merge these three questions as I think their answers are connected.

Löw could be a great appeal for German players and a good argument for Mesut Özil to renew his contract with Arsenal. He prefers attacking football, is dedicated to details and believes in young players (Germany 2010 were the second youngest team in the tournament).

He could persuade players such as Marco Reus, Mario Götze, Julian Draxler, Julian Brandt (huge talent from Bayer Leverkusen), Bender twins and/or, why not, Thomas Müller to join Arsenal. With Per Mertesacker still on our board, he could be the guy Löw sees as a leader. Or some other German defender who will follow footsteps of Mats Hummels and become a world-class defender. Given that he prefers attacking football (as his big victories against big international teams prove – England 4:1, Argentina 4:0, Portugal 4:0, Brazil 7:1), I don’t think he would have to add too many new players to our current squad.

Simeone is a different story. He is more of a George Graham than an Arsene Wenger in terms of how football is played. His Atletico produce leaders from the team he had inherited from Gregory Manzano. Just before he took over at Atletico, they had conceded 27 goals in 16 matches. In the remaining 22 matches Atletico conceded just 17.

What he relies on is a top-class goalkeeper (Courtois, Oblak) and a defensive drill of the current crop rather than buying individual quality. His only defensive signing for the title-winning campaign was Toby Alderweireld (now at Tottenham) but he was only a back-up player at Atletico. His defence also has a lot of help from the hard-working midfield with technical skills. When it comes to strikers, his attack relies on a striker who can score over 20 goals per season. Whether he inherites one (Falcao), buys extremely talented one (Antoine Griezmann) or makes one out of an anonymous player (Diego Costa), doesn’t matter.

To translate it to Arsenal-ish, his Arsenal would rely on Petr Čech on goal, drilled-to-maximum back-line where Koscielny/Gabriel/Chambers would emulate Godin, a midfield run by Elneny, Coquelin, Ramsey, Wilshere, and the attack of Alexis and Welbeck. According to Wikipedia, his net-spending in the summer before Atletico won the league was +36 million euros.

Tuchel would have to find a new way of dealing with defensive issues Arsenal have. He has Mats Hummels at Borussia Dortmund, arguably the best central defender in the world, but his Borussia Dortmund have conceded five against Bayern (just like a make-shift Arsenal defence did) and four against Liverpool!!! at Anfield (one worse than Arsenal). However, he would probably do his best to lure one of Borussia Dortmund’s finest attackers to Arsenal – either Reus or Aubameyang.

As I have already written about Bergkamp, de Boer could rely on the knowledge of Ajax magnificent scouting network. Maybe he can find us a player of Alderweireld’s quality for the defence or a new Luis Suarez for the attack. Or, maybe his compatriot Virgil van Dijk from Southampton could make our defence more solid.

Blanc relies on expensive defenders and nobody sane at Arsenal (or anywhere else, in fact) would give him 50 million pounds to buy David Luiz-esque central defender. What I haven’t seen at Blanc’s PSG is a sign of any kind of style in their game. Yes, Zlatan Ibrahimović scores million goals per season but Edinson Cavani looks discontented with playing second fiddle to him and Angel Di Maria – with all his brilliance – will never restore his form from 2013-14.

8.At the same time as this we need tactical flexibility.  How is that to be introduced at the same time?

Löw pays a lot of attention to the details. With Özil and Mertesacker he has already worked at the German national team. Given the importance of Özil for both Arsenal and Germany, he should have an easy task to make foundation for his own football.

Simeone believes in tactical and positional drill. He has charismatic and energetic personality who can beat people like Mourinho on their own pitch – literally and metaphorically speaking. He made Atletico team working even if he took it in the middle of the season.

Tuchel didn’t make too many changes to Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund that had been rock-bottom at one point in 2014-15. He simply reinvigorated the current team, cleared the deadwood and added a missing piece or two to the team.

De Boer took over from one of 29847 ex-Tottenham managers Martin Jol in 2010 and turned them into the league champions despite losing Luis Suarez on the last day of the transfer deadline. Ajax have been selling best players for 20 years and replacing them with players who need time to gel but de Boer has managed to keep Ajax on top of the Dutch football nevertheless.

Blanc was an intelligent player who knew how to deal with different scenarios. How would he cope with the fact his team is not the one who has bigger budget than the rest of the league combined? He would have to revert to his Bordeaux days.

9.But supposing just for one second the problem actually lies elsewhere.

Löw prefers clean football and that could be a surprise for him. Then again, I have a feeling that Wenger’s departure would give us a short-term pass by PGMO in the sense that they would suddenly see all those fouls and tackles in the opponents’ penalty box they haven’t been seeing for a decade.

Simeone wouldn’t keep his mouth shut. He would probably got a suspension or two for his aggresive discontent with the referees’ decisions. It could be either his road to heaven or hell.

Tuchel has been working at Borussia Dortmund and he knows how it feels to work at non-Bayern club. He looks like a lad who believes in hard work rather than big words and loud speaking.

In aforementioned game against Real Madrid in Champions League 2011-12 de Boer has seen the glimpse of what Wenger’s Arsenal have been going through for a decade. If my theory about the refereeing improving with Wenger’s departure is not correct, de Boer could see a lot more of the same.

Blanc wasn’t happy with the red card Ibrahimović got against Chelsea in 2014-15. How would he react at Mike Dean’s interpretation of Laws of football game?

10.Why will Arsenal get it right when others with more money can’t?

To repeat it once more: there are no guarantees. There is nobody who can guarantee that change would go well or poorly. Leicester City have won the league with the guy who had never won the league before and who has been appointed last summer after he had lost with Greece to Faroe Islands.

Spuds may are finish above us for the first time in 20+ years with the guy who had been appointed two years ago. Manchester City have won two league titles in the last five seasons with two different managers. Slaven Bilić made a spectacular transformation of West Ham. Ronald Koeman took over at Southampton after they had sold most of their first-team players and lost their manager Mauricio Pochettino to Tottenham but he managed to keep them in top half of the table.

Of course, there are examples of Newcastle United and Manchester United where the changes haven’t gone smoothly.

Conclusions on Group 3 of candidates

Joachim Löw

PRO: A gentleman, a world champion, a positive-football oriented, a manager who pays attention to details. According to some reports, he was the guy who forced the whole German football to change in order to catch up with Spain in terms of quickness of passing. I recall that the Germans hadn’t been happy with 1.6 seconds as an average time between two passes so they focused on improving the passing in all of their categories in order to reduce the time between two passes below a single second. Löw believes in young talented players and gives them freedom to express themselves.

CONTRA: He has been out of a club management for quite a while.

Diego Pablo Simeone

PRO: Probably the best club manager in the world right now. He makes money for the club and results don’t suffer. He has managed to break Barcelona-Real duopoly without a sugar-daddy behind his back. And, there is a stunning coincidence with George Graham’s path: after Graham had won the league with Arsenal as a player in 1971, our next league title was with Graham as a manager in 1989 (eighteen years later), in the last league match against the title rivals on their soil (Liverpool!!! 2:0).

After Simeone had won the league with Atletico as a player in 1996, their next league title was with Simeone as a manager in 2014 (eighteen years later), in the last league match against the title rivals on their soil (Barcelona 1:1). He has been under attacks for playing a defensive football but his Atletico have scored more league goals than Arsenal this season (60:59).

CONTRA: His football is not exactly eye-catching. One-nil to the Atletico. As I’ve said for Vieira, Simeone was the type of player you like only if he plays for your team. His English language is a mystery. He has been serving suspension for someone from Atletico bench throwing the ball on the pitch when their opponents had a counter-attack.

Frank de Boer

PRO: He prefers attacking football, nurtures young talented players, was a great technical player himself, could bring Dennis as his assistant manager to Arsenal, wins domestic titles with Ajax, respects his contract as his rejection of the Liverpool!!! job proves.

CONTRA: He is yet to make a great European result with Ajax and Eredivisie is at best a three-horse race.

Thomas Tuchel

PRO: He comes from the German school of managers which means he is dedicated to hard work and always looking for improvement. He prefers attacking football and is not a cheque-book manager.

CONTRA: He has never been expected to win the league, let alone to win the league in his first season. Klopp’s last season was terrible while Arsenal can still climb up to second place.

Laurent Blanc

PRO: He has worked under great managers (Sir Bobby Robson at Barcelona, Marcello Lippi at Inter Milan) and he has worked under long-time serving managers (Guy Roux at Auxerre, Alex Ferguson at Manchester United) so he could use experience from his playing days. He knows how to win the league as he has shown with Bordeaux and PSG as a manager and with Auxerre and Manchester United as a player.

CONTRA: He hasn’t been able to bring PSG to the very top of European football despite Qatari billions poured in the club. His comments on black and white players make him inappropriate manager for Arsenal Football Club.

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47 comments to The task facing the next Arsenal manager. Candidate Group 3: Joachim Löw, Diego Pablo Simeone, Thomas Tuchel, Frank de Boer, Laurent Blanc

  • colario

    Much ado about speculation.

    With apologies to the late great Mr Shakespeare.

  • Usama Zaka

    Another excellent post, Josif. You have covered the all managers from Arsenal’s and English football’s perspective in enough detail to make it highly comprehensive for everyone. (not an easy task considering all the fantasy football managers out there)

  • para

    Yet, speculation is just that, speculation. Nothing wrong with it of course, but it’s just as the same as the speculation on the transfer windows and has no real base of truth.

    So, does this mean that Arsenal sticks with the “devil” they know? Or do they take the plunge and try something new?

    For me, whatever change Arsenal makes, it needs to start in the Academy, because the academy is immersed in AW’s way of football and any manager/coach who comes in (possibly) in 2017/18 will either ignore the academy players as too entrenched in their ways or end up having to re-train them in his image.

    Then Arsenal being Arsenal it will probably pull a completely surprising, unexpected and perhaps unknown choice out of the hat. 🙂

    We can only speculate and wait.

  • colario


    Arsene in Europe was known to Sir Macrednose of manure fame.

    Then of course Glen Hoddle won his only championship medal playing for Arsene at Monaco.

    Sol crossed the park to win a medal.

    Glen crossed the channel.

    You wonder if when Arsene was at Monaco he thought to his tall self:

    ‘How can I help my favourite club in England?

    One day while shaving he looked in the mirror and said.

    ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall,
    How can I help my Arsenal?’

    and the mirror replied-

    ‘Glen Hoddle, Glen Hoddle, Glen Hoddle’.

    and so it was he ran he didn’t hobble.

    To play for Arsene in Monaco.

    Lucky spuds it wasn’t for Arsenal!

  • Leon

    Good detailed article Josif.

    I don’t like Simeone much as a person, he comes in as a sub Mourinho, and might not be acceptable to our fans if he started pulling some of those stunts. Apparently he even struck one of his coaches at yesterday’s match.
    The story I’ve heard is that Arsene is going to spend huge this summer [to please the fans], and sign a three year deal (actually I read it on Le Grove, but you know what I mean).
    While I doubt this, it’s not so fanciful. A massive gamble on new star type players probably would win us a PL or even CL and he’d king of the walk again and If it failed, he could just walk.

  • Al the Gooner

    Nice article. I like Low, Simione too but I would prefer attacking football to returning to a more George Graham style. We were boring as hell at times back then. As for Blanc no thanks, winning the French title with PSG is hardly a notable achievement. I’m pretty sure my mum could do that. He was also the French manager when they spectacularly imploded at the WC a few years back.

  • Ajay

    Well written with a lot of in depth analysis but when the day comes Wenger has to leave,my personal choice would be Joachim. What he did for German football was amazing albeit the nose picking.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    With the last failed attempt by the Arsenal Red Scarf & Black Scarf supporters anti-Wenger protest last Saturday at the Ems to force the Boss out of Arsenal at the end of this season, this speculations on who will succeed him next is uncalled for at this time in my own opinion.

    The Boss’ job as the Arsenal manager is secured at least for another 1 year as the Boss has repeatedly said, he’ll respect the terms and conditions of his deal to the letter. And I think if Arsenal should win the Premier League and 1 out of the FA Cup or the Capital One Cup – a double title win, it will become a good chance for the Boss to have his contract renewed for another 3 seasons which will see him at Arsenal for 23 consecutive years. That’s just a couple of years behind the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson long reign at Man Utd.

    My focus now is to see Arsenal beat Man City on Sunday at the Etihad to enhance our possibilities of finishing 2nd in the table on the final day of this season’s campaign. I think Chris Willock should be promoted to the 1st team squad next season. Any news on the truthness of wonder kid, Kelechi Nwakali joining Arsenal? How about his 2nd? And by the way, has Akpom come topply good after his loan spell at Hull City?

  • omgarsenal

    I am a Joachim Loew fan but less so Simeone. Loew ticks all the boxes for me;

    1) passionate about beautiful attacking Football,
    2) fluent English speaker,
    3) probably could love the Arsenal as well,
    4) promotes youth and academy potential,
    5) knows the international game and its hazards,
    6) understands our Germans,and would attract others,
    7) is very calm and reassuring, and seems to do well under pressure,
    8) a very rational man like Wenger.
    9) likely interested in trying English Club Football,
    10) respects officials and doesn’t harass them…classy like Wenger,
    11) has the German mindset: structure, discipline, tactical nous, fitness emphasis, firm but fair, etc.

    Lets not forget that Wenger is an Alsatian and therefore half Germanic. He speaks fluent German and Alsatian….thus making the transition even easier, as I am sure he’ll want to help Loew fit in quickly.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Man City are slow and their final ball into Madrid’s box leaves much to desire. They MUST improve on the defensive organization and finally ball in the final 3rd. I believe they’ll cancel out that Bale’s opener.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Man City MUST be on to speed in the 2nd to break Madrid’s back-line. But they must be careful not to be caught on the break.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    It’ll be interesting to see if injury scares Bale & Ronaldo can continue playing in this match in the 2nd half.

  • Al

    Untimely article…

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    Man City have disappointed with the quality of their final passing in the final 3rd. Thus, It’s the Spanish Cup of tea final. City looked as if they are not properly organised in their game. I hope they won’t play us with vengeance for that 3rd place finish.

  • Josif

    Many thanks for your comments throughout the whole series od the articles. As you might have noticed, I was inspired with two articles published at Untold before mine – one about possible candidates and the other one about 10 problems a new manager would face.

    The point of the whole series was that there is no safe option. Each one of the candidates would have pros and cons.

    Personally, when Mr Wenger decides to leave, Joachim Loew would be my first choice. He has that Wenger-esque “Let’s improve football without losing dignity”-approach.

    Then, there is another way – Simeone’s way. It would be like having George Graham back in the dugout. Maybe some would respect Wenger’s style more after his tenure.

  • Jammy J

    I would really hate to have Simeone as Arsenals manager. I can’t stand him; he’s a cheat, his players are cheats (pundits call it the “dark arts” but we all know that’s just a euphemism), he plays boring, defensive football and so often he gets into confrontations with everyone around him. He’s the polar opposite of Wenger. Sure, he may have won more trophies recently, but he stands for everything i hate in football.

  • Jammy J

    My money would be either on Low, Tuchel or Stojkovic.

  • Gunz

    My feeling also.

  • bjtgooner

    Gunz & Al

    I agree, there has been too much unnecessary speculation on this topic already without Untold adding to it.

  • Jammy J

    I don’t understand the problem with discussing the possible candidates. Unfortunately, Wenger is coming to the end of his tenure in the near future and Untold seems to be one of the few places where you can actually have an informed discussion about Arsenals future, without all of the hyperbole.

  • Polo

    Great article again Josif.

    I’m pro-wenger because of his philosophy for playing attacking football and allowing players on the field the freedom to showcase their skills.

    When our great manager decides to retire, I wouldn’t mind Lowe to be our next manager. Definitely no Simeone please. However, for some stupid reason the Board got Simeone in then I will begrudgingly support him as our manager.

  • Florian

    Joachim Löw is under contract with the German National Team until 2018. Slightly off from Wenger, who is under contract with us until 2017. Wouldn’t mind seeing Arsene sticking around for one more year though 🙂

  • Polo

    @Florian, I wouldn’t mind another 10 years with AW but it’s unlikely so another two years and transition to Joachim Low.

  • Josif


    There are reports about Loew’s contract clause that allows him to leave after EURO. He has also been mentioned as a possible new manager at Everton.

    I feel obliged to answer to Col who disagreed with me regarding expectations.

    I think that goal-posts have been moved and that Arsenal fans, “fans” and supporters all have been expecting Arsenal to win trophies ever since Ozil’s arrival as a sign of a new era where Arsenal can compete for the best players in the world. Arrivals of Alexis and Cech (who is on his way to win another prize for clean sheets) have raised expectations. Performances over the last three years have proven that Arsenal need a few more details to win the league. All that we need is a ruthless striker.

    It’s only fair to expect from a new guy the same thing you had been expecting when the other guy was in charge. If not, then why bothering seeking for a change?

  • Hi Berry

    Why do you state that the next Arsenal manager will be ‘expected’ to win the league in his first season? The only requisite I would expect from a new manager, as and when that happens, would be for him to galvanise and organise the players we have into a team that makes a good, honest fist of giving 100% every time they go out and represent Arsenal – something I fear doesn’t happen at the moment.
    If a new manager is expected to win the League in his first season shouldn’t the same expectations apply to Arsene Wenger for next season?…or the past three or four seasons, for that matter?

  • norsgeneral

    For me, Ronald Koeman, fits the bill. Tactically astute, knowledge of a great player and his Saints team play with the right amount of edge between, defensive organisation and attack.

  • Jammy J

    I think what Josif meant by expectations, was the expectations from “that” portion of the fans. As in, if he doesn’t reach those expectations, then they’ll all jump on his back. Consequentially this is exactly what has happened to Wenger for the past three or four season.

  • goonerwin

    I will be extremely sad to see Wenger leave, he has done an amazing job at Arsenal. we sometimes forget without him we would not have a new stadium or enjoy games against the likes of Barcelona and Bayern every single season! not even the mighty Manchester United can say that! I believe he will leave at the end of next season and i just pray the fans show him the respect he deserves in his final season! I really want him to go out and buy a lethal striker regardless of the cost, and perhaps a better centre half than Mert and Gabriel! that is all we need and the board should back him in his last season financially! who ever takes over Arsenal and I hope its Lowe! will have a fantastic stadium, team, youth team and massive war chest! and this is because of one man… Mr Wenger!! and the AAA cant even admit to this they really do deserve the disrespect they get!

  • Hi Berry

    Jammy J – Yes, I thought that might be the case, but Josif (and you for that matter) is making a wild general assumption about what “that” portion of the fans expect. Not all fans calling for a change in the way Arsenal is run and managed do so because we don’t win the league every year (glory hunters I think they’re labelled) – they do so because year on year the team never seems to get the proper investment required to make that final step from ‘also rans’ to authentic challengers – something that should have been well within the current manager’s grasp given the statement from Gazidis within the last day or two that £250m has been available to Wenger for the past few seasons to spend on players and wages.

    Is it any wonder that fans are getting on Wenger’s back when some of the finances that have been available to him should have been utilised to bolster the team – last summer being the prime example – rather than rewarding perennial under-achievers with improved eye-watering contracts.

    It’s one thing to be parsimonious with money and quite another to be pig-headed.

  • Magneto

    @ Josif,

    It was Simeone himself who instructed a ball boy to throw a 2nd ball onto the pitch, in order to halt the opposition’s attacking move that was taking place at the time.

    Thats why Simeone was banned from the touchline
    for three Spanish league games.

    Not the kind of behaviour that I’d want from an
    Arsenal manager.

  • Jammy J

    @ Barry – I never made the assumption, i was just pointing out what i think Josif meant. Personally i think that if the new manager goes 2 seasons without a trophy, that’s when that portion of the fans will get on his back. If we don’t get into the CL within the first year, then even then i think there will be some grumblings; the very same fans who ridicule the “forth place trophy”.

  • Jammy J

    Sorry, Berry not Barry!

  • Polo

    @ Hi Berry.

    The Metro mention an AST representative tweeting ‘Gazidis also saying Wenger has had £250 million in transfer fees in past 4 seasons.’
    Below taken from transfer (in British £)

    11/12 season spent £53.23 million but net spend is -£17.475 million
    Gervinho 10.6m
    Alex Oxlade Chamberlaine 12m
    Joel Campbell 0.950m
    Park Chu Young 3m
    Andre Santos 6.2m
    Mikel Arteta 10m
    Per Mertesacker 10m
    Thomas Eisfeld 0.475m

    12/13 season spent £52.3 million but net spend is £8.6 million
    Lukas Podolski 11m
    Oliver Giroud 13m
    Santi Cazorla 20m
    Nacho Monreal 8.3m

    13/14 season spent £42.5 million but net spend is £32.5 million
    Mesut Ozil 42.5m

    14/15 season spent £95.6 million but net spend is £65.4 million
    Matthieu Debuchy 12m
    Alexis Sanchez 35m
    David Ospina 3m
    Callum Chambers 16m
    Danny Wellbeck 16m
    Krystian Bielik 2.4m
    Gabriel Paulista 11.2m

    15/16 season spent £15 million but net spend £13.2 million
    Petr Cech 10m
    Mohamed Elneny 5m

    Most of the transfers are pretty impressive to me.

  • ob1977

    A great series of articles, for me I would be more than happy with Koeman (Bergkamp as assistant) and then as 2nd option Loew (only when Arsene is ready to call it a day), but in no circumstances Simeone, he struggles to score goals and concedes possession against teams in a Spanish league that encourages flair and goals, how would he manage in a league that has become as negative and conservative as the PL, pack 60,000 into the em an then watch everyone sleep… and that’s before you get to his actions on the touchline!!!

  • Polo

    Correct me if I am wrong on my assumption, for 5 seasons Arsenal’s net spend is around £102.2 million or £20.44 million per season. I wonder if any team would achieve 3rd or 4th consistently with that amount spent?

  • Hi Berry

    Polo…and therein lies the problem as a lot of fans see it – the club and/or manager are happy to spend enough to maintain a CL place but not willing to spend the extra to go that extra yard.

    Of the transfers you list above you could probably attribute around £40m of that to players that were either loaned out/perpetual bench-warmers or didn’t really hit any great heights in an Arsenal shirt. Gervinho and Podolski, for example, were both good players in my opinion but we couldn’t get the best out of them for some reason – not money wasted as they both performed a role (as did most of the others) as squad members, but typical of the type of player drafted in and definitely not the ‘top, top quality’ player that Wenger insists he is only interested in.

    Interesting to see from your list as well that for the 11/12, 12/13 and 13/14 seasons when common opinion amongst fans and media alike was that Arsenal needed as a matter of urgency an imposing defensive midfielder and a general strengthening of the defence and goalkeeper only three of the purchases were defenders with Flamini drafted in for free for the DM role.

    The faith shown in Almunia and Fabianski (although Almunia may well have departed by 11/12 – I haven’t checked) when proven quality keepers like Given and Schwarzer were available was a huge mistake in my opinion but again typical of Wenger’s apparent need to prove that his judgement is flawless and of course not forgetting the other excuse that was often trotted out that buying someone to slot straight into the first team would hamper the development of younger players.

    I agree that getting Arsenal into the CL berth every year on the money spent has been no mean feat, but just think it could have been so much better had the will and desire to take that extra step been there and, as your figures above demonstrate, it would not have had a disastrous effect on finances had the holes that desperately needed plugging been plugged – especially when looked at over a five year period.

  • Polo

    @Hi Berry,

    Let say if AW did do what you and others suggested, are you 100% certain that Arsenal would have won the league in any of those years? How many other clubs splash the cash over that 5 seasons but didn’t win? How many top class players came to the Premier League? I don’t think many though. Everybody can be an expert until they are in the role.

  • Hi Berry

    Polo – I’m not saying that Arsenal WOULD have won the league in any of those five seasons, but with the resources clearly available and obvious areas of the team that needed strengthening it would have been nice to have had the opportunity to find out and, as I have already said, the overall cost of doing so spread over a five year time-scale would not have placed Arsenal in a parlous state by any stretch of the imagination.

    The outstanding example of the parsimony and pig-headedness that Wenger demonstrated during this time was the insulting +£1 offer to Liverpool for Suarez. Now, we can debate all day long the rights and wrongs of Liverpool’s refusal to do business with us given that the release clause was indeed £40m, but Liverpool obviously felt Suarez was worth more (and few amongst us could possibly argue otherwise) and were pissed off with the +£1 bid. Had Wenger or the Board demonstrated a desire to get their man at any cost and made a sensible offer, say £50m, and not sought to get him for as cheap a price as possible the title could well have been delivered the following season.

    Cahill was another where an insultingly low offer was put forward which again angered the selling club (Bolton?) and resulted in them subsequently selling to Chelsea.

    As I have said before, I am not in favour of spending money willy-nilly, but there does seem to be a problem with the real value of good players and Wenger’s valuation of them. Alternatively, it might just be that the Board and manager are content to finish in the top 4 every year having spent the minimum possible (£20m a year you say over five years), rake in the TV and CL cash and think ‘job done’.

    Having said that, Leicester (and Spurs for that matter) have completely blown apart the argument that the likes of Man City and Chelsea cannot be competed against because of the disparity in wealth…..that would obviously point to the conclusion that no matter how a team is assembled it is the motivational skills of the manager that makes a big difference and one only has to look at the vibrant, positive and determined display of Liverpool last night to see that maybe it is the manager that makes the biggest difference.

  • ob1977

    @Hi Berry, I think Leicester have won the PL due to City, Chelsea etc having an off season, and getting 12 penalties to help them along their merry way… if City and Chelsea had a poor season last season who do you think was in prime position to be PL champions?

    I think the Liverpool probably not selling Suarez to Arsenal for any money has been covered and quite believable, especially as £40m was the but out so £40m + £1 is quite reasonable, I don’t imagine we all go to the shops and pay over the odds for our shopping as we thought it was too reasonably priced.

  • Polo

    @ Hi Berry,

    Not sure why people like you keep harping on about Suarez to Arsenal when the Liverpool owner said they will never sell Suarez to any rival team.
    Let it go and accept the truth.

  • Polo

    Liverpool’s principal owner has also told Suárez and his agent, Pere Guardiola, that their attempts to force a transfer have arrived too late in this transfer window. “We are not going to sell Luis,” said Henry, on a brief visit to Liverpool. “For all the top clubs it’s extremely important [not to sell to a rival] but especially for Liverpool because we’re not in Europe this year and have not been in the Champions League for a while. To sell to a rival for those positions, or one of them, would be ludicrous. Liverpool needs to be playing in Europe. It needs to be playing in the Champions League. That’s what Liverpool football club is about.”

  • Hi Berry

    ob1977….your answer deals in a number of what ifs….the fact of the matter is neither of those teams had poor seasons last year. To return the statement to you…if Man City and Chelsea had poor seasons this year (as they have) who do you think was in prime position to be PL Champions – I would imagine Leicester City and Spurs would not have been your answer?
    Adding £1 to the buy-out clause was a derisory and cheap stunt by Arsenal…if you were selling a house for,say, ‘offers over £500,000’ and someone put in an offer of £500,001 wouldn’t that get your back up?

    Polo…I suggest you read that article again. The Liverpool owner, Henry, states quite clearly that he would not sell Suarez to ANY rival which included European teams, not just specifically Arsenal. Anyone with a modicum of business acumen can see this as an opening gambit in trying to maximise the amount they could get for him. Furthermore, Liverpool eventually sold him to Barcelona, a European rival which is completely contrary to Henry’s original statement. I seem to recall a similar scenario played out with the transfer of Nasri to Man City – Arsenal were adamant Nasri would not be sold only to eventually do the deal. Suarez was available at the right price but Wenger chose not to push the boat out to secure the one player that in all likelihood could have delivered the title.

    PS I do find the term ‘people like you’ a little insulting.

  • ob1977

    Hi berry you are talking about history and we should have signed player x etc, if we are looking back and speculating it is all what ifs…

    For me over the last few seasons when I look at the transfers we have done, this proves that when the player is there, and we can get him at the price we think is worth, then we will do the business if we can, well thats just plain sense to me.

  • ob1977

    A sub-note on the Suarez transfer is that when we bid for him £40m was very reasonable for a player that was playing for a club that wasn’t even in Europe the next season, whereas when Barca signed him he was golden boot winner, within an inch of being a league champion, and had fired his side into the CL, not surprising that his price had rocketed.

    Look at the valuation of Aubamyang last summer compared to now due to his more prolific season…

  • Polo

    @ Hi Berry,

    First off, I apologise if I had offended you with that line, it wasn’t my intention.

    The owner said this ‘He won’t be sold even if a foreign club comes in because we do not have time to sign a suitable replacement. It’s a football reason. It’s not about finances. That’s why at this point, so late in the window, with everyone who’s already moved or isn’t moving, we can’t replace him. ‘

    The owner is not saying he won’t sell to a foreign club, he can’t because it’s to late in the transfer window to find a replacement.

    With the Suarez sale to Barcelona many people said the contributing factor to the sale of Suarez was:
    1. He wanted to leave Liverpool and wanted to play in Spain.
    2. He had 18 months left on his contract and if Liverpool won’t let him go, they risk him going on free.
    3. His biting incident at the World Cup and receiving a 4 months ban.
    4. The club can’t be seen as weak by having a player above the club.

    These are all speculations piecing from events, so whether it’s true or not I don’t know.

    Anyway, I have tried to provide evidence to counter your claims that AW stuffed up the Suarez deal. You believe that Liverpool was willing to sell Suarez to Arsenal, can you provide evidence to back up your claim?

  • Jon Doe

    Hi Guys!
    Would really love to hear your thoughts on Lucien Favre as a future Arsenal manager.

  • Josif



    I had considered Favre before making the list but I wrote him off. He was sacked after losing five opening matches with Borussia Moenchengladbach at the beginning of the season. If we had brought a manager with that record, he would have been crucified before he could explain how his last name is pronounced.