German football expert Raphael Honigstein doesn’t believe former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel is being lined up to replace Arsene Wenger this summer as Arsenal aren’t planning to part company with their long-serving boss at the end of the season.
The 44-year-old has been linked with Bayern Munich, Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain, with recent reports suggesting he’d turned down Bayern to join PSG.
Amid rumours Arsenal eyed him to replace Arsene Wenger, questions were asked how he’d fare working with Head of Recruitment Sven Mislintat, as the pair had a major bust-up when together at Dortmund.
Honigstein, however, believes it’s Wenger that will dictate Tuchel’s future, rather than the prospect of renewing acquaintances with somebody he had a falling out with.
He said on the Euro Leagues Football Show:
“All the indications in Germany, in London, is that he’s not going to Arsenal for the very simple reason that Arsenal have a coach who is not leaving. That is the status quo right now.
“They can’t offer him [Tuchel] a job that’s not available because Arsène Wenger has given no indication, to my knowledge, that he is leaving at the end of the season and they haven’t told him that he has to leave.
“So, where this information comes from, I’m not sure, but from my knowledge it is categorically not true.”
With Arsenal’s season riding on just one competition, many believed Wenger would finally call time on his managerial career. He signed a two-year deal last summer but has faced a lot of pressure from supporters to cut the contract short.
The Gunners are currently sixth in the Premier League, 13 points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with only seven games remaining and could miss out on Champions League football for a second consecutive campaign unless they win the Europa League – Arsenal face CSKA Moscow in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
In addition to being 33 points adrift of Manchester City in the Premier League title race, Arsenal suffered a third-round exit in the FA Cup to Nottingham Forest and lost in the final of the Capital One Cup to Manchester City.
The prospect of a trophyless season despite having an enviable array of attackers – Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette, Danny Welbeck, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alex Iwobi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan – has led to the finger being pointed at Wenger for his inability to get the best of his talented squad.
Tuchel was a manager being suggested as his replacement after he won the DFB-Pokal with Dortmund and boasted a 63% win ratio in 108 games between 2015 and 2017 – finishing second and third in the Bundesliga. It was his work with Mainz 05 that is worth looking at, however.
Taking charge of the newly-promoted Bundesliga club in 2009/10, Tuchel led Mainz to ninth in his first season. They never finished lower than 13th in his five seasons in charge – something Jurgen Klopp and Martin Schmidt have failed to achieve in their respective stints.
Until Wenger makes it known when he intends to leave Arsenal, the club can’t line up a replacement. He’s shown no public desire to retire this summer, meaning the Gunners’ efforts to appoint another manager go to waste unless they agree a deal 12 months in advance.
It doesn’t looks like it will be Tuchel now.