Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is calling time on his 22-year stint at the club, leaving owner Stan Kroenke, chairman Sir Chips Keswick and chief executive Ivan Gazidis to find a suitable replacement.
After David Moyes lost his job at Manchester United nine months after replacing the long-serving Sir Alex Ferguson, the risk in the Arsenal camp is that Wenger’s successor could endure a similar fate.
As a result, the club could avoid a long-term appointment and instead opt for a tried-and-tested manager who can make an instant impact. Carlo Ancelotti fits the bill perfectly, as he’s a serial winner who has averaged two years in a job at his last four clubs.
According to the Independent, Ancelotti would be interested in managing Arsenal. The Italian coach is looking for a new club and is open to a return to the Premier League. He recently said: “I can say I would like to work again, but that depends on me. If I find the right possibility, the right project, I would be delighted to continue.”
Not only has Ancelotti won league titles, domestic cups and European honours with multiple clubs in his career, he also has first-hand experience of working with backroom staff similar to Arsenal’s.
The Gunners have appointed Raul Sanllehi as Head of Football Relations, Sven Mislintat as Head of Recruitment, Huss Fahmy as Chief Negotiator and Darren Burgess as Head of High Performance, to ease the burden on Wenger. The Frenchman’s successor would be more of a head coach than manager, meaning their focus is primarily on training players, rather than recruitment.
Ancelotti had a similar situation at Chelsea (2009-2011), where former technical director Michael Emenalo and owner Roman Abramovich would have the final say on players. At Paris Saint-Germain (2011-2013), sporting director Leonardo and president Nasser al-Khelaifi had a lot of influence in the recruiting of talent.
And at Real Madrid (2013-2015), president Florentino Perez frequently acted over his head and had a fallout with Ancelotti at the time of the 58-year-old’s departure. Ancelotti is regarded as a good man-manager and psychologist who can turn around a toxic dressing room, something that might be required at Arsenal.
There’s a reason why the Gunners are currently sixth in the Premier League table, 33 points adrift of leaders Manchester City and 14 points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur after 33 games. Ancelotti would surely get the best from an attack boasting Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Danny Welbeck, Alexandre Lacazette, Alex Iwobi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil, but will he get the gig?
Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique appears to be the favourite to replace Wenger as Arsenal manager, but his top-level experience pales in comparison to Ancelotti’s – eight clubs managed over 23 years with 20 pieces of silverware won.