Arsenal eyeing Nagelsmann to replace Wenger

Arsenal are due to start their manager interviews this week and have reportedly set their sights on Hoffenheim manager Julian Nagelsmann and Manchester City assistant manager Mikel Arteta.

Former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique’s wage demands were deemed too high, while Juventus’ Massimiliano Allegri has no desire to leave the club unless he’s sacked.

Arsene Wenger is stepping down this summer after 22 years in charge of the Gunners, but it’s unknown if he’ll continue coaching elsewhere or retire from football entirely.

The Frenchman is believed to have had a number of job offers already that he could contemplate now the season has come to an end. Arsenal have wasted no time lining up his potential replacement.

Arteta was assistant to Pep Guardiola as Manchester City won the Premier League title with a record 100 points, while also winning the League Cup back in February. It’s unknown if the Spaniard wants to leave for his former side, however, as succeeding Wenger will be a big task.

Arsenal finished sixth in the Premier League with a paltry 63 points, suffering 13 defeats, and ending up 37 points adrift of City. For the second consecutive season, the Gunners will be playing in the Europa League, but they do have a strong attacking side which could flourish under a new manager.

Mikel Arteta, a former Arsenal player, is now Manchester City assistant manager. Pic: Ronnie Macdonald/Flickr

The likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mesut Ozil, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are very talented players and more than capable of firing Arsenal to silverware next season, and an offensive manager like Nagelsmann might be the one to get the Gunners firing on all cylinders.

The 30-year-old is highly-rated after his success with Hoffenheim and is reportedly Arsenal’s top summer target as a result. Nagelsmann playing career ended in 2008 and he worked in Sports Science before becoming a coach. He returned to former club Augsburg, working under the offensive manager Thomas Tuchel, before becoming an assistant at Hoffenheim from 2012.

Nagelsmann looked after the youth sides for a lengthy period before become head coach at 28 – he was the youngest-ever Bundesliga manager. He kept Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga in his first season as their head coach, but 2016/17 saw them finish fourth in the division – qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in their history.

Nagelsmann would go on to sign a new deal that same summer.  And this season, Hoffenheim finished third in the table, above Borussia Dortmund.

As a result, it’s not hard to see why Arsenal are so keen on the 30-year-old. He has an attacking philosophy and has turned a failing club into a top-three side in just two years.

Arsenal are reportedly narrowing their focus and haven’t spoken to the likes of Thierry Henry or Patrick Vieira for the vacant role. Arteta is said to be keen to make the switch from City, having spent five years at the Emirates and captaining the side too. He was regarded as an intelligent player whom they couldn’t be without.

Guardiola can’t praise his fellow Spaniard enough and says he will not stand in Arteta’s way if he wants to become a manager. That’s good news for Arsenal, but Nagelsmann is also worth trying to bring to London. He’s not short of offers after his exploits with Hoffenheim, but he could be a game-changer.

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Crippy can be found on Twitter (@CrippyCooke). He is a sports journalist who has written for the Independent, Bleacher Report, Huffington Post, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph among others. Crippy treats football gossip with a dash of cynicism and loves tearing apart outlandish rumours.

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