The contenders who could replace Arsene Wenger: from Allegri to Luis Enrique
As each day passes, Arsene Wenger’s contract gets closer to its end and it remains to be seen whether the Arsenal manager will stay or go.
The north London club’s board will be considering their options in a bid to avoid being left in the lurch if the 67-year-old does decide to call it a day.
Here, Sportsmail has taken a look at the contenders to the replace Wenger in the summer, should Arsenal need to.
MASSIMILIANO ALLEGRI (AGE 49, JUVENTUS MANAGER)
The favourite. Currently in charge of Juventus, who are eight points clear at the top of Serie A.
Allegri has never managed outside of Italy – but neither had his Juve predecessor Antonio Conte. Chelsea have reaped the rewards and Arsenal could too.
Amid the talk of Arsenal and Allegri, some pundits in Italy have said they consider the 49-year-old a better tactician than Conte.
Allegri has been crowned an Italian champion once with AC Milan and twice with Juventus, though a third is on its way. Once he completes the hat-trick of titles at Juve, Allegri may wish to test himself in the Premier League like Conte.
Last summer he said: ‘I would certainly like to work abroad – we will see in two years when I am out of contract.’
That time could come this summer if Wenger leaves, with Allegri understood to be top of Arsenal’s wishlist.
BOOKMAKERS’ ODDS: 13/8
SPORTSMAIL’S LIKELIHOOD RATING: 8/10
DIEGO SIMEONE (AGE 46, ATLETICO MADRID MANAGER)
As the Premier League benefits from Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp, Conte, Mauricio Pochettino – all the world’s best bosses – there is a feeling one manager is missing.
That man is Diego Simeone, currently in charge of Atletico Madrid. If he was to take over at Arsenal, the collection could be considered complete.
Wenger comes across as softly spoken. Let Simeone loose in Arsenal’s changing room and they could get that change they have been craving.
Simeone’s record speaks for itself – as a manager he led Atletico to the La Liga title against all odds and also won the Europa League.
He has twice been a runner-up in the Champions League with the Spanish club – while Arsenal can only dream of getting to the final of Europe’s elite competition.
As one of Europe’s best bosses, Simeone would excite fans and breathe new life into the Emirates Stadium. Yet he is – unfortunately – likely to be seen as too erratic by Arsenal’s cautious board.
BOOKMAKERS’ ODDS: 14/1
SPORTSMAIL’S LIKELIHOOD RATING: 3/10
THOMAS TUCHEL (AGE 43, BORUSSIA DORTMUND HEAD COACH)
The Borussia Dortmund boss who replaced Klopp at the Westfalenstadion.
There is an increasing belief that Tuchel could be convinced to leave the one-horse race that is the Bundesliga to join the Premier League if offered the opportunity.
Tuchel is a savvy tactical but also has a hint of Klopp in him by playing high-pressing football. That yellow wall at Dortmund must spark something in a manager.
Last season he led BVB to second in the table. This season they are third behind Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig – 13 points off the top. They are, however, still in the Champions League.
Tuchel has only one year left on his current contract at the German club.
Arsenal could turn his head if they wanted to, though the north London club will be aware that he has yet to win a major trophy as a manager.
BOOKMAKERS’ ODDS: 9/1
SPORTSMAIL’S LIKELIHOOD RATING: 4/10
LUIS ENRIQUE (AGE 46, BARCELONA MANAGER, SOON TO BE A FREE AGENT)
Enrique announced he is to leave Barcelona at the end of this season and so, naturally, his name was linked with Arsenal by the bookmakers.
Barcelona are fresh from completing one of the greatest comebacks of all time following their 6-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain at the Nou Camp this week.
Arsenal failed to do that against Bayern Munich. Enrique got out of his players what Wenger couldn’t – although, granted, there is a sizeable gap in talent between Barca and Arsenal.
That win over PSG, without a doubt, is one for Enrique’s CV. Also on there are two La Liga titles and a Champions League trophy, among other achievements – including a treble in his first season.
The reason Enrique is leaving the Spanish club, though, is because he is feeling too tired.
Would he then take on a project as big as Arsenal’s, one that requires a rebuild? Unlikely.
BOOKMAKERS’ ODDS: 11/1
SPORTSMAIL’S LIKELIHOOD RATING: 2/10
EDDIE HOWE (AGE 39, BOURNEMOUTH MANAGER)
The Bournemouth boss. The English option.
A surprise suggestion but still one whose name is being mentioned by bookmakers – just as it was when the Football Association were searching for a new England manager.
Yet Howe is already planning for next season with Bournemouth in the Premier League.
Indeed, on the same night that Arsenal were beaten 5-1 by Bayern Munich, Howe was at Loftus Road to watch the Championship clash between Queens Park Rangers and Barnsley.
He was there doing his homework ahead of a big summer of trying to bolster his Bournemouth squad.
At the age of 39, Howe still has plenty of time to take over at a top club, someday. Arsenal, surely, would come far too soon.
BOOKMAKERS’ ODDS: 14/1
SPORTSMAIL’S LIKELIHOOD RATING: 1/10
LEONARDO JARDIM (AGE 42, MONACO MANAGER)
Another on the shortlist is Monaco’s manager Jardim, who has been getting the best out of Radamel Falcao at the Stade Louis II.
The 42-year-old previously led Portuguese minnows Chaves and Beria-Mar to promotion.
He was also at Olympiakos, though was strangely sacked by the Greek club when they were top of the table by 10 points. They still went on to win the title.
Jardim has been at Monaco since 2014 and the French club currently sit top of Ligue 1 by three points with PSG and Nice trying to catch up.
The football they have been playing this season is mesmerising. In France’s top flight, Monaco have scored an extraordinary 82 goals in 28 games this season.
A move to the Premier League would be a big step up for Jardim but, given Arsenal pride themselves on attractive football, he will be admired in their boardroom.
BOOKMAKERS’ ODDS: 18/1
SPORTSMAIL’S LIKELIHOOD RATING: 3/10
AND A FEW ALSO-RANS…
RONALD KOEMAN (AGE 53, EVERTON MANAGER)
Someone who knows the Premier League but the Everton manager is apparently attracting attention from Barcelona. Likely to stay at Goodison Park in the summer, though.
JORGE SAMPAOLI (AGE 56, SEVILLA MANAGER)
The Sevilla manager from Chile who knows Alexis Sanchez well. If he was to join, could Sanchez be convinced to stay? Maybe that’s why his name has been mentioned.
RAFA BENITEZ (AGE 56, NEWCASTLE UNITED MANAGER)
The Newcastle United chief who is leading the club back into the Championship. Another on the bookmakers’ lists but the former Liverpool manager is unlikely to be a true candidate for Arsenal.
THIERRY HENRY (AGE 39, BELGIUM ASSISTANT MANAGER)
Currently working with Roberto Martinez and the Belgium national team, the Arsenal legend could look to crack into coaching soon. Too soon for him to step up, though.
PATRICK VIEIRA (AGE 40, NEW YORK CITY HEAD COACH)
New York City’s manager, formerly of Manchester City reserves. Far too soon for him and it goes to show the bookmakers will take bets on anything.
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