Arsenal have emerged as surprise contenders for Pep Guardiola with the Bayern Munich manager a firm admirer of both the club and Arsene Wenger’s philosophy.
This is according to the Daily Mail, who claim Guardiola is ready to consider another season in Germany or even a 12-month sabbatical if it means landing the role of Wenger’s successor in 2017.
That is when Wenger’s current contract is due to expire, but there is still plenty of uncertainty as to whether he will extend his time at the Emirates. As Piers Morgan has regularly bemoaned, Wenger’s achievements with the Gunners has granted him the privilege of choosing his leaving date.
However, the chance to land Guardiola would leave the Arsenal board with a serious dilemma. There is almost no chance that Ivan Gazidis would shoehorn Wenger into retirement by not offering him a new deal.
Indeed, it has already been claimed by several prominent newspapers that Arsenal are already putting plans in place to extend Wenger’s contract, but the Frenchman could agree to step aside if Guardiola commits to taking his throne.
Pressure to leave
The 66-year-old is approaching his third decade at the helm of Arsenal, in which time he has transformed them into a modern-day super club, complete with a world-class stadium and a very specific brand of football.
But the lack of trophies – two FA Cups in ten years – has left many fans wondering if the club would be best served with a fresh approach.
Guardiola would certainly provide that, although he would, of course, maintain the values that Wenger has installed. In fact, if anything the former Barcelona manager is an even firmer advocate of so-called ‘tiki-taka’ football than Wenger.
Chelsea, Manchester United, and Manchester City all seem ready to make exceptions to land Guardiola in the summer, but the prospect of replacing the legendary manager appears to be too alluring.