The search continues to find a successor for the departing Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. The legendary boss had his emotional farewell from the Emirates Stadium and, after an emotional goodbye to the Arsenal home crowd, it is time to find someone worthy of following up such as class act.
According to reports, the Gunners want to find their new manager before the start of the World Cup, which gives them a deadline of June 14 to find Wenger’s successor.
Arsenal could try and go big and go for a name like Luis Enrique, formerly of Barcelona, or Massimiliano Allegri, currently of Juventus. However, the Gunners could face stumbling blocks in their pursuit of these names, who may demand a huge transfer war chest when they take over.
There are conflicting reports over how much money Arsenal would be willing to give their new manager to spend on players. It was initially reported that the new boss would be limited to just £50m to spend in the summer after the club spent big in previous windows. However, more recent reports claim that up to £200m could be put aside as a transfer budget.
Many Arsenal fans would be in dismay to hear the news that a measly £50m would be handed to the new boss, but perhaps it would not be such an unwise decision.
While clearly a money-saving move, a smaller transfer budget could force a new manager to be very selective in his signings and force him to prioritise recruiting in Arsenal’s weakest positions. It could also persuade a manager to play and develop Arsenal’s existing young players, who have been a shining light in an otherwise poor season for the Gunners.
Any candidate for the Arsenal job who has been watching the Gunners in recent weeks will be hugely encouraged by some of the performances of the club’s young stars. While the club’s domestic season has been a write-off, the emerging talent of Arsenal’s academy have been taking their chances well.
This has been a breakout season for 20-year-old Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Initially give his start in the squad as cover in an unnatural left-back position, holding midfielder Maitland-Niles has quickly won over the Arsenal fans. Looking composed beyond his years, the young Englishman has impressed in his work rate, ability to recover the ball, and his passing distribution. Despite Arsenal’s defeat, Maitland-Niles has handed man of the match for his performance against Manchester United.
After four years at the club, Calum Chambers is finally beginning to emerge as a reliable defensive position for the Gunners. While not a product of Arsenal’s academy, at 23 years old, Chambers could prove to be the future of Arsenal’s defence. Chambers has really matured as a centre-back and has stepped up when called upon.
Then there’s Konstantinos Mavropanos, who has quickly become a fan favourite in just two appearances for the club. The 20-year-old had the daunting task of making his debut at Old Trafford, but did not shy away from the occasion. Arsenal’s defence has been their weak link this season, but the pieces are already there to rebuild.
It should also be noted that Arsenal’s Under-23s are the champions of the Premier League 2, which could see more young names making the move up to the senior squad. 18-year-old Reiss Nelson is on the the fringes of the Arsenal first team, but scored nine goals in 11 PL2 appearances.
Arsenal’s manager hunt should focus on someone who is willing to develop these young players. A small transfer budget could help to root out someone willing to take the challenge and put the trust in these young Gunners.
A limited budget would also force the next manager to be smart in the transfer market and prioritise Arsenal’s biggest needs. They certainly need to be in the market for a new experienced central defender, for example, after it was confirmed that Laurent Koscielny will be sidelined for six months with injury.
In his touching farewell speech to the Emirates Stadium, Arsene Wenger took a moment to demonstrate his faith in Arsenal’s current crop of players: “I would invite you, really push, support these players and the staff who remains behind me, these group of players has a special quality.
“Not only on the pitch, but off the pitch. Please, as you follow this team, support them next season because they deserve it.”
Budget restrictions could force the next manager to put his support in Arsenal’s current team, and that may not be such a bad thing. Along with one or two new recruits, and not a complete squad overhaul, Arsenal’s young players have proven that they should be given a chance.