Arsenal column All Guns Blazing: Brendan Rodgers to succeed Arsene Wenger? Thanks but no thanks

PUBLISHED: 19:11 03 March 2018 | UPDATED: 19:11 03 March 2018

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers during the training session at Lennoxtown, Glasgow.PA

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers during the training session at Lennoxtown, Glasgow.PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Read our latest hard-hitting Arsenal column All Guns Blazing. This week we have guest writer Ed Skingsley who discuss succession planning at the Gunners but rules out Brendan Rodgers.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. PA Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers. PA

Talk of a new manager at most football clubs usually means a friendly discussion amongst friends over a few pints ‘down the local.’

Raise the issue with an Arsenal fan and be prepared to be greeted with a glare, rolling eyes and a rapid change of subject.

Arsene Wenger: Sooner or later he’s going to have to walk the plank – and after the ‘Manchester City Week’ just gone, there is very little case for ‘later.’

To start any succession discussion we have to have some candidates, so just who are the blips on the Arsenal radar? The press wheel out such lists frequently, usually following a Gunners defeat.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers at Celtic Park, Glasgow. Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers at Celtic Park, Glasgow.

Dumping the silly suggestions and having spoken to a couple of Gooners who have a bit of a grapevine – albeit a little withered – there are four names that seem to interest the Arsenal hierarchy at the moment.

Leonardo Jardim the current Monaco head coach, Joachim Low the Germany head coach, Thomas Tuchel the former Borussia Dortmund head coach and – dear old Brendan Rodgers, the Celtic head coach.

As the names were read out to me, I was nodding in agreement until the last one – I think my actual words were, “come on, you’re having a laugh!” I pointed out they had obviously just substituted Rodgers for Diego Simeone – a long held hope for many a Gooner. Apparently not.

The news ruined my day.

I was kicking it around in my mind for ages and eventually concluded it must be a mistake.

Apparently critics are saying he’s the man to lead Arsenal into the sunlight, after all look at the work he has done at Celtic and Liverpool before that.

Really? Really??

I can actually comment on Scottish football, as I have watched some games this season in the flesh. There is no doubt that Celtic are the biggest name in Scotland, and Rodgers managed them through a recent record breaking unbeaten run.

But it’s Scotland.

It’s the SPFL where a team lying in second place hails in its official programme the signing of an English League Two player and plays him immediately in the first team.

It’s Scotland where an MK Dons reserve forward is drafted straight into an SPFL first team, it’s Scotland where despite the unbeaten league run, Celtic perform nothing like those heroic Lisbon Lions of yesteryear and fail repeatedly in whatever European competition they take part in.

Simeone’s non-appearance on the list is probably down to reticence on the side of the Arsenal powers.

He doesn’t speak English well, and is known to tell people ‘how it is’ in a rather direct way when there is a disagreement – whatever their status.

However, if you want passion, and an exciting style of play, he has to be a candidate, surely?

Tuchel and Low are interesting. Tuchel is relatively young at 44 years of age, and has risen through the German game culminating in him taking over from Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund.

He left that position in May last year after a fall out with board, but with an outstanding win ratio of 63 per cent marked up on the board.

Low is a familiar face as head coach of the German national team, and has achieved exceptional success in that post.

Whether he would find a return to club football enjoyable on the Premier League merry go round is another matter.

Jardim seems to be a good fit for Arsenal and like Tuchel, he is in his mid 40’s. His managerial performance particularly at his last four clubs is brilliance personified. He has the happy knack of being a managerial success wherever he lands, with resurgent Monaco currently enjoying his mastery.

But having transformed their fortunes over the past couple of years, would he be so keen to leave behind the comforting appeal of being backed by a Russian billionaire?

There was no mention on the wish list for Eddie Howe either, once a favourite for the post.

I would imagine he would need a mentor as he has no European experience to call upon.

Of those names that are on the list, if you want the current drift to mediocrity Rodgers is your man.


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