Former Arsenal vice-chairman, David Dein, insists that Arsenal will have an impossible job finding an adequate successor for Arsene Wenger and he’s completely correct.
Dein, the man attributed with securing the signings of the likes of Jens Lehmann and Sol Campbell and an individual who knows the boss better than most people, continues to have an excellent relationship with Wenger and still speaks incredibly highly of the Frenchman.
Speaking at the Soccerex Global Convention in Manchester, Dein claimed Wenger would be an impossible act to follow and finding a replacement is going to be really tough.
“He won’t be a difficult to act to follow… he will be an impossible act to follow,” Dein said.
“He’s been at the club for 20 seasons and every year has been in the Champions League (since 1998-99) so to anyone wanting to change the manager I say to them that the next person is highly unlikely to do that.
“I had the good fortune to have known Arsene for eight years before he became Arsenal manager so knew what he was like.
“The easiest thing is just to change – the hard thing is getting somebody better. Who could you get that is better?”
For all Gooners’ ranting, not many people have a decent idea of who we could replace the boss with once he calls time on his Arsenal career. Heck, we don’t even know when Wenger will stand down. His contract takes him up to 2017 but will he extend? Will he just move upstairs? Will be move club entirely?
Eddie Howe, Diego Simeone… plenty have been linked with what’s bound to turn into one of the most coveted jobs in world football at some point in the not too distant future but no one’s actually sure when or how Le Professeur’s successor will go about trying to emulate his achievements.
When Arsenal has gone through a rough patch – and there have been many – one of the thoughts that keeps me grounded and not turning into one of the #WengerOut brigade is the notion that we would potentially be even worse off if he left.
Look at the managers available. Could one of them honestly do better than him?
At the moment, everything’s rosy. We’re back to winning ways and having just beaten Chelsea 3-0 at home; you’d be forgiven for forgetting the transfer window and dodgy start to the campaign. Right now, I don’t think anyone really wants the man out of our club but here we are, approaching October, and there’s no talk of a contract extension or anything. In fact, it’s all gone really, really quiet.
Over the summer, I speculated that this might be down to our lack of transfer activity (at the time) and that we will offer him a new contract but we won’t announce it until later in the season when things are looking more positive. Perhaps this is the plan.
That’s the thing, even when the chips are down, sometimes it’s better the devil you know* and when Wenger does finally decide to hang up his clipboard… what will we do?
I, for one, am genuinely a little anxious about when Wenger steps down. I feel an attachment to him that most fans don’t get to feel for their manager. At the age of (almost) 27, I’ve never really known another.
He’s more ‘Arsenal’ than any of the players, no matter how much they kiss the badge. The boss is the one who’s been there through thick and thin, weathered the storm and stayed despite approaches from the likes of Real Madrid and PSG, his own fans turning on him and what appeared, at times, to be a media agenda.
I’ve said this before but when people refer to Mr. Arsenal, I don’t think of Tony Adams. I think of Arsene Wenger.
*I’m aware that Wenger is not the devil.