John Hartson says he understands why the media are linking Brendan Rodgers to a move to Arsenal, but says he expects the 45-year-old to stay in Scotland for another season.
A few weeks ago, the media revealed Rodgers as one of seven managers on the shortlist to replace Arsene Wenger this summer. Former Gunner Hartson told last week’s edition of The Sunday Post he can see why.
“Brendan is a man in demand, and rightly so,” he said. “He worked in England for five or six years and had success at Swansea and Liverpool. He then came up to Scotland and has delivered unbelievable glory in his 20 months at Celtic.”
Hartson admitted there’s a possibility the job at Arsenal might sway the manager. The money on offer is clearly in a different league to Celtic right now. That’s both in terms of salary and in terms of what he could spend on the squad.
“What Brendan can’t control is when a club is keen to explore the possibility of getting him,” he explained. “Yes, he says he is living the dream in Glasgow as manager of Celtic, and I believe him. But when you see a club such as Arsenal being linked with him, then I can see where they are coming from.
“Whether they eventually see Brendan, or anyone else, as their next manager – and whether that be this summer or two years from now – then Arsenal would be able to offer a salary in excess of £8m a year. There would also be a transfer budget of more than £150m. That is bound to be attractive to many, many people.”
The former striker then clarified that he still feels Rodgers will stay in Scotland a bit longer. He’s clearly having a massive amount of success right now, so it might not be the time to step away.
“My feeling is that he will stay at Celtic for at least one more year,” Hartson said. “I think he will want to stay to try to achieve eight titles on the trot. He will maybe then review his position. Only time will tell.”
I think it’s fair to say Rodgers wouldn’t be Arsenal fans’ first pick of the possible Wenger replacements. I’m not going to argue that they’re wrong either.
Still, objectively speaking the 45-year-old has already achieved a lot, and has a lot of experience in England. Plus, the Arsenal board and owners don’t tend to pay much heed to what the fans want. We’ll see what they decide this summer.