Five things the next Arsenal manager must do
There’s plenty of potential at the Emirates
Arsenal are faced with a huge decision as they weigh up who will take over from Arsene Wenger this summer.
Luis Enrique is the current favourite at 5/2, but the likes of Carlo Ancelotti, Max Allegri and Patrick Vieira are also in the running.
Whoever gets the job will have a long to-do list on their first day. Here are five things they need to do…
Get the fans back on side
The Arsenal fans are ready for a change. That’s been clear for a long time. But they still want their next manager to retain the values of Wenger’s best sides.
That means an emphasis on attacking play and giving a chance to talented young players. Whether the job goes to a big name or a managerial rookie, serving up entertaining football will go a long way to winning the approval of the fans.
Strengthen the defence
The squad looks well-stocked in attacking areas. But the defence needs some serious work. They’ve let in 46 goals in 34 league games so far this term.
In the middle, Per Mertesacker is retiring, Laurent Koscielny’s legs look to be going and there are big question marks over Shkodran Mustafi.
On the left, Nacho Monreal is always reliable but getting older, while Sead Kolasinac has virtually disappeared from the first-team picture. Over on the right, there’s a desperate need for an alternative to Hector Bellerin. The lack of cover means the Spaniard rarely gets a rest.
The goalkeeping situation needs to be looked at too. Petr Cech is 35-years-old and well past his best. David Ospina has rarely convinced either. The decision to sell Wojciech Szczesny last summer looks increasingly short-sighted.
Clear out the deadwood
Arsene Wenger’s faith in his players is admirable. But some of them have struggled to justify the belief he has shown in them.
Danny Welbeck is hard-working and tactically flexible, but is he clinical enough? Is Granit Xhaka’s passing ability good enough to compensate for his lack of mobility? Do Jack Wilshere’s displays merit a big new contract?
These are all questions that the new manager must answer. If the answer to any of them is negative, the player should be moved on to make way for a new addition or a promising young player.
Sort out Aaron Ramsey’s contract
Aaron Ramsey has been directly involved in 19 goals this season, more than any other player in the squad. He’s a dynamic, technically-gifted midfielder that’s approaching his peak years. But he may not spend them at Arsenal if the club don’t convince him to put pen to paper soon.
Ramsey only has a year left on his current deal. After the mess with Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez this season, the club have let it happen again. Getting the Welshman signed up is a top priority.
Find a system that suits the squad
The squad does need additions, but there are plenty of raw materials to work with already.
Mesut Ozil, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ramsey, Bellerin and more form the basis of a competitive side.
It’s up to the new manager to find a system that harnesses all of that talent. Arsenal’s current set-up leaves the defence too exposed, while Bellerin usually has to man the entire right flank on his own.
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