Us Arsenal fans are well accustomed to the transfer rumor madness, but I’m not sure myself or many others saw the manager appointment going in such a similar, theatrically dramatic process. In the last few days, we’ve seen some ITK (in-the-know) with decent followings tweeting about the manager appointment, saying that Arsenal have been meeting with certain names and some have gone as far as to say that verbal commitment has been reached.
At about noon on May 12, decently popular (129k followers on twitter) ITK @DarrenArsenal1 tweeted out that Arsenal “have now have a verbal agreement with the new forthcoming manager.” He went on to point out that reports say we have held meetings with Allegri and Arteta, maybe subtly implying the appointment will be one of those two.
In these situations, whenever David Ornstein pops up to provide some clarity, it is almost unanimously accepted that whatever he says is from the club. Ornstein did pop up about 3 hours later, promptly giving the twitter ITKs a shush. Ornstein tweeted: “Arsenal not close to appointing new manager. No agreement yet on chosen candidate, negotiations at relatively early stage, thorough process ongoing, next week looks unrealistic. Once decided, IG/RS/SM will present recommendation to #AFC board. Arteta among names being considered.”
We can say with almost certainty that this information came from the horse’s mouth, but it also should be considered that it could be what the club want us to think at this point in time. One scenario I can think of off the top of my head, where it would be in the club’s best interest to conceal the fact that they do indeed have clarity, is because in the case of Allegri for example, he still has business to take care of in Serie A and his Juventus job is not completely over, so it may look unprofessional on both parties if news came out that they had been having extended meetings while both club’s seasons were going on.
The timeline for when we can expect a decision was given by Ornstein a few days prior, when he tweeted: “Arsenal hope to name boss by World Cup. #AFC want proper process & to respect those in jobs. No idea who but not Simeone, Tuchel (#PSG may confirm Wed), Löw (#GER stay likely), Rodgers, Faria etc. Don’t sense Enrique, hear Allegri plans to leave #Juventus but unclear on next move.” This sheds some light that Tuchel, Low, Rodgers, Faria, Enrique are all unlikely to be appointed, which at the very least cements this news from an official source. As the days go by, it seems pretty clear that Allegri’s time at Juventus is over, meaning we have a legitimate shot to land the Italian manager.
With those other names out of the way, the most likely contenders left would be Max Allegri, Mikel Arteta, Leonardo Jardim, Patrick Vieira, Carlo Ancelotti, and Julian Nagelsmann. The frontrunners based on who’s being talked about in the press seem to be Allegri and Arteta, with Jardim being mentioned in the past, and the rest more exist in the hypothetical realm.
Another piece of information of interest on the subject, is the notion put out that the Arsenal hierarchy (mainly the Kroenke’s), want an emerging manager to take over. This idea has been put out by both ESPN and DailyMail, meaning it really should be taken with a grain of salt, however the idea itself is rather intuitive and believable to me. If you’re unfamiliar, Kroenke also owns the Los Angeles Rams, who recently hired the youngest head coach in NFL history, Sean McVay at just 30 years old, and have within 2 years become a new powerhouse in the NFL.
There is a logical conclusion to be made that Kroenke really liked that philosophy of giving an emerging name an opportunity to take over and make a name for himself. In his mind, it worked very well once, why not apply that philosophy again? Obviously, if these reports are true, this would mean that names like Arteta, Vieira, and potentially Nagelsmann have boosted odds in the manager race.
It goes without saying that because of the abundance of structural difference between basically every American sport and European football, the situations really are not perfectly analogous. There are many factors at play that made the Rams so good so fast, things outside of McVay’s control. I think it would be a mistake to look at the success of that appointment and try to replicate that with Arsenal, considering it’s just such a different situation. To be honest, I think one of Arteta, Vieira or Nagelsmann could potentially pan out, but I don’t think it would be because of a stroke of genius from the Kroenke’s newfound philosophy, if we were to get to that point.
I think it’s really a no brainer for me, we should be going all out with both Allegri and Jardim. Their dominance in Europe and immense resumes speak for themselves, they are young enough to be able to have a prosperous career at Arsenal ahead of them, but they are just so clearly the best manager candidates on the list to me at this point that I would be a little bothered with anything else.