Under-pressure Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger sprang a surprise at his news conference on Friday when he said: “No matter what happens, I will manage next season, whether it is here or elsewhere.”
Wenger’s deal at Arsenal expires at the end of the season, and there has been intense speculation about his future following Wednesday’s 5-1 humiliation at Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
The 67-year-old will not be short of offers if he decides to end his 21-year association with Arsenal. While a move to a Premier League rival appears highly unlikely, clubs across Europe will no doubt be interested.
Here, ESPN FC’s club bloggers and correspondents discuss whether Wenger would fit in at their club.
It seems unlikely to happen, but in many ways Wenger could be an ideal fit at Real Madrid for a short spell. His problem at Arsenal appears to be that he leaves too much to the players to work out themselves — and they are just not good enough to do so, leading to humiliating failure after humiliating failure. Any Madrid coach realistically has no option but to cede power to the dressing room (as Rafa Benitez quickly found out), but the current Bernabeu squad is really strong and full of leaders like Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo, who often rise to the big occasion. — Dermot Corrigan
Luis Enrique will almost certainly leave in June when his contract expires, leaving the post at Camp Nou open. So how would Wenger — who reportedly knocked back interest from Barcelona once before — do? He would almost certainly be able to woo the Catalan club’s hierarchy with his ideas and philosophies, but his lack of progress and success throughout the last decade would raise doubts. At a club where second best is never tolerated, a man with no previous Barca link would be thrown under the bus pretty quickly if things steered even slightly off course. — Sam Marsden
Going from Diego Simeone to Wenger would not exactly be a natural succession given the Frenchman’s penchant for overindulging his players. Simeone notoriously pushes his team hard and squeezes every last drop out of them — so in that case the players probably would not mind. Likewise, the board would be happy. Wenger’s tight grip on the purse strings would appeal to a club that often have to sell their best players and look for economic alternatives. That said, Atleti are a club that have loftier ambitions than finishing in the top four and getting knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage every season. — Joe Walker
Bayern Munich have made polite enquiries about Wenger taking over on at least two occasions in recent memory, such is the high regard in which the Frenchman is held at the club. Of course, Wenger would win the Bundesliga if he were in charge of the Bavarians. But that wouldn’t make him a success at Bayern. The Champions League is the Holy Grail, and as Pep Guardiola found out, you are solely judged on success in that competition. Sorry, Arsene, your record there is just not up to scratch. — Mark Lovell
Since Thomas Tuchel has already been linked with a move to Arsenal as Wenger’s successor, why not the other way around? Borussia Dortmund have a young and talented team, and the 67-year-old proved in the past he can develop a team like BVB’s. However, there is a big question mark behind his tactical mind, as Arsenal have shown little innovation in recent years, and that could be a problem in the Bundesliga. — Stefan Buczko
For a team who live by Giampiero Boniperti’s words — “Winning is not important, it’s the only thing that counts” — Wenger at Juventus would be nothing short of disastrous. A coach who appears to prefer aesthetics over winning trophies simply has no place in top Italian clubs, and for a Juventus side that have turned winning a European trophy into an obsession, Wenger’s inability to successfully navigate Arsenal out of last 16 stage in the Champions League ensures he will never be considered. — Mina Rzouki
For all the criticism and scrutiny that Wenger has faced in recent years, he remains one of the top tacticians in Europe. At the helm at AC Milan, he would bring stability and a culture and style of play that would be most welcome. However, with his stubbornness in terms of showing too much faith in his players and a lack of tactical flexibility, particularly in Italy, you have to question if there would be similar limitations for him at the San Siro. — Sumeet Paul
The Wenger who mauled Inter to the tune of 5-1 back in 2004? Possibly. Now? Not so much. His poor record against big teams is a concern, as is his lack of pragmatism. Just ask Fiorentina, Napoli and Roma fans what their champagne football has won them recently. Inter are buying youngsters anyway and need someone with the ability to at least compete in Europe. Would Wenger work well with all the expensive signings Suning are making, or, indeed, assemble a squad deep enough to compete on multiple fronts? It is doubtful. — Edo Dalmonte
On the surface, Wenger looks like Roma’s spirit animal. Romanisti have been reared on a diet of stylish teams that wilt when it matters domestically and lay down and die in Europe, and Arsenal Fan TV should prepare him perfectly for the hysterical tone of the local media. However, no amount of pretty football would stop him from being chased out of town if Roma took repeated hammerings from Lazio similar to Arsenal’s at the hands of Chelsea, and the city doesn’t have the patience for more continental humblings. Luciano Spalletti will do just fine for now. — Terry Daley
Wenger’s chance to join PSG as coach has passed. The Frenchman was Qatar Sports Investments’ (QSI) top target for a long time, but after Tuesday’s incredible 4-0 demolition of Barcelona in the Champions League, current incumbent Unai Emery is finally giving the French giants’ ambitious owners what they desire. Last summer was arguably Wenger’s last chance for the Parc des Princes hotseat, but Emery replaced Laurent Blanc, as the Ligue 1 champions ultimately went for a more modern tactician. Wenger would be more than welcome back in Le Championnat, particularly if hometown club RC Strasbourg Alsace make it back to the top flight this season, just not in Paris. — Jonathan Johnson
And what about …
A manager who is reluctant to spend money but could guarantee Champions League football every season is the dream for Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, while the club funds a new £750 million stadium. He appears to have one in Mauricio Pochettino, but Wenger fits the bill too, and annual humiliation in the Champions League last-16 would actually be an improvement, after Spurs’ failure to get out of the group. Wenger’s commitment to passing football also fits “The Tottenham Way”, which would appease supporters, as would the occasional FA Cup. But there are issues: Levy also wants his managers to develop young British players, which Wenger is poor at, and work with a director of football or head of recruitment, which the autocratic Frenchman may find problematic. Spurs also do not have Wenger’s staple overcoat — a knee-length puffa jacket — as part of their standard issue kit. On the whole, Wenger would be a good manager for Tottenham over the next two to three years, but he is no long-term solution like Pochettino. — Dan Kilpatrick
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