Arsene Wenger Reportedly Eyes Giovanni van Bronckhorst as Potential Successor

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2017

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 21: Feyenoord coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst during the UEFA Champions League  match between Manchester City v Feyenoord at the Etihad Stadium on November 21, 2017 in Manchester United Kingdom (Photo by Offside/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Arsene Wenger has reportedly identified Feyenoord boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst as a "top candidate" to replace him at Arsenal when he leaves the club.

According to the Daily Star's David Woods, Wenger has been impressed by the Dutchman and will have a say in who succeeds him at the Emirates Stadium, albeit he will not be solely responsible for the decision.

The 42-year-old earned over 100 caps for the Netherlands and played under Wenger at Arsenal in a career that also saw him enjoy successful stints at Rangers, Barcelona and Feyenoord.

Van Bronckhorst took over the Dutch club in 2015 and led them to the KNVB Cup in his first campaign, before guiding them to their first Eredivisie title since 1999 last season, in which his side finished the year with a positive goal difference of 61.

Wenger's future was the subject of much speculation last season as the Frenchman was in the final year of his deal.

However, as Bleacher Report's James McNicholas noted, the club had done little to prepare for his departure:

Despite that, a vocal section of the Emirates fans were eager to see the manager call time on his career at Arsenal, per The Sun's Neil Ashton:

Wenger even said he would take fan feeling into consideration in regards to his future, according to ESPN FC's Mattias Karen:

However, he signed a two-year extension on his deal, and while there is a lot of football left to play this season, the club are again well off the pace in the Premier League as they lie in sixth, 12 points behind leaders Manchester City.

Having a succession plan in place for his eventual departure is critical, though, as it will be no easy task to replace a man who has served as manager for 21 years so far.

Van Bronckhorst is a promising young boss with experience of Arsenal, and the title win he oversaw last season will have enhanced his prospects of one day getting a chance at an even bigger club.

LONDON - MAY 7:   Giovanni van Bronckhorst of Arsenal running with the ball during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Arsenal and Southampton on May 7, 2003 at Highbury Stadium in London, England.  Arsenal won the match 6-1. (Photo by Mark Thomp
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Gunners supporters may prefer a more experienced coach with a track record of success in a stronger league or Europe, though, and appointing someone of that calibre would perhaps be less risky.

Either way, it is a decision Arsenal must get right.

Manchester United are still recovering from the decision to appoint David Moyes and then Louis van Gaal after Sir Alex Ferguson retired, and they were in a stronger position when he left—having just won the titlethan Arsenal are now, so the impact of a similar mistake could be even more devastating.  

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