Arsenal FC: 5 Potential Replacements for Arsene Wenger
It is now safe to say, after six trophyless seasons, that the Wenger project has well and truly failed.
Americans are not known for being satisfied with second best, and surely, Kroenke must have some big changes in mind. One of the steps that Kroenke could take, is to make Wenger change his philosophy.
However, going by recent statements made by Wenger indicate that this is unlikely to happen. So, will he sack Arsene Wenger? It is not entirely inconceivable.
When Stan Kroenke took over Colorado Rapids in 2005, the first thing he did was change the Chairman and Head Coach.
Of course, Wenger is more than a mere coach, but it should be noted that the new owner doesn't shy away from major overhauls.
Even if Wenger doesn't leave this summer, the question of his successor will be answered soon.
Pat Rice has decided to retire and the choice of Assistant Manager will provide a hint as to who will eventually manage Arsenal.
Lets have a look at potential successors (in no particular order).
1. Dragan Stojkovic
It has been widely reported that Arsene Wenger named the current Nagoya Grampus Eight coach as his successor.
Stojkovic was a player at Nagoya Grampus while Wenger was coaching them in 1995. He is a former president of the Yugoslav FA and Red Star Belgrade.
His first managerial experience has been at Nagoya Grampus Eight. In 2010, he led the Japanese Club to their first ever League Title, something even Wenger couldn't accomplish during his tenure.
Stojkovic's managerial style is heavily influence by Arsene Wenger and he also favours an attacking brand of football.
His contract runs out at then end of this J-League season, which has been extended because of the natural disasters in Japan.
Most importantly, he is not a high profile manager yet. This means that he can be brought in as a replacement for Pat Rice and groomed for the big job.
UPDATE: He has just extended his contract by another two years at Nagoya Grampus.
2. Josep Guardiola
This man needs no introduction.
The Barcelona coach's contract runs out in 2012 and he has publicly stated his desire to test his managerial skills in England.
He is also an admirer of the Arsenal style of playing football, which is not too different from the one employed at the Nou Camp.
However, a move to the Emirates will depend on Wenger's situation at the club. One way could be to move Arsene 'upstairs' and clear the way for Pep.
Manchester United could rival Arsenal for his signature, but it seems likely that Jose Mourinho will be the one taking over at Old Trafford.
If both moves go through, it promises to be an interesting renewal of this managerial duel.
3. Didier Deschamps
It is likely that Arsene Wenger will have a say in the appointment of his successor.
If he goes for an outside hire, it wont be a big surprise if he is French.
A likely candidate is Didier Deschamps. He has won everything as a player and has been a successful manager during his stints with Juventus and Marseille.
He led Juve back into the Serie A and won Olympique Marseille's first French League Title in 18 years along with the back to back French Domestic Cups in 2010 and 2011.
Having previously turned down an offer to manage Liverpool, he has also been linked to a possible return to Juventus.
His contract runs out in June 2012 and Arsenal could join the scramble for his signature.
4. Frank Rijkaard
Frank Rijkaard has to be the highest profile manager who is currently a free agent.
On paper, he is perfect for a team like Arsenal.
He would continue the Wenger brand of football and also be able to attract big name players who will fit into his philosophy.
Rijkaard showed at Barcelona that he is ready to mix beauty with pragmatism. He did not hesitate to buy big name players when needed.
Rijkaard seems keen on a move to England. Signing him will be a big statement of intent from Stan Kroenke.
Unless of course, Chelsea get him first.
"Arsene Who?" was the question on everybody's mind when he was signed in September 1996.
Recently successful managers like Mourinho and Guardiola were not really household names before their appointments.
Arsene Wenger is an obsessive planner, and he surely must have a few candidates in mind for his job. Stojkovic is one of them, but there could be a few more on the secret shortlist.
If it is a newcomer, then its possible that we may see him sitting next to Wenger in the dugout next season.
Other possible candidates: English managers are missing from this list. The best English manager out there is Harry Redknapp, and a move from Spurs to Arsenal is not going to happen. Owen Coyle is being talked about a potential successor due to his success at Burnley, Bolton and the development of Jack Wilshere. However, he has little experience of managing a big club or Europe.
Martin O' Neill is a free agent and David Moyes might decide that he has taken Everton as far as he can. But Arsenal fans will feel that these two are not high profile enough.
For Arsenal Football Club, this summer could be a major turning point.