Luis Enrique Reportedly Contacted by Arsenal to Replace Arsene Wenger

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 20, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 27: Coach Luis Enrique Martinez Garcia of FC Barcelona poses for photos with the trophy after winning the Copa Del Rey Final between FC Barcelona and Deportivo Alaves at Vicente Calderon Stadium on May 27, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Power Sport Images/Getty Images)
Power Sport Images/Getty Images

Arsenal have reportedly contacted former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique to discuss the prospect of him taking over for Arsene Wenger next season.

The Gunners confirmed on Friday that Wenger would end nearly 22 years at the club at the end of the campaign, per their official website. According to Ed Malyon of The Independent, Enrique is one of the candidates Arsenal are considering as a possible replacement.

"The 47-year-old coach counts on supporters inside the north London club's hierarchy and shares an existing relationship with Raul Sanllehi, Arsenal's new head of football relations," Malyon said. "That would help smooth any arrival, but the former Spain midfielder has scared off some inside the club by demanding a salary on a par with Wenger."

Malyon provided further details on Twitter, noting that despite the contact between the two parties, he doesn't expect Enrique to end up in the Emirates hotseat:

However, according to Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail, Enrique is the front-runner to take over from Wenger at the end of the campaign. "Only an unexpected glitch in negotiations, which are well advanced, can prevent now the appointment," he said.

Enrique had a tremendous playing career with Barcelona before taking over the club's B team in 2008. After a short stint in charge of Roma, he returned to Spain and impressed in a season with Celta Vigo.

In 2014, he was named the Barcelona boss and enjoyed an incredible spell, winning the UEFA Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey in his first season.

In the following two campaigns, he won the Copa del Rey twice more and retained the title in 2015-16. However, at the end of last season, in which rival Real Madrid dominated domestically and in Europe, Enrique ended his stint in charge.

Speaking about his future recently, the former midfielder admitted he'd need an exciting project to return to management, per ESPN FC:

While taking over at Arsenal would be a huge opportunity, after almost 22 years with the same manager in place, there's no denying just how difficult a job it'd be.

Wenger has transformed the football club in his time there, and so many methods around Arsenal will have been forged in his image. Any new man coming in may take some time to put his mark on matters as a result.

Enrique detractors will point to an edgy streak he had in Spain when dealing with the media. In addition, in Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi, he had arguably the most potent attacking force the sport has ever seen at his disposal.

Nevertheless, it's difficult to argue with his trophy-winning credentials, especially for a club like Arsenal that haven't won the Premier League title since 2004.

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