Arsenal Reportedly Confident Luis Enrique Would Choose Gunners over Chelsea

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2018

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 27:  Luis Enrique, Manager of FC Barcelona reacts during the Copa Del Rey Final match between FC Barcelona and Deportivo Alaves at Vicente Calderon stadium on May 27, 2017 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by fotopress/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Arsenal are reportedly confident that Luis Enrique would choose them over Chelsea if both clubs were to approach the former Barcelona manager about taking over the team this summer. 

It was confirmed last week that this season will be Arsene Wenger's last at the Emirates Stadium, bringing the curtain down on 22 years in charge of the Gunners. Meanwhile, speculation has raged as to whether or not Antonio Conte will still be at Chelsea next season.

According to John Cross of the Daily Mirror, both Arsenal and Chelsea have Enrique in mind to succeed their incumbent bosses, with the former confident they have an edge over their London rivals.

"Crucially, Arsenal's head of football relations Raul Sanllehi has a link with Enrique from their days working together at the Camp Nou," it's noted. "Sanllehi joined Arsenal in February having been director of football at Barcelona."

Arsenal and Chelsea could both be on the hunt for new managers this summer.
Arsenal and Chelsea could both be on the hunt for new managers this summer.AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Cross said the main issue for Arsenal in their potential pursuit of Enrique would be wages, as the former midfielder would reportedly request an annual salary of £15 million.

In the piece it's said the Gunners are considering a couple of different avenues—whether to appoint a big-name manager like Enrique, Leonardo Jardim or Joachim Low, or look at a younger alternative like Mikel Arteta or Julian Nagelsmann.

As noted by Alex Kirkland of Real Madrid TV, if the Gunners did get Enrique he would bring something totally different to Wenger:

A look at the resume of the former Barcelona coach would suggest he's well placed to take a top job having left the Camp Nou at the end of last season.

Enrique steered Barcelona to the UEFA Champions League, two La Liga titles and the Copa del Rey three times during his stint in charge. He won the treble in 2014-15 and was the manager who put together the attacking trio of Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi.

Enrique won numerous honours at Barcelona.
Enrique won numerous honours at Barcelona.OLIVER LANG/Getty Images

While the tactics used by Enrique weren't in line with the classic Barca mantras—he set his teams up a little more directly than those managed by Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff—he was able to get the best out of that devastating trio.

However, journalist and author Philippe Auclair is surprised to see Enrique as one of the favourites to take the job:

While he has many accolades to his name, Enrique did have a wonderful squad to work with, including three of the best attackers in the world. Additionally, his abrasive style and lack of experience in the Premier League would be enough to worry some Arsenal supporters.

However, at this juncture there doesn't appear to be a perfect candidate to step in for Wenger. Enrique, with his steeliness, experience and winning mentality, may well represent a safe pair of hands during what is set to be a period of major transition in north London.

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