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Zeljko Buvac to Reportedly Succeed Arsene Wenger at Arsenal in Latest Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2018

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp (L) speaks with Liverpool's Serbian assistant manager Zeljko Buvac ahead of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on August 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Liverpool assistant manager Zeljko Buvac is reportedly in line to take over from Arsene Wenger at Arsenal this summer.

It has been reported by Bosnian news outlet Pravda BL (h/t Sport Witness) that Buvac will leave the Reds at the end of the campaign to succeed the Frenchman, who has been in charge of the Gunners for 22 years.

As noted by Sport Witness, the source is "local" to Buvac, who is of Bosnian descent. Sport Witness provided further detail on the speculation on Twitter:

Sport Witness @Sport_Witness

For that reason this is worth paying some attention to. Pravda also point that out, and sound confident. He's now expected back home to 'recharge his batteries' ahead of what they believe is the Arsenal job waiting for him.

Meanwhile, journalist Chris Williams provided more details about the source, including a story that said Buvac and Klopp would be on their way to Liverpool from October 2015:

Chris Williams @Chris78Williams

The Bosnian news agency that broke Klopp and Buvac were to take over at Liverpool (the day before Brendan Rodgers was sacked) have this morning broke a story that Buvac is Arsenal bound as Wenger’s replacement.. #LFC #AFC https://t.co/tW7riTaZ0f

The Liverpool coach, who has been the long-term assistant to Reds manager Jurgen Klopp, is reportedly set to step away from the first team between now and the end of the campaign due to personal reasons, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo.

While Pearce added that Buvac remains on the Reds' books, according to Chris Bascombe of the Daily Telegraph, he is set to leave Anfield at the end of the campaign.

It would be a remarkable appointment from Arsenal if they were to move for the 56-year-old given he has no managerial experience.

As relayed by football writer Lars Pollman, to see him take the position would be a surprise:

Lars Pollmann @LarsPollmann

This would be an incredible departure from everything we know about Buvac. https://t.co/kQy5ejZwgi

There are links to consider, though. Buvac and Klopp previously worked together at Borussia Dortmund, and the Gunners have recently acquired Sven Mislintat from the Bundesliga side as head of recruitment. Ex-BVB stars Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also arrived in January.

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger leaves the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on April 29, 2018. - Manchester United won the game 2-1. (Phot
PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Buvac is highly regarded, too. As noted by Pearce, in the past Buvac has been referred to as "the brain" due to his tactical acumen; he has worked with Klopp for 17 years and is thought to have played a crucial role in the development of the stylistic blueprint the German manager is renowned for.

Journalist Raphael Honigstein broke down the type of relationship the pair have shared in the past:

Raphael Honigstein @honigstein

I don’t know why he’s left his position for the moment. Just wanted to make the point that their relationship has been volatile at times. They’re both impulsive characters but always came back together eventually. Let’s see what happens.

Arsenal are going into a summer of major uncertainty, with a period of transition inevitable having been under the stewardship of Wenger for so long. Regardless of who comes in and the pedigree they have, there's a massive job to do to restore Arsenal to one of the major forces in world football.

Having appointed Wenger from Japan in 1996, the Gunners have shown previously they can think outside the box when it comes to managerial recruitment. Buvac evidently has a sharp football mind, but stepping into such a high-pressure environment would be a massive leap for him.   

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