Wenger's replacement: Arsenal may surprise many

By Daily Sports on May 9, 2018

Views: 988

Arsenal FC are a unique club that prides itself on doing things with class and care, away from the seeming chaotic style of management that sometimes characterizes other clubs. Arsenal like to speak up about upholding the right values and doing things in a considered way that may not necessarily follow the norm. 
Since the announcement by long-serving manager Arsene Wenger that he would be stepping down from the job he has held with dignity and pride for a good 22 years, the search for a new manager by the club has been highlighted by several news outlets with different names being peddled about as potential replacement for Wenger. 
But Arsenal are unpredictable sometimes and the may well be in the lookout for a different way of going about setting up their coaching structure that would be different from the manager-led system of most English premier League clubs. 
This is according to football.london's editor Greg Johnson who penned a recent article on what Arsenal's plans on setting up their coaching team post-Wenger could be like. 
Here's what Johnson writes:
"The Gunners will face a serious challenge when it comes to replacing their long-serving manager, even if his powers have waned over the past decade without the old advantages that once made him a cutting edge coach on this side of the channel. United's decision to hand over control to David Moyes after Ferguson departed stands as a handy example of what not to do in the coming months.
Unlike their rivals up in Manchester, the Arsenal hierarchy have not waited to prepare the club for Wenger's exit. They have already brought in Sven Mislintat as a new head of recruitment and Raul Sanllehi as head of football operations. They are two most high profile recruits among a raft of recent appointments that have seen changes in the academy, coaching team, sports science and transfer departments.
A failure to delegate has often been cited as one reason why Wenger lost ground on his opponents. There is another parallel to draw to United too. When Ferguson left, his title-winning assistants Mike Phelan and Rene Meulensteen eventually followed him out as Moyes brought in his own men. It was a brain drain all the same.
Mislintat and Sanllehi now possess a greater profile than most other professionals in their positions as directors with Arsenal fans excited to see what the former chiefs of scouting and negotiations at Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona, respectively, will do at the Emirates, but what if their arrivals point to a strategy that could reshape our understanding of football managements, 22 years on from the decision to bring Wenger to north London?
Zeljko Buvac has emerged as a shock contender to replace the Frenchman this summer. Described by Jurgen Klopp as a true football brain, the Serbian has served the German as his long-standing assistant and key adviser over tactics and team selection. They have worked together for over 17 years. However, Buvac has very much been the power behind the throne rather than a front man. The thinker, not the leader. It would be fascinating to see him step out from the shadows to take centre stage at a club like Arsenal, and yet that's what the bookies suggest could be about to happen.
However, maybe there is no interest in bringing in Liverpool's number two as a gamble to fill the space left by the number one in the Emirates home dugout. Just like the thinking behind Mislintat and Sanllehi, perhaps Buvac would be another section of a high-end support network to work on a timescale beyond the short life spans of a modern football manager.
If Arsenal go looking for the next Wenger, they are likely to be disappointed. Coaches could soon be counting their tenures in terms of months instead of years. That's no model for stability. Increasingly, it's the directors of football and similar figures who set the agenda at a club, or put in place philosophies, strategies and all the rest of it.
Managers are increasingly becoming as disposable as players, if not more so. They are now components to be added or taken away from a team with the bigger decisions taken by the people working above them. Buvac could be a permanent assistant of sorts.
A manager in all but name, ensuring there is continuity in training and on the touchline, while working behind someone who is more comfortable in the role of being the public face of the club - someone to be the motivator for the players and the spokesperson in the press conference.
It would be a subversion of the usual relationship between assistant and head coach, and one in keeping with the way the game is going when it comes to the division of labour on the sidelines and who does what in a sport where the prizes and pressure are at an all-time high, with the timescales afforded to those seeking success now shorter than ever.
Managers come and go, and the rate of sackings and new appointments is only likely to rise. It would therefore make sense to give the club more command over its destiny with trusted figures in key positions protected from short-term risks as they work to long-term goals.
The Buvac rumours were initially seen as bizarre but if the Gunners do take such a left-field approach to replacing Wenger, he could be exactly the sort of shadow manager that becomes a mainstay in football's next age."

Source Daily Sports

Posted May 9, 2018

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