courtesy Daily Mail
Patrick Vieira, Thomas Tuchel and Brendan Rodgers are all under consideration as Arsenal prepare to make their first managerial appointment since John Major was Prime Minister.
Arsene Wenger announced he would leave Arsenal following 22 years of service during a reign which began back in September 1996, just four seasons into the Premier League era.
And it’s a sign of just how long Wenger has lasted in the role that one of his former players has emerged as a serious contender to step in at the Emirates.
Former Gunners captain Vieira is currently manager of New York City FC and would be a popular appointment among many Arsenal supporters. He won three Premier League titles and three FA Cups across his nine-year spell at the club.
Former Borussia Dortmund boss Tuchel remains the bookies’ favourite, available as low as 2/1 in some markets, to take over from Wenger at the end of the season.
The 44-year-old German is highly-rated after his work with Dortmund despite leaving the Bundesliga outfit last season in acrimonious circumstances.
Arsenal’s links with Dortmund have grown stronger in recent seasons with the German club’s former transfer guru Sven Mislintat’s appointment at the Emirates and the club-record purchase of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang this January.
Former Arsenal midfielder Patrick Vieira is a serious contender to replace his former boss
Celtic manager Rodgers is one surprise name being connected to the job. The former Liverpool manager has admitted being flattered by the links in the past and would relish a return to the Premier League.
Rodgers insisted he remained happy in Glasgow during in a pre-match press conference ahead of Celtic’s potential title-clincher at Hibernian: ‘There is still a lot of work for me to do, to achieve, on the pitch and off the pitch.
‘But you can only do that if you are happy and for me I couldn’t be happier at this club. The support I get from the board, it is all very aligned, very clear and that allows me to work in confidence.’
Celtic major shareholder Dermot Desmond admitted he would not stand in Rodgers’ way should he want to move south of the border.
‘I’m glad that he’s the favourite because he deserves to be the favourite. He’s an outstanding person and we wouldn’t like him to leave.
‘But we can’t force anybody to stay and hopefully his love for the club, and the setup there, will induce him to stay at Celtic.’
Asked if that meant he wouldn’t stop Rodgers’ speaking to the north London giants, he replied: ‘Absolutely.
‘I don’t think you can put handcuffs on anybody if they want to go to a club as good as Arsenal. But it’ll be Brendan’s decision and Brendan’s decision only.’
Germany boss Joachim Low is also high up in the running, and could relish linking up with Arsenal’s German contingent, which include national team players Mesut Ozil and Shkodran Mustafi, after this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Carlo Ancelotti is currently a free agent after leaving his role at Bayern Munich in September
Carlo Ancelotti, a three-time Champions League-winning manager, is a free agent after the 58-year-old left Bayern Munich earlier this campaign.
And Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is rated as low at 7/1 by some bookies. The Italian has indicated his desire to manage outside of Serie A and is also among the candidates to replace Antonio Conte at Chelsea.
Wenger announced his departure on Friday after growing pressure from sections of Arsenal supporters calling for him to step down.
Arsenal are currently languishing in sixth place in the Premier League following Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Newcastle.
Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri is looking for a job outside of Italy for his next position
Their only hope of Champions League qualification is through winning the Europa League – they face Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals with the first leg on Thursday.
Wenger told Arsenal’s official website: ‘After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season.
‘I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. I managed the club with full commitment and integrity.
‘I want to thank the staff, the players, the directors and the fans who make this club so special. I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club. My love and support for ever.’