A next Arsenal manager is needed after Unai Emery was sacked from the Emirates Stadium following a slump.
Pundits were queuing up to spout cliches. Emery has “lost the players” and “taken the team as far as he can”.
What’s clear is the Spaniard found himself under mounting pressure and the board felt it had to act. Arsenal supporters weren’t onside with the club going forward under Emery.
They haven’t got back in the top four and on current evidence don’t look like bringing Champions League football back to the Emirates Stadium.
Following iconic Gunners boss Arsene Wenger was always going to be tough. Emery deserves credit for taking the job of stepping into those rather large shoes on.
He’s not the only manager under pressure at the time of writing, but got some big calls wrong. One major example of an Emery error is the disastrous appointment of Granit Xhaka as Arsenal captain.
The Gunners lack leaders in their squad which isn’t helping the coach’s cause. With Emery gone, who is in line to be next Arsenal manager?
Nuno in frame with Emery thrown to Wolves
Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Nuno Espirito Santo is the clear early favourite with bookmakers for the job. This is because the Gunners have identified him as a potential leading candidate.
Nuno spent much of his playing career as a reserve goalkeeper, but has coached Valencia and Porto before coming to Molineux.
He has taken Wolves on a journey from the Championship to seventh place in the Premier League last season. That rapid progress brought Europa League football for this term with it.
Nuno’s stock could hardly be any higher with Wolves into the knockout phase of that continental competition.
Despite having a much smaller squad than Arsenal, they are also a point and three places above them in the Premier League table after 13 games.
That may be part of the reason why Gunners chiefs are looking at Nuno. Wolves could refuse them permission of course.
Nuno was born on the African island of Sao Tome – a former Portuguese colony – and played under Jose Mourinho at Porto.
Although he refused to speak about reports linking him with being next Arsenal manager, Nuno didn’t exactly rule it out either.
With Wolves, he has gone with a three central defenders and wingbacks setup – something Emery has tried with mixed results.
Arteta and Ljungberg obvious next Arsenal manager contenders
Manchester City assistant coach Mikel Arteta is being linked with not one but two potential Premier League vacancies if he fancies striking out on his own in management.
Another old club in Everton could soon be looking for a new boss if Marco Silva can’t turn things around at Goodison Park.
Arteta also captained Arsenal to FA Cup success, so is fondly remembered on both Merseyside where he was twice the Toffees’ player of the year and in North London.
Being among Pep Guardiola’s backroom staff is probably quite a cushy number. Arteta has the relative luxury of picking and choosing whether either opportunity appeals to him or if he wants to remain learning at the feet of his fellow Spaniard.
As Guardiola’s assistant for more than three years, he’s been in a hugely successful setup – particularly last season.
Man City swept all three major domestic trophies into their cabinet with an unprecedented treble.
That is the kind of success and winning mentality that the Gunners need badly. Complete managerial novice Arteta isn’t the only ex-player being linked with the Emirates hotseat either…
Fredrik Ljungberg was part of an even more illustrious Arsenal side – the Invincibles – and is now in interim charge.
The Swede’s playing career always seemed to have a pesky injury lurking around the corner, but he won three FA Cups and two Premier League titles.
As Emery’s assistant and previously academy coach, Ljungberg is an option if the Gunners want to promote from within. Like Arteta, he has no first-team managerial experience.
Pochettino presence and availability can’t be ignored
Boy, would this upset some Spurs supporters. The sacking of Mauricio Pochettino by Arsenal’s North London neighbours and replacing him with Jose Mourinho divided opinion.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy was ruthless enough to dispense with the Argentine after five-and-a-half years in charge and plenty long enough to run on his contract.
Should Pochettino want to really sock it to his old chief, then taking the Gunners on would be the way to do it.
Now Emery has been sacked, it may come a little too soon in this particular case. Pochettino may want to take a break from the dugout, but a swift return to coaching can always be tempting.
Plaudits have come his way without any tangible trophies to support them. Pochettino got Spurs back into the top four – a step that would be progress for Arsenal – and reached the Champions League final.
Close but no cigar is what Gunners fans are accustomed to, and they’re not happy about that. As a former Tottenham boss, appointing Pochettino would split opinion.
There is no denying his Premier League credentials, though. In a previous role at Southampton, he helped develop and then sell talented, young players.
Spurs made real strides under Pochettino and he even somehow maintained them in the top four despite not spending any money on transfer fees last season. You can’t completely rule him out from being next Arsenal manager.
Allegri and Vieira outsider for next Arsenal manager
Former Juventus and AC Milan boss Max Allegri, as we often say in these articles, gets linked with high-profile jobs while he is out of work.
The Italian maintained the Old Lady as the dominant force in Serie A. There’s nothing particularly new to say about Allegri.
Keeping Juve on that lofty perch can’t have been easy at times and again installing a winning mentality is much needed at the Gunners.
Allegri chose Turin at a great time when predecessor Antonio Conte had laid foundations which he could build upon.
Whether being next Arsenal manager is as attractive now as Juventus was then is up for debate.
Ex-Gunners captain Patrick Vieira is another betting outsider that will always be linked with this role.
He’s coaching Ligue 1 outfit Nice in French football, but they’re not exactly flourishing. Great players aren’t always able to make managerial careers that match.
Vieira led Arsenal’s Invincibles on the pitch and would obviously be a popular appointment. How likely we are to see that is another matter.
There isn’t a wealth of experienced or proven coaches available to the Gunners this winter. Unless something comes out of left field, the next Arsenal manager shortlist is probably going to be a small one.