Following a 22-year spell with Arsenal, 69-year-old Arsene Wenger left the Emirates Stadium for pastures new whilst insisting he hadn’t retired from football management just yet. During that same summer, two high-profile managerial vacancies arose – Real Madrid and PSG – and the man at the centre of the speculation was the available Arsene Wenger.
However, this was too soon for the Frenchman. He wanted to enjoy his time away from the game – relax, spend time with his family and visit his native country. Fast-forward a few relaxing months, and another giant looks set to axe their manager and the man they should consider – and possibly are – is the available Arsene Wenger.
Bayern Munich are struggling this season. Niko Kovac has failed to deliver on the potential surrounding his appointment, and the Bavarians find themselves languishing in fifth position in the Bundesliga table – nine points adrift of leaders Borussia Dortmund.
Recently, the German champions have made a habit of persuading former boss Jupp Heynckes to jump back in the dugout to rescue them if the team was underperforming and surprisingly, it has tended to work. Following his treble winning season in 2012/13, Heynckes, in his third spell in charge, retired and was replaced by a man who was to build on his legacy – Pep Guardiola.
Following the illustrious ‘Guardiola era’ at the German club, Carlo Ancelotti was appointed successor but after a disastrous start to the campaign, the Italian was sacked and 72-year-old Heynckes was persuaded to postpone retirement once more to rescue the club in his fourth spell.
The likelihood of Heynckes being persuaded once more to bail out the Bavarians is extremely unlikely but a man of similar experience, success and stature is more likely to be coaxed into the Allianz Arena. Arsene Wenger will be the perfect solution to halt the Bayern woes.
Kovac does not have the experience and reputation to earn the respect of the Bayern stars – as shown by the reports of James Rodriguez reportedly telling him ‘We are not in Frankfurt here’ after a poor performance in October.
The German side’s dressing room is littered with talent and egos that the 47-year-old boss has struggled to control. Wenger’s status in the football world would put these issues to bed. Hands-on Wenger can manage the likes of James Rodriguez, Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller and earn the respect of the whole of the Bayern squad.
There have been few high-profile managers who have shown the same commitment of initiating youngsters into the first team as Wenger – Cesc Fabregas, Ashley Cole, Hector Bellerin and Alex Iwobi to name just a few. The Frenchman would relish working with the likes of Alphonso Davies, Renato Sanches and Serge Gnabry.
Wenger could well be looking at Bayern too – looking to heal the mental scars of so many near misses in the Champions League with Arsenal. The German champions currently operate a 4-2-3-1 system, which is familiar to the Frenchman.
James would therefore take on a Mesut Ozil-style No.10 role which he flourishes in, pushing Muller and Serge Gnabry out to the flanks. Wenger will allow his attacking midfielders footballing freedom to switch roles in support of Robert Lewandowski up top.
It is potentially a marriage made in football heaven. However, Bayern’s 5-1 win over Benfica on Tuesday has given Kovac some time but, despite repeatedly backing the Croatian, Hoeness is still believed to be considering wielding the axe – with Wenger tipped for a return to football management.