Football Expert & Columnist
Arsene Wenger's Arsenal exit and what the club need next - Jamie Redknapp's view
Last Updated: 22/04/18 9:53am
With Arsene Wenger on his way out of Arsenal, Jamie Redknapp considers what the club need next - and why it's a fantastic opportunity for someone…
Respect but don't feel sorry for Wenger
Everyone has a lot of respect for Arsene Wenger but you can't feel sorry for him. I feel sorry for managers who get a year, get sacked and don't get another chance to manage. Wenger has had a brilliant run at it but everything comes to an end.
I feel the way football has gone, it's now about trying to achieve four or five years of success then you leave. But to have 22 years at it…
It's time for change
The way they've been performing away from home is quite damning really. To have no points away from home in 2018 tells you it is a team with no character and no will. That comes from the manager, it's him who sets the tempo with those kind of things. I think the players are bored of listening to him now. It's no disrespect, it's just the way football is. It's too comfortable to be there now, no one feels under pressure. Maybe a new manager coming in will freshen it up.
This isn't the same challenge as succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson
I know people will say, look at what happened at Manchester United when Ferguson left, but this is completely different. You can't even put the two of them in the same category. You're not following a manager that has won the Premier League time and time again. Wenger has won three FA Cups recently but you're not following a man who has been dominating the Premier League for the last 15 years.
Whoever takes this job shouldn't fear it. It's a great opportunity. It's not a poisoned chalice this one. This is one of the best-run clubs, has vast amounts of money in the bank and everything is in its favour.
Wenger shouldn't have a say in who follows him
Manchester United let Ferguson get involved in who should be his successor when they appointed David Moyes but I don't think it should be anything to do with Arsene Wenger who comes in next. There should be someone there in the boardroom making the decision for the benefit of the club. Wenger may have been a great manager but it doesn't mean he'll be great at picking the next manager. They have to look at it carefully.
The problem Arsenal have had is that by waiting this past four or five years, they've missed out on some great managers - Pep Guardiola, Jurgen Klopp who would have been a perfect fit for Arsenal. So the stalling and waiting and letting Wenger decide when he wants to go, I don't think anyone should have that right. Football's not like that now, the landscape has changed dramatically.
It would be good if the next manager has a strong Arsenal connection
It would be good if they appointed someone that knows the club, loves the club and has won things at the club. Patrick Vieira has been mentioned and Thierry Henry, who knows the game inside out, would be fantastic. Obviously, he has his job with Belgium but his love for the club, his knowledge of the game is incredible. I think he'd be a great choice.
There's talk about Thomas Tuchel and I don't know whether they'll go for another foreign manager. Brendan Rodgers has done a great job and maybe people think he deserves another shot at a top job, a top six club. It's an unbelievable opportunity, one of the best clubs in the world, the infrastructure is there, the finances. I think it's a great club.
They may not be world beaters but there's potential in this squad
I look at that squad and although I don't think it's a great squad, I think they've just lost their way and direction and someone new will come in and give them the shot in the arm they need.
As for Wenger, he could take another club job - but shouldn't be Arsenal director of football
Whether Wenger stays as a director of football or similar, that's up to the club. But he strikes me as someone who has had a lot of control over that football club for a long, long time and it feels like it needs a change. It's a giant football club that needs someone fresh to come in.
Maybe the best thing that could happen is Wenger decides to go and manage another club, perhaps go to PSG in the summer or somewhere like that. He will get great opportunities and he might feel he still has something to offer football. I'm sure he has. But he hasn't got anything to offer Arsenal anymore.
It would be great for the club to sign off with a Europa League win…
Winning the Europa League would be a good end to the season - but for Arsenal Football Club, not Arsene Wenger. No one is bigger than a football club and if Arsenal do it it will be a perfect send off, but it will also be perfect for the fans who have had to suffer for the last few years and not seen the football they want.
It's going to be an emotional time but he's had a great run at it and he should be thankful for the opportunity and the time he was given. A lot of other managers wouldn't have been given that amount of time.
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