22 years. The sheer incredible amount of time Arsene Wenger spent as manager of Arsenal.
The Frenchman departed from the Emirates last summer, and after insisting that he would make his return to management immediately, finds himself still without a club a season later. But, with Sheikh Khaled supposedly edging ever closer to completing his takeover, Rafa Benitez’s future on Tyneside is up in the air, with both Wenger and Jose Mourinho in the frame for the job.
And if the worst comes to worst and Benitez does make an exit from St James’ Park, then Le Professeur should be the man the Magpies turn to.
Wenger may not have enjoyed the greatest of final few seasons in charge of Arsenal, but his philosophy of playing attacking football would be a welcome arrival at St James’ Park. The Frenchman would get the best out of players like Miguel Almiron, whilst someone like Jonjo Shelvey could find himself back in the first-team reckoning too.
His decades of experience would be huge and the level of respect he would command from both the players and the fans would see him be a fine successor to a cult hero like Benitez.
Indeed, perhaps one of the biggest advantages of bringing in Wenger would be his effect in the transfer market, and the calibre of players the club could potentially be in for.
The Frenchman’s name carries a lot of weight around the world, and rightly so as a Premier League legend, and that could be incredibly influential in cases where our potential transfer targets may think twice about joining us. The draw of Wenger could see us compete for bigger and better players, who would see Newcastle as a club that is going places.
Whilst Mourinho would be an intriguing option, his career history of having strained relationships with the fans would just be a complete disaster, and a complete 360 to how things are with Benitez right now. The Portuguese man’s ego would probably see him rip the heart and soul out of the team just for the sake of doing things his way, and steering the side as far away as possible from his old Spanish rival. We’ve had enough managerial chaos over the years to last a lifetime, and a rollercoaster era of Mourinho would be a step in the wrong direction.
Even at 69, Wenger has shown no signs of packing up his love for the game. The fashion nowadays is of getting these younger, fresher managers with that ‘high-pressing’ style of play. But don’t look past Wenger simply because of that.
After all, Sir Bobby Robson was in his late 60s too when he was in charge of the Magpies, and he became one of our best. So whilst keeping Benitez would be the ideal scenario, opting for Wenger as his potential replacement could see the ‘old man’ lead us into the new era.