Carlo Ancelotti in line to succeed Arsenal boss Arsene WengerEXCLUSIVE: Former Chelsea boss is serious candidate for job if Frenchman quits in summer
Arsenal are preparing for the possibility of Arsene Wenger leaving this summer and consider Carlo Ancelotti a serious candidate to replace him.
Wenger overcame pressure from a section of fans to agree a two-year deal at the end of last season but his position will be reviewed in May. No final decision has yet been taken, with plenty depending on Arsenal’s fortunes during the second half of the campaign, so Wenger could stay on until 2019. However, Standard Sport understands senior figures at the club believe the 68-year-old’s time in charge may end earlier and there is a sense behind the scenes he could give serious consideration to cutting short his contract.
Arsenal have been restructuring the club around Wenger with a view to avoiding the painful transition Manchester United endured following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement in 2013.
The idea is to reduce the dependency on the manager, thereby providing an additional degree of stability and continuity no matter who replaces Wenger when he does depart. It is believed the club are therefore more relaxed over Wenger’s future than in previous years and see Ancelotti as having sufficient gravitas and experience to steer the club forward. He also has extensive experience working as a head coach in this more continental structure, having done so at Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, AC Milan and Paris St Germain.
Arsenal fans may have expected more visible alterations to the set-up at the club when chief executive Ivan Gazidis claimed last season’s nadir in form and morale was a “catalyst for change” but several backroom staff alterations have been made to ensure an infrastructure exists that is not solely dependent on the manager.
Wenger continues to have the final say on transfers but Sven Mislintat has replaced the Frenchman’s long-time acolyte, Steve Rowley, to head up recruitment, while Raul Sanllehi will join the club from Barcelona as head of football relations on February 1.
Wenger had to acquiesce to the changes as part of the agreement to stay on but the appointments have led to tensions over the precise roles each member has.
Gazidis has acknowledged how dependent the Arsenal hierarchy are on Wenger’s football expertise and sought to bring in fresh voices to help with areas such as player contracts and medical operations. Ancelotti is moving back to London with his family next month after leaving Germany following his sacking at Bayern in September. The 58-year-old spent two seasons in charge of Chelsea and it is believed that the Blues would be interested in re-hiring Ancelotti should Antonio Conte depart at the end of the season.
Speculation persists that Conte is unhappy at Chelsea, although the club deny he is set to quit.
Ancelotti won the Double at Chelsea in 2010 but was sacked within an hour of completing their final League game of the 2010-11 season after finishing second and without a trophy.
The Italian maintained his dignified persona and relations with Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich are sufficiently cordial for a return to be possible.
Arsenal are also impressed with Mikel Arteta’s coaching career at Manchester City, although the former Arsenal player has no management experience. Gazidis also admires Massimiliano Allegri, who signed a contract at Juventus in June tying him down to the Serie A giants until 2020. https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/carlo-ancelotti-in-line-to-succeed-arsenal-boss-arsene-wenger-a3736521.html