Soon-to-be former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said this week that he plans to take a few weeks off after the season before finalizing his next move. The 68-year-old Frenchman has given no indication that his retirement is on the horizon, and he reportedly plans to continue his coaching career following the conclusion of his 22-year stint at Arsenal.
Paris St. Germain have been mentioned as a possible destination for Wenger. Despite cruising to a Ligue 1 title, PSG are expected to part ways with head coach Unai Emery following another disappointing early exit in Champions League.
The best UK sportsbooks give Wenger a slight chance of moving to Paris to be the new manager. As of this writing, Betfair lists PSG at 9/2 to be Wenger’s next destination.
While Wenger would make for a fine replacement for Emery, a former Arsenal player believes PSG would be best suited giving Wenger a role in the team’s front office. Emmanuel Petit, who played under Wenger for both Arsenal and Monaco, has said that he believes Wenger would be best suited to assume the role of the team’s general manager with another person assuming the role as coach.
In a recent interview, Petit told ESPN, “I can see him managing a whole club, not a director. PSG are very interested in him, they need a profile like Arsene’s. I can see him coming back at a big club. Arsene is a very honest guy; a very straight guy and I feel he can bring a lot to football again.”
Petit mentioned former Borussia Dortmund manager Thomas Tuchel as a potential successor to Emery. He added, “I think PSG are very interested in him — not as a manager on the pitch but the go-between with [Thomas] Tuchel [Unai Emery’s reported replacement] and the president [chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi].
“When you look at the players’ behaviour at PSG in the past few years, they need a strong person, with credibility who can be respected by the dressing room.”
Wenger and Petit won a Premier League title, an FA Cup, a Coupe de France and a pair of FA Community Shields during their time together.
PSG certainly have not confirmed that Emery is on his way out, but most people close to the club seem to believe that will indeed be the case. The Parisians’ chances of European glory were essentially thwarted completely by Neymar’s unfortunate season-ending injury, but given the team’s deep pockets, it figures to be one of the more sought-after jobs in Europe if it opens.
Wenger will be linked with the coaching job, but there is no shortage of other potential candidates out there. Tuchel, Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique have each been mentioned as a possibility.
His time with Arsenal is dwindling, but Wenger still has a chance to do something he’s never done with the club before: win a European title. Arsenal have been a Champions League mainstay under Wenger, but the Gunners have never won Europe’s most prestigious tournament. Winning the Europa League certainly pales in comparison to the glory of Champions League but going out on a European title would be a nice send-off for Arsenal’s best-ever manager.