Is Bournemouth's Eddie Howe the right man to succeed Arsene Wenger at Arsenal?
As Arsene Wenger enters what could be the final year of his contract, the prospect of who will replace the man has once again reached full discussion. In recent weeks Eddie Howe has been mentioned, the Bournemouth manager who has cemented his team as a Premier League regular with a philosophy of attacking football. With all the big-name managers in Europe, it would be such an Arsenal move to go for a man who while not mentioned in the same breath as a Jose Mourinho, goes under the radar, quietly building a team attuned to his way of thinking.
If Eddie Howe was to join Arsenal next season, it could be in a situation where he leaves Bournemouth as a mid-table, stable Premier League team. This is a remarkable rise to where the Cherries once were, and in doing so, Howe has stayed true to building a team that plays attacking and exciting football with the resources at his disposal. He would be moving to an Arsenal team already full of players ready to play his way, and carry his philosophy forward.
When Sir Alex Ferguson retired, Manchester United fell through a period of uncertainty. An accumulation of changes at the top, followed by experienced players leaving and managers arriving with different ideas and philosophies, led the club in all sorts of trouble. While Arsenal fans would no-doubt be excited by the prospect of a big-name manager coming in, the idea of a younger man with the same qualities as Wenger may appeal to the people in charge of the club.
If stability and keeping the club moving in the right direction is what the club is looking for, and rightly so, then Eddie Howe is an option that surely requires serious consideration. He has proven he can compete, and with the signing of Jack Wilshere this season, demonstrated he has the trust of Arsenal and can attract big-name players, without spending lots of money.
When Arsene Wenger became Arsenal manager, he was a relative unknown. Moving from Japan, plenty of people asked questions about his appointment. Eddie Howe might not be an unknown, but he is in that category – not a big-name, young, determined and willing to try new ideas. It would be as Arsenal as it gets to bring someone like him to the club.
Arsenal could carry on, especially if Wenger becomes a director at the club, building as they are now. But they have to be careful. With the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea often looking like clubs with more pulling power and better winning mentalities, Arsenal have to make sure any change of manager makes them better, not worse, or even the same. There would be no point getting rid of Wenger, unless of course he feels it’s time to go, if the switch to a new manager doesn’t improve the club. While Howe represents a similar version to Wenger, he would have to bring with him new ideas, and a new concept to improve the club, as well as the stability.
It is important that Arsenal keep to their philosophies and stay stable in order to keep the club at the top, but at the same time, the fans want to win games of football. If it is to be Howe, rather than a big-name, then Howe needs to bring about ways to get the club higher than what Wenger is achieving at the moment – or else what’s the point? The board might worry about too many changes in style, or staff, or Champions League earnings, but at the end of the day, all the fans want to see is Per Mertesacker lifting trophies – whoever has the job.
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