Arsenal will be facing some difficult questions this summer as they need to start planning for the future for life after Arsene Wenger.
The French tactician’s contract with the club expires at the end of next season, and with no real successor being moulded from within in preparation to immediately step in, the Gunners will have to look outside of the club for their next appointment.
It’s absolutely crucial that they get the right man as it has been well-documented how Manchester United are a warning to them in terms of how difficult it can be to replace a long-standing manager.
In order to keep Arsenal competitive, and take them forward, the club need to appoint a manager that won’t look to change the style of play and culture that Wenger has instilled since his arrival in north London in 1996.
Having now been in charge at Southampton for two years, Ronald Koeman has displayed his tactical nous and personal philosophies that essentially make his a prime candidate to take over at Arsenal.
The Dutchman will not arrive at the club to rip up the manual, lead a rebuild and start an entirely new path for the club. Instead, he would work on the foundations put in place by his predecessor but of course add his own interpretations and improve Arsenal as a whole.
With his own contract coming to an end after next season, it appears as though it could be perfect timing for both parties, with Koeman showing some initial signs of frustration with the Saints unable to perhaps match his ambitions.
“Of course everybody knows what we would like to do. We would like to grow and to improve. Of course we would like to fight to win titles or fight for European football on a regular basis,” he told reporters, as noted by The Guardian.
“It is important to know what we can do to be stronger because in my opinion that’s ambition. If you don’t have that ambition you start to be sloppy and that is not what I like to be.
“It is possible [to sign a contract next week] but that is always depending on the conversation.”
Arsenal fans may wish to see a ‘bigger name’ appointed as their next coach, with individuals such as Diego Simeone or Laurent Blanc realistically available next summer.
However, that would involve a departure from their current ideals and a risky move that can lead to instability and a struggle to initially continue to compete for a top-four finish which in turn can spiral into years of woes.
With all due respect to Southampton, Koeman’s aspirations as a manager could outgrow them sooner rather than later. For a man that won almost everything as a player, he needs a club that matches his ambition and that could very well be Arsenal.
Follow Sumeet Paul on Twitter @SP_Calcio