Yes way, Jose: Why Gunners need Mourinho blueprint post-Wenger
22 YEARS after appointing a relatively unknown Arsene Wenger, Arsenal are primed to bid farewell to a manager who has become synonymous with their club.
The Gunners face a tough task in replacing the Frenchman and need to avoid the potentially disastrous consequences of an uncertainty two decades in the making.
Is there really anyone in world football capable of replacing Wenger?
And how do they go about circumventing a catastrophic David Moyes-style debacle akin to the one that cost Manchester United so dearly after the departure of their own elder statesman in Sir Alex Ferguson?
The Gunners really can't afford a similar slide - United were on top when Fergie made his exit, whereas Wenger leaves the North Londoners precariously placed as the sixth best team in the land.
After 27 years of extraordinary dominance under Ferguson, an era that yielded 38 trophies and revived a sleeping giant of English football had ended.
"Your job now is to stand by our new manager," Fergie proclaimed as his adoring subjects hung on his every word for the last time - but it soon became apparent that his successor, David Moyes, wasn't the uniting figure the club had hoped.
Moyes has claimed he wasn't given the time to succeed, but as United attempt to restore the swagger and confidence lost during his tenure, it appears his appointment may have been doomed from the start.
"There has to be an element of fear that comes with managing a club like Manchester United," Moyes said, in Sydney of all places during a pre-season tour in 2013, as he accidentally alluded to the factor that essentially led to his failure to adequately succeed an unmatched behemoth of football management.
Five years down the trac
k, Jose Mourinho has somewhat resurrected United to the trophy-driven juggernaut the club pride themselves as being.
But as he gradually returns United t
o the footballing vanguard, one can't help but wonder if the Special One would have found success at the club had he directly succeeded Fergie.
In the Portuguese tactician, Manchester United have found a manager who shares their ultimate goal - winning trophies, consistently remaining at the pinnacle of the sport and remaining unwavering in their belief that they are the biggest club in England, if not the world.
Sir Alex Ferguson
is the only man in history to manage more wins in the Premier League than Wenger, and his retirement at Manchester United stands as the only precedent with regards to Arsenal's situation in the wake of Wenger's looming departure.
While Wenger's aura in North London has been diminished by his heavily criticized recent underachievement and unwillingness to step aside, but the culture and success instilled at the club by the Frenchman is not something that should be quickly forgotten.
Wenger changed the way footballers eat, he bred the invincibles, and turned Arsenal into a global business with an earning power matched only by the Red Devils.
The club are now synonymous with the 68-year-old and his successor will have the unenviable task of continuing his legacy of longevity, success and widely admired ethos.
Wenger's free flowing style of football has led the Gunners to a reputation for beautiful displays on the park, while his shrewd and calculated approach to personnel has unearthed a range of stars across his tenure.
Will the club appoint an heir with the intention of continuing his legacy? Or are Arsenal in need of a complete overhaul?
A range of candidates have sprung up for the position.
Ex-players in the form of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry, modern super coaches like Massimiliano Allegri, Joachim Low, Luis Enrique and Carlo Ancelotti as the club's board attempt to identify the best suited successor.
When Wenger was appointed, the little known coach was plying his trade in Japan and didn't possess a history at a major club - can we expect a similar gamble this time around?
Vieira is perhaps the most similarly equipped and reputed option, having impressed during his time at Manchester City and most recently as head coach at New York City in the MLS, taking the club from deep in the table all the way to its summit.
It's a tempting opportunity for the Gunners, especially considering his history at the club, however before pursuing such a risky venture, they should consider the lessons that emerge from the steady string of failures who occupied the managers role at Old Trafford following Fergie's exit.
Moyes and his replacement Louis Van Gaal were unsuccessful in their attempts to continue Ferguson's work - but there is one Mourinho quality that has helped him begin to restore the aura of Ferguson's United.
He's a serial winner.
Arsenal, like Manchester United, pride themselves on success - and an ability to achieve results will ultimately be the barometer for Wenger's replacement.
As such, the club would be wise to appoint a boss with a track record for prolonged accomplishment at the highest level of football.
There aren't many managers of the stature of Mourinho circulating in world football, let alone individuals who are readily available.
Allegri is a name steadily linked, and his incredible record of back to back to back Serie A titles with Juventus as well as a previous title success with AC Milan, suggest he possesses the penchant for winning that the Gunners should target.
Ancelotti is another who has been a serial victor in Europe - league titles in Italy, England and Germany as well as a haul of three Champions League trophies suggests the Italian represents a strong option.
It's impossible to predict the level of success either would bring, but the underlying crux of the failed Moyes experiment is that an established manager with a readymade big-club tailored philosophy is the way to go.
Regardless of who is singled out as the heir to the Arsenal throne, the Gunners should do themselves a favour and think deeply about the lessons that present themselves from Manchester United's post-Ferguson identity crisis.
Their decision has the ability to propel the club into a new era, or reverse years of Wenger hard work.