Football

Klopp the ideal man to replace Wenger

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Klopp is on his way to a second Bundesliga title. (©GettyImages)
Klopp is on his way to a second Bundesliga title. (©GettyImages).

Arsene Wenger gave a wry smile when he was named as the Premier League manager of the month for February, having endured his most testing time with the club over the few weeks previous.

The 16-year reign of the Frenchman reached its nadir with a 4-0 humbling at the hands of AC Milan in February, and serious doubts were raised about the longevity of his position with the club.

However, faith in Wenger has been rightly restored following an ultimately futile defeat of Milan in the return leg and six successive victories in the Premier League.

This recent form will have assured fans that Wenger is still the right person to lead the club in the short-term, but does not disguise the fact that plans should be made to identify his eventual successor.

When it comes to Manchester United, the ideal replacement for Sir Alex Ferguson would surely be Jose Mourinho, but it would appear to be a less straightforward task in pinpointing the next manager of Arsenal.

There is still no clear indication as to when Wenger will leave his post, but the 62-year-old will surely play a key role in the recruitment of his eventual replacement.

An internal appointment would appear to be a possibility - Academy coach Steve Bould is very highly regarded at the Emirates Stadium - but a manager with a track record of success and, perhaps more importantly, who adheres Wenger's principles is likely to be favoured.

Pep Guardiola would undoubtedly be a dream appointment for Arsenal supporters, but one suspects the Gunners hierarchy would have some difficulty prising him away from the Nou Camp or, perhaps more likely, he will be on sabbatical by the time Wenger ends his time with Arsenal.

Wenger is also keen on former charge Dragan Stojković, but the ideal man to replace the former would surely be Borussia Dortumund manager Jurgen Klopp.

The 44-year-old fulfils all the criteria to continue the legacy laid by Wenger, and transformed Dortmund from Bundesliga also rans to the most formidable force in German football in less than three years.

Dortmund lifted their first league title in almost a decade last season - finishing seven points clear of second placed Bayer Leverkusen - and are in a position to retain their crown ahead of a Bayern Munich side laden with stars.

Not only have BVB dominated German football over the past two campaigns, but they have done so based around the principles of ball retention and counter-attacking with devastating pace.

It is a style that has drawn comparisons to that adopted by Arsenal, and Klopp has also been praised for his willingness to trust in the club's academy rather than pay exorbitant fees to reinforce his squad.

The emergence of Mario Gotze has been a key factor in Dortmund's ascension to the Bundesliga throne, and it is the belief in him shown by Klopp that has allowed him to thrive at the Westfalenstadion.

Klopp's talents are not going unnoticed in England, and the way in which he has nurtured a young side appeals to Roman Abramovich as he attempts to herald in a new era at Chelsea.

The German has, though, outlined his commitment to Dortmund and remains contracted to the club until the summer of 2016.

Detractors will question Klopp's credentials on the continent, and Dortmund hardly covered themselves in glory in the Champions League this term.

But Klopp will he hardened after the experiences of this season - as will his players - and another campaign alongside Europe's elite will only enhance his credentials.

Wenger was Arsenal manager for almost five years before he took his side into the Champions League last eight for the first time, and Klopp will be a sage operator in the competition by the time the former relinquishes his position.

It is difficult to comprehend Wenger and Arsenal being apart, and his success with the club over a sustained period of time is likely to remain unrivalled, but the former is an impending reality.

One suspects there will be scores of names linked with the eventually vacant Gunners position, and Wenger's exit is likely to prompt an unprecedented number of applications.

Whether or not Klopp will be one of those to send his ever improving CV to the Emirates Stadium remains to be seen, but there is no better candidate for the position than the Dortmund tactician.

Topics:
Arsenal
Football
Premier League
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