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Arsene Wenger linked to take over at AC Milan in January

Former Arsenal manager has been out of work but that might change soon

Leaders Sport Awards 2018 Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images for Leaders

Various reports are out today indicating that former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is negotiations to become the next manager at AC Milan.

Former Arsenal executive Ivan Gazidis, who worked with Wenger for years in North London, is thought to be helping along a deal that would bring the legendary French manager to Italy.

Wenger spent 22 years at Arsenal in the English Premier League, leading them to three titles and three FA Cup victories, as well as almost two decades of qualification for the Champions League. He is considered a legend of the game, having changed football in England when he came to London to take over Arsenal, as well as bringing through numerous famous names at the club.

Elliott Management owner Paul Singer’s son, Gordon Singer, works in London as is a fan of Arsenal and was one of the key people in bringing in Gazidis to Milan, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that he could be one of the forces, along with Gazidis, to bring Wenger aboard.

This would be an interesting appointment to be sure. While Wenger leaving Arsenal was unthinkable a few years ago, he was basically forced out of the club last year after a few years of underachievement. Wenger had been criticized by Arsenal fans and pundits for not changing with the times and his almost maniacal micro-management of various aspects of the club.

If Wenger is to take over at Milan, it will be a change of pace for him, as he’s never worked at a club where a Director of Football (or General Manager) has a say in transfer targets and negotiations. Of course, with the issues of recruitment being a sticking point with some Arsenal fans with Wenger’s time at Arsenal, perhaps he will be freed up to just be a “coach” and not the only person in charge of everything at the club. That is, of course, if he’s content with that arrangement.

Of course, Milan currently have a manager and while Wenger has reportedly said that he’s not going to be managing anywhere until January, if this information keeps leaking about a possible replacement, it’s impossible to see Gennaro Gattuso sticking around while the bosses figure out his replacement. It also must be said that the Milan players seem to love playing for Gattuso and Milan are fourth in the table.

However, certain performances, including the Derby della Madonnina loss to Inter Milan and the abject failure against Real Betis at the San Siro had put Gattuso on the hot seat, and it has taken two stoppage time winners from the captain, defender Alessio Romagnoli, to pull out wins over Genoa and Udinese in the last two games to get Milan back into the Champions League qualification spots. Milan also has only had one clean sheet this entire season, yesterday’s victory at Udinese, despite playing a number of teams in poor form in the league.

It seems Wenger can get a team to the Champions League on a regular basis, and so perhaps that is what Elliott Management are focused on: a manager with a proven track record of getting results. It’s also worth noting that in the pre-Abramovich era of the Premier League, when the budgets of the football clubs in England weren’t so lopsided, that Wenger was an extremely effective manager, even leading his Arsenal team to an undefeated season. Milan don’t appear to be afraid of spending money, so could Wenger’s magic work once again?