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If Arsene Wenger Walks, Where Would The Professor Go Next?

Arsene Wenger has confirmed that he will not walk out on Arsenal this season, but his future at the club remains in the balance with his contract set to expire in the summer. The BBC has reported that the 67-year-old and the club will come to a mutual agreement in the summer, but Wenger has made it clear that regardless of what happens, he will still be coaching next year.

“No matter what happens, I will manage next season, whether it’s here or somewhere else. That’s absolutely for sure,” said Wenger ahead of Monday’s FA Cup game against Sutton United. “You do not stay somewhere for 20 years to then walk out after a defeat like that [against Bayern]. It is difficult to take, but I have the strength and experience to respond to that.”

With many claiming that majority shareholder Stan Kroenke is more than pleased with the stability (and income) that Wenger guarantees, it’s entirely possible that Wenger could continue. However, there’s no escaping the growing furor of supporters that want something, anything besides a Champions League round of 16 exit. 

If Wenger were to agree to exit this summer, where would he end up? At 67, he’s still got a few more years left — Alex Ferguson, by comparison, didn’t retire until the age of 71. Wenger has always professed his love for the time he spent with Nagoya Grampus in Japan as a young manager, so it’s entirely possible that he could go East, but here are five European clubs that could fit the bill (assuming he’d never manage another side in England).


#1. Barcelona

Luis Enrique is in his third season as manager of Barcelona, and he’s won eight trophies with the club. However, his contract is due to expire in the summer, and PSG’s hammering of Barca in the round of 16 might’ve signaled the end of his highly successful tenure. 

Barcelona, while aging, are still a squad that’s setup to win now — that’ll always be the case so long as Lionel Messi remains. The Barcelona way and Wenger’s personal philosophies align on a broad, commercial level. Although Wenger would be the first to tell you that the Catalan club stretch that credo in actuality.

Regardless, how nice would it be to be on the opposite side of the coin? (Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Aleksander Hleb, Thierry Henry, etc.) Welcome to Barcelona, Francis Coquelin.

#2. Atletico Madrid

It was revealed in September that Diego Simone had cut his contract with Atletico by two years last summer, ending now in June 2018. While Atletico sit a disappointing fourth in La Liga, seven points behind Real Madrid who have two games in hand, there’s no question that the players are still behind him.

Anyone who watched the brilliant semifinal between Atletico and Barcelona would not contest that. With a winnable UCL round of 16 match against Bayer Leverkusen looming, there’s still a chance at glory in the competition that has come so close to being his on two occasions. 

Like Wenger at Arsenal, Simeone is at the point where he gets to dictate his own terms with Atletico. With the club preparing to move into the Wanda Metropolitano next season and rumors surrounding the likes of Antoine Griezmann, could Simeone be tempted with new digs himself? Perhaps even Arsenal?

The change between Simeone and Wenger would be absolutely massive, but such shifts can be welcomed by players — just look at Bayern’s shift from Pep Guardiola to Carlo Ancelotti.

#3. Borussia Dortmund

Like the Atletico possibility, this move would almost certainly involve a straight swap of managers: Thomas Tuchel for Wenger. Tuchel has come under pressure this season with his side wildly inconsistent in the Bundesliga and suffering a disappointing defeat to Benfica in the Champions League.

This could be a move that’s beneficial to both parties. Tuchel has Borussia Dortmund playing some of the best football in Europe, and he has a fantastic collection of young talent at his disposal, but they’ve taken a step back this year.

His achievements in Germany make him suitable for Arsenal, and Wenger, a renowned developer of young talent, would fit the mold at Dortmund. Plus, he’d have the honor of managing Christian Pulisic. (Jokes, but not really)


#4. AC Milan

This would be a romantic one. Milan, seven-time European champions but without a major honor since their 2010-11 Serie A title, join forces with Wenger, the man whose own trophy-less streak was halted with two FA Cup triumphs.

Milan are currently seventh in Serie A, and Vincenzo Montella was only just hired in June, but perhaps with Wenger at the helm, AC Milan could once again attract some aging big names and they could destroy Juventus once and for all. I would watch this experiment, week in, week out.

#5. Lyon

Returning to France would seem the most natural fit for Wenger to see out his managerial days. However, with PSG pleased with Unai Emery, Monaco thriving under Leonardo Jardim and Nice playing well with Lucien Favre at the helm, it’s difficult to say where Wenger would fit in.

Lyon, seven-time Ligue 1 winners and occupying the beautiful, new Parc Olympique Lyonnais, would surely welcome Wenger and tell him to transform Memphis Depay into Cristiano Ronaldo. It's either that, or he becomes the first manager of Los Angeles Football Club.

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