#WengerOut was one of the highest trending topics on Twitter on Tuesday night. Arsenal had just succumbed to a miserable penalty shootout defeat at the hands of League Two Bradford City, despite Gunners boss Arsene Wenger fielding a strong team consisting of the likes of Thomas Vermaelen, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere.
Head of the queue to see the Frenchman given the boot was the continuous “voice of reason” Piers Morgan, with the tubby CNN presenter even calling for the North London giants to bring in Pep Guardiola as his replacement - oh how we all had a good chuckle at that.
The chances of the Spaniard taking over, what appears to be, a sinking Arsenal ship are slim-to-none at best, no matter how good a friends Wenger and Guardiola are, or so we’re led to believe by a highly regarded radio broadcaster.
However, it’s slowly becoming evident that the 63-year-old’s position at the Emirates Stadium is becoming untenable. Former midfielder Stewart Robson on Wednesday suggested that the Frenchman is “a dictator” who should’ve been removed from his posts years ago.
To add insult to injury, reports now indicate that his coaching staff aren’t given the opportunity to really work with the team, leading the speculation that all is not quite as well as it appears at the Emirates Stadium.
The club are currently 7th in the Premiership and despite securing qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League, the fans remain unhappy with the direction the club is going. Wenger’s comments that he takes Europe’s elite competition more seriously than the FA and Capital One Cup are likely to have swayed those that have been calling for his head from some time.
Nevertheless, to sack him now would be detrimental to the club. At present, there is nobody of real quality that will take over the reins at Arsenal, should the Frenchman be relieved of his duty. Waiting until the end of the current campaign before reassessing their options would be a wiser decision to make.
Even then, discussion is rife as to who would succeed the veteran boss. Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp have all been mentioned, but would all three be willing to take over the London club? I very much doubt it.
Arsenal need to aim lower than some fans expectations, regardless of their prestige. The likes of Manuel Pellegrini, Frank de Boer and Vincenzo Montella have all been mooted, but there is only one man who can restore the previous playing style that the Gunners became synopsis with - Marcelo Bielsa.
The Argentine shot to real prominence during the 2010 World Cup with Chile, despite his six year stint in charge of the Argentina national team. The free-flowing attacking football he had La Roja playing during the international tournament in South Africa won the 57-year-old many a plaudit.
The performances of the South American nation ensured that he had a role lined up after walking away from the national job back in 2011. Athletic Bilbao took him on and despite the form often stuttering, the Basque outfit won themselves plenty of admirers for their approach to the game.
In the Europa League in particular, Athletic suddenly became everyone’s second team, especially following their performance over Manchester United, a two-legged affair which saw the Premier League giants dumped out of the competition at the last 16 stage.
Los Leones battled their way to the final of the tournament last season, before succumbing to defeat at the hands of Primera Division rivals Atletico Madrid in Bucharest. Two weeks later, Athletic fell foul to the power of Barcelona in the Copa Del Rey final, but it hadn’t stopped the club winning over an allegiance of fans.
The Basque outfit had been expected to push on, but the sale of Javi Martinez to Bayern Munich really undermined the position the club had dragged themselves into. Furthermore, the ongoing doubts surrounding the future of star striker Fernando Llorente didn’t help, before culminating in a heated exchange between Bielsa and ‘The Lion King’, with the powerful striker set to depart the San Mamés at the end of the campaign.
Athletic have certainly suffered as a result, with Los Leones currently 14th in La Liga, while suffering a shock Copa Del Rey exit at the hands of Segunda Division B side SD Eibar on Wednesday night. Nevertheless, Bielsa is still highly regarded within the managerial realm.
Yet, his position at the San Mamés, much like Wenger’s at the Emirates, is coming under more and more scrutiny. The performances have certainly dropped at each team, as evident by the position in the respective leagues.
However, if Gunners fans are keen to see the free flowing football that they became associated with back in the day, the manager needed to reignite the creative flame is Bielsa. His position with Athletic may be under threat, leading to speculation that a move for the Argentine could well be possible, while the manager himself even came close to leaving the club earlier this season.
The 57-year-old is likely to be keen on plying his trade in England, further testing his managerial capabilities and regardless of Athletic’s perilous position in Spain, a manager dubbed one of the best by Guardiola is certainly one that would be welcome at any club in world football.
It’s vital, however, that Arsenal don’t rid Wenger of his position, not yet anyway. But if the Gunners wait until May to oust the Frenchman from his role, the man dubbed El Loco would the finest appointment the North London giants could make.