By 90Min
March 14, 2018

Arsenal fans are increasingly clamouring for Arsene Wenger to step down as manager by the end of this season. But after close to 22 full years in the job, the veteran Frenchman leaving is only half the battle as the Gunners need to identify the perfect replacement.

Arsenal officials will only be too aware of the problems that plagued Manchester United when Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 - his successor lasted just 10 months before being sacked.

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So while supporters are desperate for a change to return the club to the top of the Premier League and seriously challenge for major honours on multiple fronts, this is very delicate territory. The wrong appointment could set Arsenal back even further.

Research into managerial success from Bwin, where success is defined as 'performances meeting or exceeding expectation for the majority of the manager's reign', has whittled down the list of potential Wenger replacements to one seemingly perfect candidate: Luis Enrique.

(You may also be interested in 'Under Fire Arsenal Boss Arsene Wenger Admits He's 'Worried' About Recent Fan 'Negativity'')

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Eddie Howe and Brendan Rodgers have both been ruled out because prior Premier League experience might actually be overrated, given that 52% of new coaches who have never worked in the Premier League have outperformed their predecessors - that will include the likes Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti when they first arrived at Chelsea in 2004 and 2009 respectively.

Europeans have typically fared better than non-Europeans in the Premier League, ruling out Argentine coach Diego Simeone, a preferred option for many Gunners fans.

Age is also an important factor. Only 17% of Premier League managers still in their 30s are deemed to have been 'successful'. Former Arsenal captain Mikel Arteta, 35, and current Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann, 30, have both been talked about.

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Similarly, anyone over 50 might actually be too old, that means Carlo Ancelotti, Joachim Low and Massimiliano Allegri may not be the best choices. As many as 43% of Premier League managers appointed in their 40s have been more 'successful' than their predecessor.

While there are notable exceptions, a good playing career is a good foundation for managerial success. Half of Premier League managers who were stars at international and club level as players were 'successful' in their jobs. Thomas Tuchel is therefore not the perfect solution.

Lastly, silverware is important. Even if those without prior Premier League experience are better, managers still need to have won trophies at some point in their career. That's because 47% who won six or more major trophies elsewhere were also 'successful' at their new club. So Arsenal legends Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira are not wise choices just yet.

All those factors added up paint a very specific picture and former Barcelona coach Enrique is the only one who ticks every single box. 

He has no previous Premier League experience, he is from continental Europe, he is in his 40s, he was a star as a player and has won seven major trophies in his managerial to date. None of the other candidates can match him.

Arsenal's biggest problem now with be beating London rivals Chelsea to the punch, with the soon-to-be deposed Premier League champions reportedly very keen on Enrique themselves as a replacement for the under fire Antonio Conte.

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