Rwanda Focus (Kigali)

25 December 2012

Rwanda: Guardiola Would Be Ideal for Arsenal

The current situation at Arsenal has not been any different for the past three or four seasons. The only difference is that in the past, the club always had a horrible start only to secure third or fourth place - and by this, I mean Uefa Champions League football which, by the way, is a trophy in itself for Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board as we have come to learn.

But for me, that should never have been the case for a big club like Arsenal. Even two seasons without some sort of silverware should be intolerable.

Wenger has long been regarded as a genius but, like many geniuses throughout history, his gift has waned.

Arsenal won the double in just the Frenchman's second season in charge but, since guiding 'The Invincibles' to that remarkable unbeaten Premier League campaign in 2003-04, the club has only managed a single trophy.

It is now seven years since the Gunners clinched that last piece of silverware, the FA Cup in 2005.

On a related note, you now hear Wenger referred to as 'Le Professeur' far less than you used to.

In its place, Arsenal fans have taken to repeating the mantra 'Arsene Knows', a statement that outwardly exudes confidence in the manager, yet hints at an underlying exercise in collective re-assurance: 'Arsene Knows (doesn't he?)'. In Arsene we trust, do they?

It's increasingly becoming clear by the day that Wenger has run out of ideas so why not tempt Josep 'Pep' Guardiola to Arsenal.

I know Arsenal are barely mentioned as candidates to hire the former Barcelona manager - available after a year-long break from the game - yet there is enough reason to believe that, with a persuasive pitch, they can lure him to the Emirates Stadium.

Thanks to Wenger, Arsenal share a similar footballing philosophy to that incubated at La Masia and offers the sort of fertile youth setup that the great manager likes to harness.

With the new lucrative sponsorship deal with Emirates Airlines, I'm sure Guardiola will have the funds to spend.

As the one English club that has garnered his praise more than any other in recent years, chance to take on the establishment with a powerful outsider might appeal to the Catalan.

Guardiola has been linked to Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United should Sir Alex Ferguson retire at the end of the season. However, Arsenal still offer a challenge that the other Premier League suitors cannot - real room for growth and improvement - and the time to implement his ideas that perhaps only United could match.

There are no guarantees Guardiola would take the Arsenal job - but the club has nothing to lose by making their pitch.

Obviously, with Wenger still currently entrenched, courting Guardiola would create a difficult situation with the Frenchman. But the existing club-manager relationship no longer appears to be working to full effect - and so Arsenal are within their rights to proactively move on if their manager will not do so first.

Wenger has recently suggested he will walk away at the end of the season, although only indirectly. Giving Wenger the time and space to come to his own decision about his future would be preferable, but by then, it may be a little too late even for the great Guardiola.

Considering what Wenger has achieved for the club, leaving the decision to him would be the honourable thing to do. But where, exactly, has being 'honourable' got Arsenal over the last seven years - and what have they really got to show for it?

It's time to move on.

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