Have Arsenal already employed Wenger’s successor? – Conspiracy Theory!!

Bonkers it's Jonker's job?
Bonkers it’s Jonker’s job?

Rumours are rife that Wenger has not signed the new contract on offer and is considering not doing so. Some feel and I agree that he is a man of honour and will not sign this deal unless he feels he had taken Arsenal forward this season and that he can do so gain in 2014/15.

It would be hard to argue in any footballing sense that we have progressed as a team as we are certainly not playing an improved or different brand of football. The fact that we are so predictable and the samey and even more so without the pace of Ramey and Walcott is undeniable for me at least On the flipside we have attracted a world star in Ozil, spent big in the process and we have a realistic chance of finally winning a trophy , the FA Cup.  Whether that will be enough to convince a wavering fan base remains to be seen but given his position and what he had achieved for the football club, that is perhaps not as relevant what the man himself feels.

None of us know what Wenger might be thinking but if he is not having doubts about his vision for the team after the last 2 months he lacks the integrity I believe he has. What cannot ever be questioned is the deep love he has for the institution that is Arsenal FC and that he will always want what is best for it. He will have to determine if he has the strength and conviction to take on the task for 2 more years and it that is what is best for his club.

So what if he determines that this summer is the time to pass on the baton who will pick it up for the next leg?  What comes next from me is largely guesswork and theorisation but not all.

In January it was announced that Dutchman Andries Jonker would be taking over from Liam Brady as Head of Youth Development at the club. When it was reported that the appointment was made by Gazidis and not Wenger I was intrgued. That piece of information piqued my interest a while ago and I read up on Jonker, who has an impressive coaching pedigree. My mind began working overtime when this week I read he is bringing in two other Dutch coaches, Frans de Kat and Jan van Loon taking over the Under 18s and Under 16s respectively.

I began to wonder if a contingency plan might not already be in motion should Wenger decide not to sign. After all there is a fairly obvious precedent for the club bringing in a man, who whilst not a big name was in fact a widely respected coach. This would not fit with the social media clamour for a Low, Klopp or a Martinez but there can be no doubting the 51 year olds credentials both within the Dutch FA set up, as a right hand man to Louis van Gaal and as a number one to a degree in his own right.

Learned with a master in VG
Learned with a master in VG

Van Gaal and Jonker first teamed up at Barcelona in 2002/3 but it was between 2009 and 2012 at Bayern Munich that he truly came to the fore. Between 2009 and 2011 he coached Bayern’s first team Bundesliga triumph, the German Cup in 2010 and to a Champions League final in the same year. Even when Van Gaal was sacked in the April of 2011 Jonker was asked to remain as interim manager and won 4 and drew one of the last 5 games. A period which the Bayern players enjoyed as this quote from our favourite player Robben will beat testament to: ‘Andries Jonker brought joy back to training and we rallied under him.’

Respected by the best
Respected by the best

 When Heynckes returned to steady the ship and ultimately take the Bayern back to the peak Jonker was retained in the final year of his contract and asked to take the Bayern Munich II and oversea potential future stars.

I am certain a question over such a promotion to a top job might be around the ability of Jonker to attract the big names the Arsenal fans crave. However it is as important to further develop those we have who are on the brink of greatness such as Chamberlain, Wilshere and Ramsey. A quick look back to the period of 2009 and 2011 in Munich might give an indication.

Tomas Muller – Promoted from Bayern II by Van Gaal/Jonker 2009

Toni Kroos – Brought back from loan and promoted by Van Gaal/Jonker 2010

Holger Badstuber – Promoted from Bayern II by Van Gaal/Jonker 2009

David Alaba – Promoted from Bayern II 2009 and loaned to Hoffenhein 2010 for experience by Van Gaal/Jonker

Luis Gustavo – Signed from Hoffenheim for Bayern Jan 2011 by Van Gaal/Jonker. (Followed him to Wolfsburg!)

Obviously all this is conspiracy theory and I am not claiming it is anything more but what we do know is that the footballing philosophy of Jonker would be very similar to that we have become accustomed to. We also know that he has experience of working with the very best talent in Europe.

But he is not a big name though right?

One final interesting factor to add to the mix is that we all know Van Gaal is stepping down as Dutch National team boss after the World Cup. We also know he has expressed an interest in managing in the Premiership and has even thrown his hat in the ring to manage in North London in Seven Sisters. If the Arsenal job was to be available and given a choice I think we all know who he would choose!

Van Gaal has won leagues in Holland and the Champions League with Ajax and the old UEFA Cup. In Spain with Barca he won back to back La Ligas and the Copa Del Ray.  At Bayern he oversaw, with Jonker the season I described in 2010, winning a domestic double, signed Robben and converted Schweinsteiger from a winger to one of the best centre midfielders in the world.

Mentor available in July too?
Mentor available in July too?

He has just lead the Dutch to Brazil undefeated winning 9 out of 10 qualifiers and unlike Martinez, Klopp and Guardiola is available should our present manager decide to hand up his coat and it’s troublesome zip. Is a Jonker coach and Van Gaal Technical Director or Jonker assistant to Van Gaal not quite an interesting combination?

Just asking?

Until next time

Like what you read? Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter – http://twitter.com/goonerdave66


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  1. I’m glad somebody has come up with a name and a good thought out reason behind it, rather than just oh Wenger should go and manager x should come in with not thought process behind it.

    A excellent article

    1. i agree,great article and very interesting possibilities!!!!we could do alot worse if Le Boss decides to hang ’em up!!!!

  2. Interesting theory. Personally I think there’s something afoot. Wouldn’t be surprised if wenger retires at end of season, silverware or not. He certainly won just quit without having someone to take over.

  3. I support your view and analysis you have made,but if wenger is to stay,he should recruit some big names,change his tactics,and rise the players morale and self belief,he should do whatever possible to finish in top 4,and win FA CUP.

  4. Very intriguing article. Seeing a double act would work for me. For all the good work Arsene did,his one fault was he does everything his way or it don’t get done at all. Every great manager has a sidekick ,but Wengers are not allowed to question anything (fact). I learned this from a former good friend of his who I met in Spain 5yrs. Ago..His parting words to me were before goodbye ” this man will bring your team down with his blinkered and stubbornness.mark my words”. By god was he right.

  5. Great analysis! I think it is high time that wenger should respect himself and leave honourable, before a disaster befall on the club. Enough is enough please!

  6. ouhaaaa!!!putain…si seulement c’était vrai!!!mais faut pas que Wenger resta dans les parages de l’équipe….Ambassadeur…je pense que ça lui irait bien!!

  7. Van gaal is 62 and only 2 years younger than wenger… wouldnt want van gaal.. why would wenger retire? he has easily 5 more years in him.. he is very fit and does not know anything other than football… he lives and eats football.. hope he takes up PSG or monaco after he leaves us.. would be one horrible day that one not seeing wenger on touch line…

    1. I hope as I say he would retire out of love for the club if he feels he can not take us forwards, which at present he is not

  8. Interesting thoughts, well expounded, thanks!

    Small point: please change “Bayern Munich 11” to Bayern Munich II or 2. The 11 bit makes it sound like he’s no longer managing bayern but is managing the 11, whic is the first team…? Is a bit confusing, is all.

  9. You should try being a Spurs fan you ungrateful Gooners, call yourselves supporters. Arsene is a genius, he has been hampered by a budget yet has given you a new stadium all paid for and European football every season. There is no doubt you’ve been unlucky with injuries to key players but you will never have so much success in the near future. Wenger is irreplaceable and even as a Spurs fan I hope you win the cup this year just to cease your constant whinging. Man Utd are suffering due to the loss of Ferguson and that is what you will endure if you succeed in driving Wenger away. Act in haste repent in leisure, you’ve been warned!

    1. Thanks Paul but you are not watching us weekly. My blog has not called for his head but many close to the club are suggesting he may not extend

    2. Act in haste? 9 years of regression is not haste. I remember the style of football we USED to play. Now its laborious, boring and predictable. The stadium is NOT paid for, although it is manageable debt. Personally CL football has become boring. No chance, or intention from management, of actually winning it. SAF left an aging and average squad, who he had squeezed the last drop of juice from, and sold Moyes a pup.
      Arsenal should be able to attract just about any manager in the world, the only worry being if the board allow the new man the same level of control that AW has, which has caused him to be a Jack of all trades, rather than the master of his craft he once was.

  10. A year ago, the Wenger Outers were calling for David Moyes. Which shows you A, not just any old manager can keep success going; and B, the Wenger Outers fall into the category of “You don’t know what you’ve got until you lose it.”

    A Spurs fan (Paul Newton, above) is making more sense than the Wenger Outers. If THAT doesn’t shame them out of their blatant stupidity, I don’t know what will.

    Or do I have to remind everyone that the last 5 seasons before Wenger were 4th, 10th, 4th, 12th and 5th — 2 of those seasons behind Spurs? If that had happened under Wenger, they’d want him sacked, shot and hanged, not necessarily in that order. If it happens under Wenger’s successor, I won’t enjoy telling them that I told them so, but I will tell them.

    1. Mike who are you calling a Wenger outer by the way? I don’t like being called stupid but your view is your view.

      1. Not you. You’ve made it clear you’re not in that camp. I’m just tired of people who want “our Arsenal” back forgetting that, depending on when they became a fan, either A, “their Arsenal” makes Wenger’s look like Ferguson’s Man U; or B, Wenger is the man who brought “their Arsenal” in the first place.

  11. I hope your assumptions are correct. No one can deny Wenger’s passion and love for ArsenalFC or his early success. His stubborn ways however have seen his stature as one of the great managers tarnished.
    I hope we win the FA Cup, secure Fourth, say Goodbye with pride to Wenger and start the next wave of glory with Van Gaal and Jonker in the 14/15 season.

  12. Really interesting thoughts and thanks for sharing that with us.

    I, however, think/know that Klopp is unavailable as he only signed last year a contract extension till 2018. Guardiola has a contract till 2016. So both are unavailable. (Martinez is also unavailable btw).

    Van Gall is an old school guy so we don’t need that neither but Jonker sounds really really good!

    Hopefully you’re right!

  13. Very off-consensus post

    Very interesting indeed

    But maybe it could go the other way, meaning if Spurs attract Van Gaal, maybe he’ll take Jonkers with him

  14. This could all point to us bringing in Van Gaal in the summer (getting on over Sp*rs in the process)

  15. Every sane person is aware that one should be careful what they wish for. Being an Arsenal fan for nearly 43yrs. I have seen good times and some not so good. Arsene Wenger, being overall dictator at the club now has too much on his plate and doesn’t even know it. His attitude seems to be next year will be better. He is a good economist but his coaching and planning has not worked for the past ten years. We get in a good position only to fail because of his failure to get things right. He really needs to go. Andries Jonker may not be the famous name some fans are calling for for as a replacement, but I am ready to give a new manager say, five years to build a Premiership winning side because we will never win it again under Wenger.

    1. How do you know? We were well on our way to winning it this year before four world-class midfielders, all signed by Wenger, got hurt. Seriously, you Wenger Outers are so blind.

      It’s almost as if Arsenal had a brilliant manager, unafraid to make big signings, and smart enough to not only find diamonds in the rough but to replace “the Graham back five” (I count Seaman in with them) with players of at least equal talent, and then top anything Graham ever did by going unbeaten… and then, after the 2006 CL Final, this manager retired, and was succeeded by this annoying, cheap French intellectual named Arsene Wenger, whose “tactics” are “shit” and won’t do what it takes to improve the team and win trophies.

      That is not what happened, and the Wenger Outers need to get that through their thick skulls.

      1. I think he should share the blame for Arsenal having poor injury record. Its not happened this year only but since 2008/09 where our best players end up on the injury table. Who knows what the reason is. But when we look at lampard, gerrad (fat cows) they rarely get injured. So something is inherently wrong in the medical side of things.
        In terms of tactics, most fans are illiterate and are brainwashed by Dailymail,Sun and Guardian. The papers where guys like mourinho are branded “tactical masterclass” and Wenger naive. One thing that is very hard to fathom is that every fan think he knows more then the guy incharge which prompted wenger to say That people who never managed one day in the world of football telling u what to do.
        I agree with Uncle Mike that wenger outers needs to get out from their thick skull. But at the same time im not suggesting that next manager cannot do a job. I just like those wenger outers to appreciate what the man did for this football club and it is not directed towards anyone in this blog except if you only see what fits with your agenda.

  16. I dont agree with van Gal as our next manager. This guy was a good manager but he is not the same. Furthermore, he is not that young to stay for 8-10 years. He is past his best and not to mention a bit crazy (quote by Robben above with countless other crazy things he does, check out his full history). He seems like a spurs kind of coach rather then Arsenal.
    On the other hand, i personally think Wenger will stay and im fine with that but we will see the person who has stopped taking shit from his players.

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  18. This article sounds like a REAL possibility to me. Wenger’s time is up. He’s been stalling on the contract, which means even to him, the possibility of not signing is real. That is very welcome. But Wenger has a long, even more personal relationship with the club (like Fergie & United) and his place in the club’s history is well secured. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is actually handpicking his successor in the context of this article. That, if it happens, will be a win-win for the club and Wenger. He finally lets someone else take the club forward and he retires honorably – probably with the F.A Cup and another Champions’ League qualification!

    1. Do YOU love Arsenal, or do you just love trophies? If you think sacking the manager and spending a shitload of money is the answer to a trophyless season, go support Chelsea. If you love Arsenal, stand by the manager who made Arsenal one of the biggest clubs in the world — and it wasn’t Bertie Mee or George Graham, it was Arsene Wenger.

    2. I’m with Uncle Mike on this one! I would love to see Arsenal lift the FA Cup on 17 May, assuming we can overcome Wigan this Saturday. However, to say that if Wenger loves Arsenal he should resign is very short sighted indeed! We need a world class striker and hopefully we will secure one in the summer transfer window however the club has been very unlucky with injuries to five of our best first team players. We need more depth however I think that will come again through this summer. I cannot believe the board are happy with scraping through to CL football each year and we will experience success in the next two years, I am sure of it! Allow Wenger to take us there!

  19. Here we go with the AKB mantra. “Go support Chelsea, Spurs, City”.
    “Judge him in May”, has been another one, but when May comes and we’ve won nothing, it’s not his fault!
    Refs, the board, fans negativity, bad luck, cheats, injuries, the wrong alignment in the constellations…. anything BUT the man who is responsible for EVERYTHING good that happens, but none of the bad.
    He chooses, buys, coaches, picks the players. He gives them the tactics and formation that have been dismissed by the better sides over and over again. He makes the same predictable substitutions every match. He refuses to change formation in any game.
    Brian Clough was a magnificent manager, but he stayed too long. That’s what has happened here.
    1886 NOT 1996

    1. I agree Gary. I have supported Arsenal for over 40 years, and will never underestimate what Arsene has done for the club. But I believe we will never win the title under him again, therefore not win C.L. either !! I also don’t believe we have a divine right to win trophies, that’s not my issue. Its the ongoing running of the club that I don’t like. Also, a gripe about Arsene, is he has no affinity with the fans at all, neither does he seem to care. He reluctantly shakes opposition managers hand at end of games, and disappears down the tunnel. Stay out for a bit, and take responsibility of what has just happened, be it good or bad !!!

      1. I think he’s forgotten his primary role is football manager! He’s taken on far too much power at the club, and we all know that absolute power corrupts absolutely.
        A once great manager, he has been weakened by the loss of David Dein without doubt. He was the only man at Arsenal strong enough to guide Arsene.
        Those that say “Look at Utd” always forget to mention what is happening at Liverpool and Everton. No oil money there, just young, hungry managers eager to play attractive football and prove their tactical nous.

  20. Good article – I had wondered the same thing about Jonker as a potential hint of Wenger’s departure.

    I had not considered the Van Gaal link, but am thinking maybe the club would appoint Bould to replace Wenger and have this Jonker guy as his #2, much the same way Man Utd had highly technical #2 behind Ferguson. Bould has the playing pedigree and respect and this guy could at the training and tactical side.

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