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Three Reasons Why This Ligue1 Manager Is A Better Option For Arsenal Than Arsene Wenger

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (left) Leonardo Jardim (right)
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (left) Leonardo Jardim (right)
Arsene Wenger (left) Leonardo Jardim (right)

Three Reasons Why Leonardo Jardim Would Be A Hit At Arsenal

Nearly three decades ago, it was at AS Monaco that Arsene Wenger made his name as one of the brightest young managers in the world of football. A year after the Frenchman left the Principality for a stint in Japan, he would take the reins at Arsenal and guide the North London club into one of their most successful eras.

But 21 years later, most would agree that it feels like Wenger’s time is up. The 67-year old has been on a slow decline in recent years but has still managed to keep Arsenal competing for the Champions League spots. However, this time around, a place in the top-four of the Premier League is looking like a far reach.

And with Wenger’s contract set to expire at the end of the season, there has been a lot of speculation over his immediate future. The banners of “Wenger Out” have started appearing more and more prominently and it may well turn out to be the end of the road for the manager at the end of the season.

A lot of potential targets have been linked with taking over the helm at the Emirates if and when Wenger leaves. Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri, RB Salzburg manager Ralph Hassenhuttl, Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe are the managers that the fans are dreaming of. But, it is ironic that it is the current AS Monaco manager Leonardo Jardim seems to be the best fit should Wenger call it a day.

The 43-year old Venezuela-born manager has done a marvelous job since taking over from Claudio Ranieri at the Stade Louis II. On the brink of sealing the Ligue1 title with Monaco, Jardim has all the attributes to succeed at Arsenal and here are three reasons why he could prove to be the best successor of the legendary Arsene Wenger:

Tactical Flexibility

Over the years, one of the major criticism that has been hurled at Wenger is that he is not flexible with his tactics. It is not like he can’t do it. He is very much capable of doing so, as has been indicated by the recent shift to a 3-4-3 that has reaped decent success. But the fact that he is unwilling to adapt and change things up according to the needs is something that has cost Arsenal on numerous occasions and that has always been held against him in his recent years at Arsenal. Yes, he was a revolutionary but that was until 2006. Things have changed now, and a lot.

With Leonardo Jardim though, that will not be an issue. When he first took over at Monaco, the manager was heavily criticised for his slow defensive approach, which relied upon establishing a solid base at the back with the attacking flair almost as an afterthought. But if one looks at the way the Monegasques are playing this season, the transformation has been a shock.

Monaco have scored 98 goals in Ligue1 this season from 35 games. And adding their goals from the Champions League and the domestic cup competitions, their tally goes up to more than 120 goals for the season – the best in Europe this season. From being a defensive side to a free-flowing attacking unit, Leonardo has managed to transform his team completely and has displayed the ability to switch things up according to the needs and situations.

European Pedigree

Leonardo first made his mark in Europe when his Monaco side defeated Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium, knocking them out of the UEFA Champions League 2014-15 at the Round-of-16 stage. Since then, he has lost many of his key players but has continued to take his team forward in Europe.

The Principality outfit may have crashed out of the competition in the qualifying stages last season, but Leonardo has masterminded an excellent European campaign this time around and has led them to the semi-finals of the competition – beating the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund along the way.

The final may seem a distant dream but the progress that he has made over the past years with the team – a much changed one at that, demonstrates that he has what it takes to succeed in the Champions League, a competition where Arsenal haven’t been able to go past the Round-of-16 stages for 7 seasons straight now.

Work With Young Players

Leonardo Jardim has developed quite the reputation of bringing the best out of the young talents in his managerial career. In his debut season with Portuguese side Sporting CP in 2012-13, the 43-year old led a young team comprising of academy graduates to a 2nd placed finish in the league table.

Since taking over at Monaco, he has developed many young players into stars – Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, Yannick-Ferreira Carrasco of Atletico Madrid spring to our minds immediately. Monaco, over the last few years, had to lose most of their best players. James Rodriguez, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Aymen Abdennour, Laywin Kurzawa, Anthony Martial, Yannick Carrasco and many more have departed for greener pastures.

But Jardim has managed to replace all of his outgoing stars with young and exciting talents, who are on the verge of the Ligue1 triumph. Bernardo Silva, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Thomas Lemar and the sensational Kylian Mbappe – all are stars in the making.

With the futures of Arsenal superstars Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in doubts, Jardim could be the right man to steady the ship, if it so happens that the Gunners lose their two best players.