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Arsenal Legend Martin Keown have backed the club to replace Arsene Wenger with Diego Simeone when the French man decides to leave the Emirates.
Wenger’s future has been the subject of speculation in recent week with some reports even claiming the French tactician could leave the club this summer. Although Wenger has squashed those rumours, but Keown, has urged the club to sign Diego Simeone should Wenger quit the club.
“Arsene Wenger decides when he leaves Arsenal. The topic of Wenger comes up all the time and I think we should allow the great man to decide when he goes. He’s got one year left on his contract,” he told the Daily Mail, as quoted by Squawka.
“You can be certain that he’ll be all out to make sure that in his last year he’s going to be successful – and I wouldn’t bet against him signing a new deal. If Wenger does sign a new contract, then succession planning has to begin. Steve Bould is either nurtured into the role, or they identify who would be the next person to take over.”
“What I think Arsenal will do is only look for a replacement when Wenger wants to go. They won’t tap him on the shoulder and say ‘We’re bringing in Simeone’. Wenger is 66 and doesn’t seem like an old 66. Most players don’t get much beyond the age of 30 but there isn’t a set age for a manager to be passed their best.
“Just look at what you’re seeing. I don’t see any less desire in Wenger – if anything I see more desire than when he first arrived when you see him on the touchline.
“Simeone is quite an animated figure and has done an incredible job at Atletico Madrid – it takes something special to be crowned champions in a league with Barcelona and Real Madrid. If Wenger steps aside I’m sure he’s someone they would look at, but the directors have a unique situation of a manager who will decide when he goes – and we must not forget that.
“Just look at what’s happened at Manchester United. If we look over the road at Manchester City, there seem to be the makings of a plan with Pep Guardiola and Patrick Vieira.
Guardiola typically only does three years. Vieira is now plying his trade in New York and it could be he’s part of the plan to take over from Guardiola in the future.”
Simeone has made the Atletico Madrid team a force in Spain and in Europe in less than five years of taking over at the club and recently led his team to the Champions League semi-final beating current holders Barcelona.