Who Will Replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal? A Successor Has Already Been Lined Up

Arsenal have lined up former Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti as a potential replacement for Arsene Wenger should he leave the club at the end of the season.

Wenger, 68, is now the longest serving manager in the Premier League, having taken over at Arsenal in 1996. But he has had to withstand growing pressure in recent years.

Many fans at the Emirates Stadium called for his departure last season after Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time under Wenger.

Arsenal are struggling again this season having been knocked out of the FA Cup at the third round stage and are currently sitting sixth in the Premier League, five points off fourth place.

And, according to the London Evening Standard, while no final decision has been made, Arsenal are preparing for the possibility of Wenger leaving at the end of the season and have identified Ancelotti.

The 58-year-old Italian has been out of work since he was sacked by Bayern Munich in September and replaced by Jupp Heynckes. Ancelotti has spent time in London since, attending matches at Stamford Bridge where he spent two years as manager of Chelsea.

Ancelotti has won three Champions League trophies as a manager, two with AC Milan and one with Real Madrid in 2014, making him the most successful coach in the competition's history.

Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger at The Hawthorns, West Bromwich, England, December 31. Wenger is the longest serving manager in the Premier League. Michael Steele/Getty

He has enjoyed success in every job he has held, including in England. Ancelotti won the league and cup double with Chelsea in his first season in English football but was sacked the following year.

He then went on to manage Paris Saint-Germain, where he won the Ligue 1 title, before replacing Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid. Although the La Liga title eluded him, Ancelotti led Real to their first European trophy in 12 years, kicking off a period of dominance in the Champions League.

Ancelotti clearly has the experience and pedigree to succeed Wenger at Arsenal. The Frenchman's current contract runs until the end of next season, in the summer of 2019, but failure to secure silverware or Champions League football may see a premature departure.

Arsenal are still competing in two cup competitions, starting with Wednesday's (January 10) League Cup semifinal first leg against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. In the Europa League, they will face Swedish team Osterlund FK in the round of 32 in February.

Wenger could also return Arsenal to the Champions League by winning the Europa League, just as Mourinho did with Manchester United last year.

Carlo Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti, right, with his wife at The Best FIFA Football Awards in London, October 23, 2017. Ancelotti is reportedly being lined up to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. Bryn Lennon/Getty