Everton boss Roberto Martinez took all the plaudits for his expansive style and progressive system at Wigan but does his move to the Merseyside giants put him in place to take over from Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger one day?
64-year-old Gunners boss Wenger is currently the longest serving manager in the Premier League and has yet to sign a new contract to stay on past this season. Whilst there are few doubts from the North London club that the Frenchman will stay on at the Emirates past his current deal, the coach will one day have to be replaced.
There are a number of notable coaches in England and around Europe who could potentially be brought in whenever the boss decides to call it quits and no doubt Wenger will occupy a role in the club higher up to oversee his legacy much like Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson does at Old Trafford.
I have, personally, suggested Dennis Bergkamp is the likeliest successor to Wenger but, at present, the Dutch legend is still learning his trade as assistant manager at Ajax and is unlikely to be ready to take on a Premier League challenge in the next few years.
Looking around Europe, one could see a coach like Bergkamp’s superior at Ajax, Frank de Boer being the kind of coach Arsenal could employ in the future, but there are few managers in the Premier League with the kind of philosophy and pragmatism that Wenger has made such a success at Arsenal.
The only two coaches in the Premier League spring to mind as having the kind of background in development and implementation that would provide continuity for a club like Arsenal and that is Michael Laudrup and Martinez.
I am not suggesting either that Wenger will leave any time soon or that Martinez will leave Goodison Park (having just arrived) but projecting into the future, for example, three years when Martinez’ Everton contract expires, could he be the natural successor to Arsene Wenger?
He has five years experience to date in the Premier League with Wigan for four years and Everton since the summer and the wonders he has started working at Goodison will likely pay off in the next few seasons or so as he brings more of his own signings in and builds on the foundation of his first term.
He has the kind of manner and demeanour than Wenger has at Arsenal – he is erudite, charismatic and charming, compared to the more coarse and abrupt manner of David Moyes aptly replacing Ferguson who was much the same. Martinez has a strong track record of making the money and resources available to him stretch as far as possible to good effect, especially at Wigan, and has a strong record of bringing through youth players.
To me, the only thing missing from Martinez’ CV is title challenges and trophies (insert joke about Wenger here) but his winning of the FA Cup last term was a huge achievement given the resources available to him at Wigan. I think we will see over the next three years with Everton that he is a top coach, top manager made of the same kind of class, sophistication and intelligence as Arsene Wenger and it could well be that by the time Wenger is ready to retire as Arsenal manager, Martinez is just proving himself as the man to succeed him.
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