A look at the former 'Wenger Boys' who have gone into the world of coaching and scouting, with current Ajax, Manchester City and Lyon employees featured.
While many of us know of Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson’s many ‘apprentices’ going into football management the same can now start to be seen with Arsene Wenger. While not on the same degree as Sir Alex, due in some part to the difference in each managers length of service, it is interesting to see which of Wenger’s old boys have gone into management and coaching.
With Steve Bould now his assistant coach, admittedly a player more synonymous with the George Graham era it should be interesting to see who was signed by Wenger, and has gone on into management.
While technically not an Arsene Wenger signing (he was signed by Bruce Rioch in 1995) it was the arrival of the Frenchman that catapulted his career into superstardom after a disappointing debut term with The Gunners. The two had a unique love for continental attacking football, a bi-product of Bergkamp’s Ajax upbringing.
Despite insisting coaching was not a post career option Bergkamp eventually fast-tracked his way into the world of coaching with Ajax’s under-12 side and then as assistant to the Ajax under-19 team.
But his impressive meticulous detail and passion for attacking football has seen him appointed assistant to Frank de Boer for the first team, a position he has received rave reviews for.
Whilst not technically a coach Gilles Grimandi is responsible for a lot more than you would know. A player under Wenger at both Monaco and Arsenal the Frenchman was a useful utility player for Wenger’s Gunners and was appointed Arsenal’s chief scout in France in 2006.
Players such as Gael Clichy, Francis Coquelin, Laurent Koscielny, Abou Diaby Bacary Sagna and Samir Nasri have all been Grimandi subjects as is Olivier Giroud. We won’t mention Maraoune Chamakh though.
After retiring an Arsenal player he went into punditry, a bit like Gary Neville but in French. However, he moved into coaching in 2003 with former side Lyon where he eventually climbed the ranks before being named their new manager in June last year, a position he still currently fills.
The man who epitomised Arsene Wenger’s glory years at Arsenal and after stints in Italy a brief spell at Manchester City has turned into much more as he enjoys a prominent role as head of training and youth development, which is a Football Development Executive to those who like jargon.
Overmars moved to Barcelona but suffered with injuries until a premature retirement in 2004. He returned to his first club Go Ahead Eagles and even briefly came out of retirement after tearing the then incumbent Ajax right-back George Ogararu to shreds in Jaap Stams testimonial.
Despite that he was more busy building a reputation as a shrewd director of football at the club before resigning in 2012 and taking over the same role at Ajax, working alongside his good friend Dennis Bergkamp.
So it seems ‘Wenger’s Boys’ are starting to enter the world of management in football as well, who knows maybe one day one of them will take over from Wenger at The Emirates.
So, Dennis Bergkamp manager of Arsenal anyone?
image: © SNappa2006