Some of Europe’s top managers will be queuing up to succeed Arsene Wenger as Arsenal boss if the Frenchman leaves this summer, says Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith.
Wenger’s future has been the source of growing speculation for months and Arsenal have been forced to deny a report in German newspaper Bild which stated they have approached Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel to take over at the Emirates.
However, former Arsenal striker Smith believes feels it is only natural for Arsenal’s board to be considering potential successors given the uncertainty surrounding Wenger’s future.
“If Arsenal are not sounding out managers at this stage there is something badly wrong, they are not doing their job,” Smith told Premier League Daily.
“If Wenger said tomorrow ‘right, I’m leaving’ then Arsenal would be left high and dry because they would have to scramble to see who might be out there and who might be available.
“They have got to sound people out. That would only be natural. Whether that is through a third party or whatever – that happens all the time.
“It’s a beautiful stadium in London where a lot of the foreign managers want to come and a lot of the foreign players want to come. I don’t think that advantage is being exploited enough at the moment.
“But as a board they have to be looking at who might be available if Wenger does walk away.”
After Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to West Brom , Wenger revealed he has made a decision on his future and promised to announce it “very soon”.
Arsenal supporters are split on whether it is time for the under-fire Frenchman to walk away and Smith fears the fan unrest could hover over the club next season if Wenger decides to stay.
“Even those fans that are supportive [of Wenger] I don’t think they would be jumping in the air at the announcement of a new contract. They would go ‘okay, well, let’s see if he can do better’.
“Obviously the other portion of fans would be up in arms.
“It is a situation I can’t remember happening at another club, certainly in the Premier League, where you have got a large number of protests and then the manager signs again – even the fact the board would offer him another contract….
“When it is announced, if it is announced, it will be fascinating to gage the response.”