The Allegri Theory

The Allegri Theory

I have a theory, and it’s a bit out there. It doesn’t fit the narrative of Arsenal’s Board being utterly inept so it might be an unpopular one. I’ll admit, I don’t quite believe it myself but I’m offering it up anyway.
When we were rumoured to have signed the Schalke left-back Kolasinic recently for next season, I was intrigued given the fact that he seems to have shone as a left wing-back in a 3-5-2 rather than when played in a traditional back 4. My first thought was whether we were bringing in a coach next season who plays 3-5-2 and this was part of a forward-planning exercise. Then when Wenger flipped to 3-5-2 recently, my initial thought was that it was a sign Wenger was staying. I thought that he had decided 3-5-2 is the formation for the current era of Premier League/ European football and he wants to go that way and that Kolasinic was a signing ‘for him’.
However, what if Wenger’s 3-5-2 is, like Kolasinic, part of a succession plan? My out-there theory is that Allegri has been lined up to join us next season, and the move to 3-5-2 and the interest/ signing of Kolasinic has been co-ordinated between Wenger and Allegri as part of the transition.
Is it really that out there a theory? As much of a stubborn man Arsene is, let’s believe for a second that he loves Arsenal as much as he says he does. Let’s also believe that he has decided that he does not believe he can transform Arsenal back into a force in the short-term. If both those things hold true, then it is possible that he could be working with the future manager to ensure a successful transition.
Allegri could be the future manager. It’s definitely possible. Although he’s only in his 3rd season at Juventus, it should be remembered that he’s spent all 11 years of his managerial career in Italy so he may well want a new challenge. With AC Milan, he became the 2nd youngest manager to win Serie A. At Juventus, he won the domestic treble in his first season and got to the Champions League final. He won the domestic double in his second season. He’s probably going to win Serie A again this season, and he’s got a foot in the Champions League Final. So basically, he’s done everything there is to do in Italy, and he’s probably going to have taken two Juventus teams into the Champions League final. Of course, I’m sure he’d love to win the UCL with Juve, but let’s say he doesn’t win it this year, I doubt he will want to stay at Juve just to win it, he would know that could be a dangerous road to go down. I reckon Allegri is open to a new challenge, which would certainly be abroad. He isn’t committing his future to Juventus, he’s being as the media love to say, ‘coy’.
If I were the Arsenal Board, what Allegri has done this season would have made me realise what a good fit he could be for Arsenal. Look let’s face it, even in a best case scenario, Arsenal are unlikely to have the same pull as some of the super clubs out there even if we do win some trophies in the coming years. We will still have cases where if Real Madrid or Barcelona come knocking, our best players’ heads may be turned. So Arsenal should look at how Allegri dealt with losing Pogba and be mighty impressed. It’s pretty mental when you think about it – Allegri lost a €100m player and has had this kind of season. What I like is that he didn’t go out and spend the €100m trying to fill the gap, it seemed more of a case where he used his summer transfer kitty to facilitate a tweak in tactics. That tells me that the guy has the hunger to pro-actively evolve and stay ahead of the game. Juventus don’t have the revenue streams to compete with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man Utd etc, but every season their goal is to win Serie A and try and win the Champions League. Their transfer activity is catered to these goals and the club spends no time feeling sorry for itself that it could genuinely lose their best players to clubs who can’t even offer Champions League football purely because they can’t compete financially. Allegri has proven he can deal with this emphatically – lose a big player but still compete with anyone.
Anyway, how does all of the above fit in with the big open secret which is Wenger’s two-year contract extension on the table? Well for me, it seems like it was a case where although the contract was on the table, there’s certainly been a spanner in the works. Some say that because of the poor results in March/April, the Board decided it was best to delay the announcement that Wenger is renewing until
the end of the season to avoid a big negative reaction from the fans. I don’t personally think it’s as straightforward as that. I think that both Wenger and the Board agreed a potential extension but also agreed they would take stock during the season to establish whether it’s the right way forward. I mean if Arsenal were really tanking and they still wanted to keep Wenger, then why two years? Surely he’d need more than 2 years to turn it around. I think the two-year extension factored in both an estimation of when Wenger thought he’d want to retire baked in with the assumption that Arsenal realistically look like they can at least remain in the top 4 in the next few years. A combination of top 4 certainly being unlikely, along with pretty significant supporter unrest for me suggests that Wenger and the Board could have accepted that it’s best to bring in a new manager in now.
I say Wenger and the Board, but that decision may well not be a completely mutual one. Remember the interview recently where Wenger said words to the effect of ‘I will manage next season whether it is at Arsenal or somewhere else’. Would he have said that if he had signed a 2-year extension? I don’t think so. Could it be that it was him indirectly speaking to the Board? Could it be that someone upstairs, whether it be Gazidis or someone else, wanted to push on with getting a new manager, and Wenger wasn’t happy?
Look at it this way, although Arsenal fans don’t believe the Board really care about what they think if it looks unlikely that Arsenal can remain in the top 4 under Wenger then what use is he to the Board? If a new manager comes in then granted they aren’t guaranteed of top 4 either but at least supporters will get behind the new manager and get off the Board’s back – as long as (a) they back the new manager with a decent transfer kitty and (b) the appointment isn’t a stupid one.
So furthermore, could it be a case where this delay in announcing Wenger’s future be down to Allegri’s Champions League run? Perhaps Allegri has agreed to take over and the original plan was to announce in March-time that Wenger would be leaving and Allegri would be joining, but due to Juventus’ run in Europe perhaps Allegri/ Juventus have requested the announcement be delayed?
Look in reality, I doubt everything I’ve suggested here is the case, but I don’t think things are as straightforward as people seem to be making out. I don’t think it’s as simple as there being a 2-year extension that was agreed a while back and that’s all there is to it.
So right now, I’m gonna just go with an all-in prediction that Allegri has been lined up to take over from Arsene, and the delay in announcing Wenger’s departure and Allegri’s appointment is down to Juventus & Allegri wanting to wait until the UCL is over.

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