By Joe Harker
When it comes to succession at Arsenal it could be prudent to avoid being the man, rather waiting to be the man that follows the man. Arsene Wenger has only one more game in charge of the club before he departs and a new manager steps in to take his place. How they do will provide context to Wenger's final years.
Arsenal will attract a high calibre of manager, boasting impressive players and being one of the richer clubs in the Premier League. Even managers who took charge of champions and European giants could have access to better players, while the club itself might be in need of new leadership. Just as the success or failure of Wenger's replacement will provide some context to his final years, it will also show whether Arsenal are a club that just need a fresh outlook or demand a far more difficult rebuilding job.
The closest parallel is with replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, a botched process that has the club still in transition. However, Tony Evans of ESPN argues that the Arsenal job will be far more difficult. He suggests that the scale of the problem is far larger than the ones David Moyes and Louis Van Gaal failed to solve at United. If the champions can fall from first to seventh after losing the long-serving manager then what might happen to sixth-placed Arsenal?
Leicester City manager Claude Puel warned Arsenal that it could take years to recover from losing Wenger. He too drew parallels with United and Ferguson and suggested that any new manager would have a difficult time filling Wenger's shoes. He said: "After a few years they can come back at a good level. But it is difficult when a club have had success like this and must replace the manager and sometimes replace valuable or great players.
"It will be difficult for the new manager. Perhaps the new manager or great managers will like different options or possibilities."
Former Arsenal player Ray Parlour believes the new manager will need to spend more than £200 million to overhaul the squad, but they will have to make do with £50 million instead. Players are more expensive than ever and the squad has several issues that need fixing. It may be that the new manager has to sell some of his players to raise more funds.
If Wenger's replacement could turn Arsenal back into a title challenging force and bring some of the fighting spirit back then it would be a major feather in their cap.
However, for all his recent criticism Arsene Wenger could end up being the toughest act to follow.