3. Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Feyenoord
It’s surprising not to see Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s name all over lists of potential Wenger replacements. The man who won the Premier League and FA Cup with the Gunners in 2002, before adding another cup win a year later, has done terrific work at Feyenoord.
Van Bronckhorst stunned the established order of the Eredivisie by guiding the Rotterdam club to a first league crown this century last season. Success was built on a formidable record on home soil, with Feyenoord unbeatable at De Kuip stadium.
Similarly, strong home form has been a Wenger staple for most of Arsenal’s era at the Emirates Stadium. For all their struggles away this season, the Gunners are unmatched at home, per Josh James of Arsenal Media Group:
Van Bronckhorst would continue this tradition, while also maintaining other Wenger traits. Specifically, the 43-year-old Dutchman has admitted he still refers back to the teachings of his old boss, per Goal’s Josh Challies:
"I was impressed by his training methods. I use the same methods now at Feyenoord. So that says a lot about the impact Arsene had on me. It’s already around seventeen years ago that I made my transfer to Arsenal. He was the first trainer I experienced who had an eye for everything. Not only the games and the training but also food, rest moments. In that period we already did yoga. That was very progressive seventeen years ago. The two years I played at Arsenal under Wenger helped me a lot in my career."
Van Bronckhorst’s fitter, leaner Feyenoord added to last season’s title by winning the KNVB Cup with a 3-0 win over AZ Alkmaar on Sunday. Former Wenger prodigy Robin van Persie was on the scoresheet for his first club.
The Cup is more silverware to add to van Bronckhorst’s impressive haul while in charge of the Rotterdammers, per Football-Oranje.com:
Van Bronckhorst merits immense credit for bringing sustained success and silverware back to a proud club dormant for too long.
His style of play may be more direct than the Gunners have been used to under Wenger, but a van Bronckhorst Arsenal team would likely get the ball to Aubameyang and Lacazette quicker.
Overall, he’s been flexible enough to maximize whatever he has. Van Bronckhorst’s fluid tactics helped him outwit Jose Mourinho and Manchester United in last season’s Europa League group stage.
Gio played down talk of replacing Wenger when asked recently, per Challies: “It’s not the first time you’ve asked me this question this season. But I’m happy where I am at the moment.”
Even so, his resume and connection to the club should tempt the Gunners to test his resolve.
A consistent winner at both club and managerial level, van Bronckhorst would do what it takes to make sure Arsenal don’t lack for trophies in the post-Wenger era.