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Domenico Tedesco Is Our Choice To Replace Arsene Wenger

Another week and the interlull drags on. Yet, we continue to consider life at Arsenal in the coming weeks and months ahead. Jumping off from last week’s “The Men Who Could Be King At Arsenal”, we began looking at some of the possible changes that could happen in various parts of the club.

After that piece from last Monday I was repeatedly asked who my choice would be. Truth be told, save for Carlo Ancelotti, I would be happy to have any of the candidates we outlined as Arsenal manager. Each has their own unique qualities and would bring a breath of fresh air to the staid room that is Arsenal currently.

But we were pressed – no, we were told you have to pick one. So we did. And in doing so we picked up on a theme that some have written about and some are echoing all over social media – the excitement that comes from change.

Wait hear me out on this

We all want to be excited about what lays ahead when the new manager is announced. We want to look forward to the promise that comes from a different perspective, a different way of doing things. Simply, we just want to be energized about Arsenal.

Our pick for manager is not without risk. Truth be told, none of the managerial candidates aren’t without risk. Save for Ancelotti, none of them have Premier League experience. But that shouldn’t stop us. Lest we forget when Arsene was announced as manager, one headline boldly proclaimed “Arsene Who?”

21 years on, its n0 doubt who Arsene is. He permeates every aspect of Arsenal football club. A failure of management that is only now being rectified with a lot of his duties being supported and/or farmed out to Ivan’s new club leadership team.

Whomever comes in has big shoes to fill and there is a risk in getting a David Moyes-type situation right out of the box. However, unlike United at the time, we aren’t coming off of any major titles. We are and are likely to be struggling to get back to our perch among the Premier League’s elite for a little longer.

We are a project. And being a project, maybe its time we considered a big bold step. Something out of the box that changes Arsenal’s trajectory and mentality all together. We did this the last time we signed a new manager so why not again?

Germany is the hot bed for young-talented coaches. They are nation more inclined to give unchallenged coaches a chance to succeed. The DFB has done a fantastic job of developing thinkers and tinkers. And that’s where we should turn to for our choice to replace Arsene Wenger.

His name is –  Domenico Tedesco.

A 32-year German of Italian descent (parents emigrated from Calabria) who now helms FC Schalke, currently sitting in second place in the Bundesliga and poised to go back to the Champion’s League after a 3 year absence.

He’s managed to do that without the likes of Bendikt Howedes, Klass-Jan Huntelaar, and one Sead Kolasinac. He turned to what Schalke had on offer and starting turning players considered after thoughts into stars.

We highlighted the change in Max Meyer last week, in our profile of the player. Meyer, saw diminished time as a 10 under the previous regime. Tedesco saw a hard-working, talented player and had to get them on the pitch. Working with the German wunderkid, he turned him from a 10 to a highly productive and successful 6.

Stories like that abound at Schalke. Look up what he’s done with 35-year old Brazillian Naldo in defense or Bundesliga 2 striker Guido Burgstaller. In each case, he has found a way to rejuvenate players and turn them into part of his overall plan.

Tedesco is not a glamorous name in footballing circles and many people may not know who he is. He is the new breed of “Laptop managers” or managers who may not have had successful playing careers or careers at top clubs and became prodigy managers.

Still, Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsmann who Tedesco is considered of the same ilk, had more playing experience than the Italian. Tedesco notes his highlight of his career is scoring an own goal with a back heel in the youth divisions in Germany.

He would go on to obtain an engineering degree, working at Mercedes on comfort. It was during his engineering studies that he looked towards management, as he asked to watch VFB Stuttgart’s U9 training. During a meeting with the young man, he was invited to take training.

He was yet again successful and worked his way up to coach of Stuttgart’s U17 program which led to him leaving the engineering career all together. From Stuttgart he would take over for Julian Nagelesmann at Hoffenheim in their U19 side. That was his last youth assignment and it was 2016.

Later in 2017, 2 Bundesliga side Erzgebirge Aue, appointed Tedesco manager in a bid to halt their relegation slide into 3 Bundesliga. Assessing the team Tedesco made slight adjustments, calling

out and fixing the sides weaknesses on set pieces. From there in the remaining 11 games of the season he rescued the team.

It was on that evidence alone – 11 games –Schalke decided to make him their manager. Christian Heidel, Schalke’s Sporting Director, who is no stranger to controversial appointments – he was in charge of Mainz when they appointed Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel – took a leap of faith in the man and has seen him rewarded as Schalke are back in the mix with in the Bundesliga again.

What stands out for Tedesco are two things. First his man-management skills. He believes in players taking ownership of the team. He listens to their feedback and if it warrants incorporating into the game plan he does so – thus investing the players in the rise and fall of the team.

“A team believes more strongly in a plan if they feel that they have had a hand in conceiving it.”

In addition to his ability to get the best out of players he also sets them up to be successful. He is one of the most tactically astute managers out there right now.

Schalke operates from two tactical set ups based off of 3 at the back. Against some teams you will see his Schalke side use a low press to invite a counter attack and process the ball to the front 3 as quickly as possible. Against teams who may sit deeper and set up more compact he employs a high-press utilizing 5 attacking players to win the ball back as quickly as possible before the opposition can get organized.

Using 2 very different tactical systems it allows him to prepare his team for each tactical possibility they face. You only need to watch the Hoffenheim v Schalke match from earlier this season to understand how much of a tactical thinker he is to know that this is a guy who tries to build a system that effectively gets the best out of his entire side.

It hasn’t always been pretty for Schalke but it’s been effective and right now Heidel’s faith in Tedesco seems to be paid off. Of course there are plenty of unknowns.

His coaching class-mate in the DFB coaching course, Julian Nagelsmann didn’t fare too well in the Champion’s League when the time came for him to get tested. We have no such reference point for Tedesco.

Additionally, we don’t know how much of his success is really down to teams not knowing how Schalke would play under him.

What I like about him is he is young, he is fresh, and he isn’t weighed down with baggage from years of bigger clubs ups and downs. His tactical ability is where the game is now and likely for the foreseeable future. The fact he gets players invested into the team is something I think we are missing and it is, I believe, a complete paradigm shift from having a larger than life personality at the club.

And the final part of my consideration is what Ivan is setting up behind the scenes to support whomever the new manager is. Arseblog in Arsecast last week talked about the fact that maybe Ivan is setting up a structure that makes him the most powerful man at the club. Inviting a managerial and support team to help a new manager on and off the pitch while ensuring that the manager no longer has overall and absolute control at the club.

In the next 6 to 18 months we are going to be faced with the prospect of replacing Arsene Wenger. Given 21+ years with the same man, we need to go back to our roots and think outside the box for managerial greatness. Forget the big names, let’s find someone who we can grow with while returning to our former greatness – for us that man has to be Domenico Tedesco

Enjoy this great video from the folks at Tiffo Football and



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