Arsene Wenger is “top of the list” of the candidates the Football Association (FA) wants to talk to about taking over from Roy Hodgson to become the England manager, the Telegraph reports.
Wenger’s current contract with Arsenal — where he has been for twenty years — is up next season. Even though the club has drawn up a two-year extension, Wenger is apparently waiting to see how things go next year before deciding his future.
So far he has not ruled out managing England.
Accepting the job would mean a significant pay cut for the Frenchman, who makes £8 million ($10.3 million) a year at Arsenal. Hodgson was famously the most well-paid coach at Euro 2016, on £3.5 million a year.
England crashed out of the Euros in humiliating fashion, losing 2-1 to Iceland in a match that some called its worst defeat ever. Hodgson immediately resigned, leaving the FA to begin yet another hunt for a manager.
England has had nine managers in the last 20 years, with the team progressing no further than the quarter-finals in either the Euro or World Cup tournaments in the same period.
Although Wenger would certainly bring a lot of experience to England — he won three Premier League titles with the Gunners and took the team to second place last season — former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry told Sky Sports he is likely to turn down the offer of managing a national side:
“What I love about Arsene is he loves being on the field on a daily basis and if you’re a coach of a national team you’re not out there on a daily basis. That’s why I don’t see that happening, but who knows? Arsene loves Arsenal and he’s been there for a very long time. We don’t see him leaving the club and we know the England role can be seen as the impossible job.”
Bookmakers do not seem convinced by Wenger’s potential appointment either, with most placing him just seventh in the odds. Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce is the current favourite, with odds of 3/1 from William Hill, while ex-Tottenham legend and current United States manager Jurgen Klinsmann second, with odds of 11/2.
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