By the ‘#ABW XI’s’ Kris Carpenter (@AFCfreddie8)
Almost immediately after coming up with the concept for this series, I knew I wanted Kris to get a kick at this subject. We’re delighted anytime we can get one of the ABW XI to blog and Kris’ knowledge of European football is superb.
We’ve had to wait for this 4th and final part to our “Making the Case” series because Kris is a busy man with his ABW appearances, appearances on other pods, managing the world famous Barbican Pirates, etc, etc…but I think it has been worth the wait. His choice of Ancelotti has been a constant request from you the readers since we started the series a couple weeks ago.
We’ve had a lot of great feedback and working collaboratively is something we’ll look at doing again in the future. You can check out Part 1 on Frank de Boer here, Part 2 on Roberto Martínez here, and Part 3 on keeping it in house here.
Making the Case for Carlo Ancelotti
As a staunch ‘Wenger In’ man myself, even the thought of picking the next manager for The Arsenal feels somewhat troubling, but even people like me have to accept that someday, likely in the not too distant future, Arsène’s reign will come to an end and that next man will need to be put in place.
Here is my view on why Carlo Ancelotti should be that man.
Let’s firstly take a look at the honours Carlo has scooped:
• UEFA Intertoto Cup: 1999
• UEFA Champions League (2): 2002–03, 2006–07
• UEFA Super Cup (2): 2003, 2007
• FIFA Club World Cup: 2007
• Serie A: 2003–04
• Coppa Italia: 2002–03
• Supercoppa Italiana: 2004
• Premier League: 2009–10
• FA Cup: 2009–10
• FA Community Shield: 2009
• Ligue 1: 2012–13
• UEFA Champions League: 2013–14
• UEFA Super Cup: 2014
• Copa del Rey: 2013–14
What a way to start, huh?
Carlo Ancelotti made his mark in football as a player in the 1970’s coming through the ranks as a youth at Reggiolo and Parma, the club he would make his professional debut with in 1976, before going on to captain Roma during a spell in which they won the Serie A Scudetto and no fewer than 4 Italian cups – winning has been in his blood from the very beginning! Moving to Milan in the 1980’s the pattern continued: he was part of a team that won 2 Serie A titles and 2 European Cups, a record that gave him international recognition as well winning 26 caps for Italy while scoring once.
Playing days at an end it was clear Ancelotti would go on to be a very sought after coach, cutting his teeth at Reggiana and former club Parma before managing Juventus to his first honour, The fabled Intertoto cup in 1999. Speaking of Juventus, they were the club that would live to regret parting company with Carlo, sacking him at half-time during the final league game of the following season – despite Juve still being in with a chance at the title! This would be the shock to the system that would push Ancelotti to the 1st step in his stunning list of success, the move to manage AC Milan in 2001.
Over an 8 year spell, the Italian would manage The Rossoneri to an unprecedented 8 (EIGHT) trophies. In other words, a trophy for every year managing the club – an incredible achievement at any level of football let alone the very top level of European football. During that period, he won the Champions League trophy and he remains the only manager to have won the tournament on 3 occasions (including last season’s victory with Real Madrid).
More than the trophies and success, Ancelotti was building a bond with players and bringing individuals to the very top of their game during his time with Milan, players such as the great Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Clarence Seedorf, Andriy Shevchenko and Rui Costa all credited Ancelotti in taking their games to the very peak of excellence. Indeed Maldini stated he was the greatest coach he ever worked under, quite the compliment from a great of the game.
In 2007, Ancelotti achieved another first: winning the FIFA World Club cup with Milan by beating Boca Juniors 4-2. In doing so he became the first European coach to win the tournament. The end of his tenure at the San Siro came in 2009 when he announced his resignation. His next destination would be West London with Chelsea and as much as I would like to go in to detail about his Premier League and FA Cup double in his first season there, I would rather move on… it hurts too much.
Ancelotti found himself heading to Paris Saint Germain at the close of his Chelsea days and once again success followed. With Zlatan Ibrahimović leading the line, the Ligue 1 title would land in Paris in 2012 but despite the success, Ancelotti expressed his desire to test his hand in a fourth country – Spain.
Real Madrid came calling and Ancelotti found the idea too appealing to turn down. It was a move that would yield incredible success very quickly. In his first season (13-14), he scooped an amazing Treble which included La Decima (their 10th European Cup) which sat alongside the La Liga title and Copa Del Rey won. The Treble also broke the dominance of Barcelona in Spanish football in the process. He remains in charge at The Bernabéu to the present date – his charges sitting top of La Liga at the time of writing.
So there is the black and white of Carlo Ancelotti the man, the achiever, the living legend – let’s now take a look at why he fits Arsenal Football Club so well in my opinion.
Let’s start with the obvious – he is a winner! Pure and simple, his record speaks for itself and the ability to manage winners in different countries shows beyond all doubt that his knowledge of the game yields results.
Tactically astute, the man knows how to change a system or playing style to meet the demands of the modern game, something that has been leveled at Arsène Wenger as a weak spot in the past and current set up. Ancelotti has the perfect blend of attacking football mixed with the grit and steel of a solid foundation at the back; something that on current form any Arsenal fan would melt at the thought of.
In terms of transfer business, he’s ever the pragmatist when it comes to signings. Like Arsène, Ancelotti looks for the best business for both club and player when making signings – even last summer with the Gareth Bale transfer. Whilst it was Real Madrid that conducted the deal, it was Carlo that made it clear that popular first team footballers would have to be moved on if Bale were to come in – balancing the chequebook whilst offering the squad a far more dynamic footballer at the peak of his powers.
Additionally, the signings of David Luiz and Ramires for Chelsea were key in taking The Blues to their success under his tenure. Whilst Luiz was often mocked and derided for his inclusion in the Chelsea side, he would often win key games for them; and Ramires is still very much a favoured player under Mourinho, something people often forget.
On a similar vein his ruthless ability to cut short players not performing or stalling on contracts could be key at a club like Arsenal, where for too long average players were rewarded and backed when they should arguably be let go and replaced with higher quality.
Respect? The man is held in such high regard at every club he has worked at in the past including supporters, club hierarchies and players themselves. As mentioned previously, some of the biggest names in football credit him with taking their games to new levels – something again Arsène Wenger has had a reputation for in the past. Ancelotti’s standing in the world game would both attract and retain players to The Arsenal.
And finally he has a desire to progress. A man who has managed and succeeded in 4 different countries shows no sign in going away quietly. After winning the title in his home country and indeed the European cup you could forgive a manager for taking time out of the game or dropping down a level, but for Carlo, success is never enough. He’s not content to win one trophy and he’s constantly striving for the next challenge. I for one hope his next destination is N5 London and Arsenal Football Club.
Many thanks for reading.
By the ‘#ABW XI’s’ Kris Carpenter (@AFCfreddie8)
So concludes our Wenger successor series – we hope you’ve enjoyed it.