Arsene Wenger claims Liverpool have made life harder for next Arsenal manager in the transfer market

Arsene Wenger has just two matches remaining as Arsenal manager (Picture: Getty)Arsene Wenger believes his successor’s task has been complicated by Liverpool’s purchase of Virgil van Dijk.

The long-serving Arsenal manager has just two matches of his tenure remaining before he steps down at the end of the season.

Wenger insists whoever takes over the managerial reins at the Emirates does not need to make drastic changes to a squad which is destined to finish a staggering 30 points behind champions Manchester City.

More: Football

Liverpool broke the world-record for a defender when they paid Southampton £75million for Van Dijk in January and Wenger fears the market has been artificially inflated.

‘The squad doesn’t need much,’ said Wenger. ‘There is huge potential in there and good spirit.

Liverpool’s defence has dramatically improve since the signing of Virgil van Dijk in January (Picture: Getty)

Arsenal signed unknown Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos for an undisclosed fee in January (Picture: Getty)‘There’s a good basis. We need two or three additions and this team will compete for the title next season.

‘We don’t need massive spending. You are seeing defenders go for £70million.

‘It is difficult to know what is a lot.’

More: Arsenal FC

Jurgen Klopp angered by Zeljko Buvac’s decision to keep Arsenal talks secret

Zeljko Buvac was involved in a bust-up with Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp. (Getty Images)Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was angered by Zeljko Buvac’s decision to keep Arsenal’s approach secret, according to reports.

Buvac has temporarily left his role as Klopp’s assistant, with Liverpool claiming that the 56-year-old is absent due to ‘personal reasons’.

But according to the Sunday Mirror, Klopp and Buvac had a bust-up the build-up to the second leg of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final with Roma on Wednesday.

The report claims that Buvac was contacted by Arsenal’s head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, but the Bosnian did not inform Klopp of their talks.

The Liverpool boss later found out through a third party and is reportedly ‘incensed’ by Buvac’s decision to keep the negotiations private.

Buvac has been approached by Arsenal. (Getty Images)More: Football

Buvac has worked alongside Klopp for 17 years and has been his assistant at Mainz, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool.

Klopp has described Buvac ‘the brain’ of his coaching team and the Bosnian has been a key figure in helping Liverpool’s players adopt their high-intensity playing style.

Buvac has not officially left Liverpool but is not expected to be back in the dugout before the end of the season.

‘Zeljko remains a Liverpool employee and his position at the club is not affected by this absence,’ read a statement from Liverpool.

More: Arsenal FC

Arsenal’s plan to sign Liverpool assistant Zeljko Buvac slammed by Danny Murphy

Liverpool assistant Zeljko Buvac has been linked with Arsenal (Picture: Getty)Danny Murphy says it would be ‘ridiculous’ for Arsenal to appoint Liverpool assistant Zeljko Buvac as Arsene Wenger’s successor.

The Gunners are making plans for Wenger’s departure, with the Frenchman set to bring his 22-year reign in charge of the club to an end this month.

Max Allegri, Luis Enrique and Diego Simeone have emerged as candidates for the job at the Emirates, but Buvac has also been considered.

More: Football

The 56-year-old, who has been Jurgen Klopp’s right-hand man for 17 years, left his role at Anfield last week, with the club citing ‘personal reasons’ for his absence.

But Arsenal head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat, is believed to be keen for Buvac to join the Gunners this summer.

Responding to the speculation, Murphy told Sky Sports: ‘I would find it unbelievable to appoint someone who has never, ever managed as a number one at a club like Arsenal.

The Gunners are planning for life after Arsene Wenger (Picture: Getty)‘I think that would be ridiculous for a club like Arsenal.

‘It doesn’t matter how intelligent he is or what he’s done because doing it as a number two is nothing like doing it as a number one.’

Buvac, who has worked under Klopp at Mainz, Dortmund and Liverpool, has been described as the ‘brain’ and Murphy insists he is a talented coach.

But the former Liverpool and England midfielder says managing Arsenal would be a huge step up.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video

‘Just because you haven’t been a number one doesn’t mean you don’t succeed. There are exceptions to the rule,’ he added.

‘But we’re not talking about a job in the Championship or League One here. We’re talking about Arsenal Football Club who want to get back to competing with the big boys.

‘There’s a hell of a job to be done there. If you bring a coach in who knows he’s not buying the players, like Chelsea in some respects, then that’s fine.

More: Football

‘My problem with someone who’s not been a number one is when you get problems with players. If you look at Arsenal and Alexis Sanchez, for example, in recent times or whatever goes on on the training pitch.

‘If you’re not used to dealing with that, it can escalate quickly. It’s a completely different role.’

MORE: Jose Mourinho performs u-turn on Man United star Ander Herrera

Sven Mislintat wants Liverpool assistant manager Zeljko Buvac to join Arsenal

Liverpool assistant manager Zeljko Buvac could join Arsenal (Picture: Getty)Sven Mislintat, Arsenal’s head of recruitment, is reportedly keen for Liverpool assistant manager Zeljko Buvac to be part of the club’s new structure once Arsene Wenger leaves.

Buvac, 56, who has worked with Jurgen Klopp for almost two decades, left his role at Anfield over the weekend.

Liverpool said his absence was due to ‘personal reasons’, suggesting he could well return to the club in the summer.

More: Football

But reports in Buvac’s native Bosnia on Tuesday claimed he was in line to become Arsenal’s new manager, with Wenger set to leave at the end of the season.

The Arsenal hierarchy have explored the possibility of forming an experienced coaching team to work with a younger manager and Buvac is seen as a candidate to help an emerging coach.

The Times say Mislintat, who joined Arsenal last November, is an admirer of Klopp’s long-term assistant, having worked with him at Borussia Dortmund.

Arsene Wenger will leave the Emirates at the end of the season (Picture: Getty)

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video

Mislintat has already made his presence felt at the Emirates with the signings of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, two players he also had in Germany.

Considering a move for Buvac suggests Arsenal have given genuine thought to appointing an inexperienced manager, given targets such as Max Allegri and Luis Enrique would want their own staff to join them in north London.

Two former Gunners, Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira, are believed to be under consideration.

More: Football

MORE: Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard back Liverpool to beat Real Madrid

Liverpool assistant boss Zeljko Buvac in line to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal

Zeljko Buvac is reportedly set to take over as Arsenal manager (Picture: Getty)Liverpool assistant boss Zeljko Buvac is set to be appointed as manager of Arsenal, according to reports in Bosnia.

It was claimed earlier this week that Buvac had quit Liverpool following a dispute with Jurgen Klopp but the club reportedly denied the explosive rumours.

The Merseyside outfit insisted that Buvac’s absence was due to ‘personal reasons’ and stressed that his leave would not impact his long-term future at Anfield.

More: Football

However, according to Pravda BL, Buvac has actually been in discussions with Arsenal over succeeding Arsene Wenger in the summer.

It’s claimed that he has ‘arranged everything with Arsenal’ with a view to taking over the reins at the Emirates ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.

The Bosnian has worked alongside Jurgen Klopp for the last 17 years (Picture: Getty)Bosnian outlet Pravda BL broke the exclusive that Klopp would be appointed Liverpool manager back in October 2015.

The rumours are threatening to derail Liverpool’s preparation for the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with Roma.

A number of top managers have been linked with the Arsenal job, including the likes of Massimiliano Allegri, Luis Enrique and Carlo Ancelotti.

The Gunners are on the hunt for Arsene Wenger’s successor (Picture: Getty)Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has distanced himself from speculation that he could be the man to replace Wenger at the end of the season.

‘I’ve got huge respect for Arsenal as a club. When I started my coaching career Arsene was just coming into the club and I learned so much in that period as a young coach watching him and watching his dignity and class and how he dealt with everything, so it’s a club I’ve got huge respect for,’ he responded.

‘But I’m so happy here at Celtic. I’m in a job I love, it’s a huge club with big expectancy and big pressure.

More: Football

‘I would love to work in the Premier League again one day, but I’m hopefully going to be coaching for another 20-odd years. So it’s no time soon.

‘I’m so happy. I have a great loyalty to the board here, who have been so supportive of me. And from the first day I walked in, the supporters have given me everything.

‘I feel a loyalty to them to ensure we keep moving the club forward and keep progressing.’

MORE: Arsenal watch Nabil Fekir in action as senior figures push for summer transfer

Paul Merson and Charlie Nicholas disagree on who should replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal

Arsenal are searching for Arsene Wenger’s successor (Picture: Getty)Arsenal legends Paul Merson and Charlie Nicholas have revealed who they believe should take over from Arsene Wenger at the end of the season.

It was confirmed earlier in the month that Wenger, 68, would not see out his contract at the Emirates.

The experienced Frenchman spent over two decades in charge of Arsenal, winning three Premier League titles and seven FA Cups.

More: Football

But Wenger’s position has been the subject of intense speculation for a number of years and he says it is the right time to leave.

The announcement has sparked debate as to who will replace Wenger at Arsenal and Merson and Nicholas have revealed their picks to Sky Sports.

Paul Merson:

‘I would like Rodgers to succeed Arsene. I like him, the way he plays football. Liverpool nearly won the league under him which they hadn’t done for some time before and haven’t since.

‘People say he had Luis Suarez but you’ve still got to get a tune out of him. He’s got experience of managing big sides as well. There’s a lot of pressure at Celtic and he knows the Premier League well.

‘Luis Enrique is the other one, with experience and style of football, but they need to move quickly if they want him because Chelsea might be after him soon.

‘The big thing for me is longevity. They need to get somebody in who is going to be there for five years because they don’t want a similar situation to Manchester United after Sir Alex Ferguson left.’

Former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is a contender (Picture: Getty)

As is Max Allegri, the current Juventus manager (Picture: Getty)

Charlie Nicholas:

‘I’m still of the mind that Rodgers and Ronald Koeman fit the criteria. I don’t think either of them will get it though and I’m swaying towards Allegri now.

‘Some people suggest it has to be somebody with a link to the club, such as Mikel Arteta or Patrick Vieira, but Wenger didn’t have one when he arrived.

‘I’ve got a feeling they’re trying to get a Spanish or German influence running stronger through the club but I feel that the favourite should be Allegri.

‘His reputation is strong and his Juventus side play a nice way with an organised defensive shape.’

Wenger made his last trip to Old Trafford as Arsenal manager on Sunday as the Gunners were undone by Marouane Fellaini’s injury-time winner.

Before the Premier League fixture, he was presented with a silver vase by former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

More: Football

‘It was very nice and classy. I enjoyed it,’ Wenger said. ‘I have come here for a long, long time.

‘Next year, someone else will be in the dug-out and it will be a hostile environment again.’

MORE: Gary Neville ‘not confident’ Paul Pogba will still be at Man United next season

Rafa Benitez a ‘great fit’ to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, says Ray Parlour

Rafa Benitez would be an ideal fit for Arsenal, says Ray Parlour (Picture: Getty)Rafa Benitez would be a ‘great fit’ to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, according to Ray Parlour.

The Gunners confirmed on Friday that Wenger, 68, will step down at the end of the season, bringing an end to his 22-year reign in charge of the club.

As manager of Arsenal, Wenger won three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and reached the Champions League final.

More: Football

Confirmation of his departure has provoked speculation over who will be the next manager in the Emirates hot-seat, with Luis Enrique and Max Allegri thought to be leading contenders.

Parlour believes the club should be looking closer to home, however, with former Liverpool boss Benitez doing an ‘amazing’ job at Newcastle United.

‘What he has done for Newcastle this season is amazing,’ former Arsenal and England defender Parlour told talkSPORT.

Arsene Wenger is set to leave the Emirates at the end of the season (Picture: Getty)‘With not a lot of investment he’s got them playing so well. They are out of trouble when it looked like they would be in a relegation battle, and now they are sitting really healthy in the league.

‘He would be a great fit, but whether Arsenal want to go down that road…

‘There are younger managers as well, and they may say “let’s give one of them an opportunity”, or go for one of the more experienced ones; Luis Enrique is favourite, but I know Chelsea might be looking at him as well.

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video

‘So this board have got to make a big decision now, because I’ve always thought whoever replaces Arsene Wenger is going to have a hell of a job taking the club forward. It’s not an easy job.’

Wenger, meanwhile, admits it would be ’emotionally difficult’ to take a job at another English club.

‘I don’t know how well I would deal with that,’ the Frenchman said. ‘It’s difficult to say never, but at the moment I’m too attached to this club.

More: Football

‘I honestly cannot tell you much more, because I don’t want you to come back to me in six months and say you lied to us.

‘I know I did that a few times. I wouldn’t like to be definite today. I don’t know how I will respond to that situation.’

MORE: Jan Oblak refuses to rule out Atletico Madrid exit amid transfer speculation

Brendan Rodgers breaks silence over Arsenal link

Brendan Rodgers is one of the favourites to replace Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. (Getty Images)Brendan Rodgers insists he is happy to stay at Celtic after being linked with replacing Arsene Wenger as Arsenal manager.

The 45-year-old is reportedly on Arsenal’s shortlist of candidates alongside Carlo Ancelotti, former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique and Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri.

Rodgers, who spent just over three years at Liverpool and nearly guided the club to the Premier League title in 2015, still has three years remaining on his contract with Celtic.

But the Scottish champions have confirmed they would allow their manager to speak with Arsenal if approached.

‘I think its one where there is always speculation, never more so in the game than at this time whether it is players or managers, there’s always lots of speculation,’ Rodgers told BT Sport.

Rodgers still has three years left on his deal with Celtic. (PA)

BRENDAN RODGERS’ TROPHIES AT CELTIC

Scottish Premiership: 2016–17Scottish Cup: 2016–17Scottish League Cup: 2016–17, 2017–18

‘I’m extremely happy and I’ve got three years left on my contract after this year.

‘The club have been brilliant to me since I came in so I don’t think so much about it to be honest.’

More: Arsenal FC

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sends tribute message to Arsene Wenger

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has thanked Arsene Wenger for his support. (Getty Images)Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says he is ‘forever grateful’ to Arsene Wenger following the news that the Frenchman will leave Arsenal at the end of the season.

Wenger has called time on his 22-year reign as Arsenal manager, despite still having a year remaining on his contract.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile, spent seven years under Wenger after being signed from Southampton in 2011 but was sold to Liverpool last summer for £35 million.

Wenger has been inundated with tributes from current Arsenal players to his long-time rival Sir Alex Ferguson.

And Oxlade-Chamberlain has sent his own message to his former manager.

 

More: Football

‘Forever grateful for the faith shown, the opportunity given, the knowledge shared and unconditional support offered,’ the England international wrote on Instagram.

‘Thanks for everything boss.’

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s progression at Arsenal tailed off during the final stages of his time at the club, but earlier this month, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insisted that the midfielder has never blamed Wenger.

‘We had a lot of talks and Oxlade loved Arsene Wenger. They were working together for six years or something like that.

Oxlade-Chamberlain is thriving under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool. (PA Wire) 

‘He never blamed Arsene Wenger for not improving enough, or whatever.

‘Sometimes it’s only about changing circumstances, that’s it.

‘Being in a different place, sometimes, can be better but only if you are aware of your problems.

More: Arsenal FC