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.

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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.

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‘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

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)


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.’

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Chelsea add former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers to four-man shortlist to replace Antonio Conte

Rodgers is a contender (Picture: PA)Chelsea have added Brendan Rodgers to a four-man shortlist of potential replacements for Antonio Conte, with the Italian widely expected to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

The Blues have already made a formal approach for former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique but the Spaniard’s inability to make a quick decision over whether he wants to move to west London has left Chelsea chiefs preparing a contingency plan.

Juventus boss Max Allegri is a popular figure among the club’s hierarchy, while Maurizio Sarri’s impressive season with Napoli has propelled him up the queue.

And Celtic manager Rodgers is another contender to land the job, according to the Express.

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Conte is set to be replaced (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)The Northern Irishman left Liverpool in 2015 before moving up to Scotland to enjoy two trophy-laden seasons at Celtic Park.

It remains to be seen if he could be tempted with a return to the Premier League, should Chelsea be unable to land their other top targets.

Paul Merson would be ‘shocked’ if Arsenal did not appoint Brendan Rodgers as Arsene Wenger’s replacement

Arsene Wenger is under immense scrutiny at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)Paul Merson would be ‘shocked’ if Arsenal did not appoint Brendan Rodgers as Arsene Wenger’s replacement.

Wenger, 68, is widely expected to leave the Emirates this summer after spending over two decades in charge of the Gunners.

Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League last year and will also finish outside of the top four this season, having slipped 12 points below Liverpool in fourth.

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The north London outfit also suffered an emphatic defeat to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup final at the end of last month, although they could still save their campaign in the Europa League.

A number of names have been raised as potential replacements for Wenger but Merson believes Celtic boss Rodgers is the stand-out choice.

‘I don’t know why he doesn’t get the Arsenal job,’ Merson said of Rodgers on Sky Sports. ‘He fits Arsenal great.

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‘The nearest Liverpool have ever come to winning the league for a long long time is when Brendan Rodgers was in charge.

‘He’s done nothing wrong at Celtic. To do what they’ve done… people can say it’s Scottish football and Celtic are head and shoulders above, but every team they played on that run treated it like a cup final, which is difficult sometimes – especially when you’re Celtic and know you’re better than everybody else.

‘I think he [Rodgers] now needs a change and needs to come back down. I’ll be shocked if he didn’t get a good job, I’d be quite shocked if he didn’t get the Arsenal job.’

Brendan Rodgers should be Arsenal’s next manager, says Paul Merson (Picture: Getty)Since taking over at Celtic in 2016, former Liverpool boss Rodgers has won the Scottish Premiership and three cup trophies.

The club are set to win another domestic title this season and Rodgers said he is ‘loving life’ in Scotland when asked about the links with Arsenal.

‘Arsenal is a great club with a great manager,’ he said. ‘People will look at it and see that I went to Liverpool, they were struggling for five seasons for Champions League football and I was able to get them back.

‘When I came to Celtic, they hadn’t been in the Champions
League for three seasons and I got them back.

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‘So maybe people are thinking – okay, Arsenal have been out of the Champions League and that is maybe the equation for someone like myself.

‘However, I’m loving my life up here. I’m not going to be here forever but I’m living in a dream – although dreams always come to an end at some point.

‘I’m always relaxed about speculation and whatnot but my focus is only on Celtic.’

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Brendan Rodgers explains his role in transforming Philippe Coutinho into a £142m Barcelona player

Brendan Rodgers talks with Philippe Coutinho during their shared time together at Anfield (Getty)Brendan Rodgers has spoken of his influential role in turning Philippe Coutinho from an £8million Liverpool signing into a £142m Barcelona player.

Over the weekend the Brazilian playmaker completed a big-money switch from Anfield to the Nou Camp.

It marked an incredible transition for a player who wasn’t wanted by Inter Milan less than five years ago.

Liverpool managed to sign him during the January transfer window midway through the 2012/13 season during which time Rodgers was at the helm on Merseyside.

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Coutinho is now a Barcelona player (Getty)The current Celtic manager said he could see there was something very special about Coutinho back then.

‘It’s brilliant for both as he is a Barcelona player if ever there was one. At the time when I brought him, he wasn’t in the team at Inter Milan. People questioned whether he was big enough and tall enough.

‘But I’d seen him as a young player at 18 at Inter Milan around top players and I always felt he had the technical quality. And, of course, he was always going to get better physically.

‘We kept in contact ever since we left.’

Rodgers and Coutinho in 2014 (Getty)Rodgers said he then gave Coutinho what he needed to move to the next level – confidence.

‘Before he came over to Liverpool, he was low in confidence.

‘I believed in his ability. It was clear what he was. If you see him play now, he played like that when he was an 11-year-old child, if you see videos of him playing Futsal.

‘He was exactly the same. But he needed that belief. He came in and developed and improved. He was outstanding for me and a real humble boy.’