With the annual Wenger ‘in or out’ debate only just starting to die down, Paul Merson added fuel to the fire this week as he suggested an alternative for the long-standing Arsenal manager – Harry Redknapp.
Speaking on Sky’s A League of Their Own, the former Gunners’ midfielder said Arsenal could win the league with a superior tactician.
“People say Redknapp’s a wheeler-dealer and it’s so disrespectful. Tactically, he’s one of the best I’ve worked with. If Arsene Wenger had Harry Redknapp’s tactical nous, Arsenal would win the league.”
– Paul Merson
Arsenal fans have often pondered what life would be like without Wenger, so we thought we could do the same. From this point on, we are in an alternate universe. Hillary Clinton is President, Tupac is alive, Hans Gruber is the good guy, and Harry Redknapp has replaced Arsene Wenger as manager of Arsenal football club.
In this universe, Wenger was sacked after Arsenal’s 10-2 aggregate mauling at the hands of Bayern Munich. Redknapp was hired to do a temporary job, but was given a two-year contract after an impressive run of form to end the season, which included eight consecutive 1-0 wins.
Redknapp immediately gets to work in the summer preparing and overhauling his squad. Granit Xhaka is the first out the door after a training ground bust up with the new manager resulting from a comment about the amount of gel in his hair.
Mesut Özil is the second big name to leave the club, his presence no longer needed with free signing Niko Kranjčar set to take over the playmaking responsibilities. After months of uncertainty surrounding Alexis Sanchez, the Chilean signs a lifetime contract with the club, having bonded with his new gaffer over their mutual love of dogs.
Of course, all this has knock-on effects around the league. Arsene Wenger becomes manager of Chelsea after Antonio Conte left the club for unknown reasons. Mesut Özil joins Barcelona to replace Lionel Messi, who has joined Stoke City in a bid to once and for all prove he is better than Ronaldo.
Can Messi do it on a cold rainy Tuesday night in Stoke?
Messi just did it at 2850 metres above sea level on a Tuesday night in Ecuador.
— adí (@posicionMessi) October 11, 2017
Hoping to add some youth into his coaching staff, Harry brings his son Jamie in as an assistant coach. The former Liverpool man gets injured on the first day of pre-season, though, while chasing an ice cream truck that drove past the training ground.
After five 0-0 draws in pre-season, it’s pretty clear the club needs a striker. Despite pressure from the fans to spend big, Jermain Defoe is brought in at a bargain price and is an instant hit. He forms a great rapport with Olivier Giroud, who is now barely recognisable due to the new “no manscaping” policy at the club.
The Gunners start the season with three impressive victories, including a 1-0 win at Liverpool courtesy of a Dejan Lovren own goal (some things never change).
The season quickly unravels after the international break though. Injuries to Ramsey and Kranjčar leave them short of creative influence, and the manager’s relationship with Alexis Sanchez deteriorates after the Chilean hits him with a ball in training.
Arsene Wenger then gets his revenge. After a 4-0 humiliation at Stamford Bridge, Redknapp’s comments about the injured Santi Cazorla’s weight cause a rift between the players.
With the team struggling to score goals and the players losing faith in the manager, the board sees no option but to sack the ex-Tottenham man. Thierry Henry replaces him as a player-manager and guides the club to its first league title since 2004, so Merson was right… sort of.