Arsenal next manager: Why Diego Simeone could have replaced Arsene Wenger – Frank Lampard
That’s the verdict of former Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard, who says the Argentine has the tactical nous to transform the Gunners.
Arsenal are on the hunt for a new manager after Arsene Wenger ended his spell in north London with last weekend’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield.
Mikel Arteta has emerged from a field of potential candidates to become the frontrunner to take the veteran Frenchman’s place in the Emirates dugout.
Lampard has now offered his take on why Simeone could have been the man to replace Wenger had Arsenal targeted a more experienced boss.
“Had Arsenal chosen to look elsewhere for a more senior man, though, it would not have surprised me if they had considered Diego Simeone,” Lampard told the London Evening Standard ahead of Wednesday night’s Europa League final.
“I have not heard Simeone being linked too much with the posts that could be about to become available on these shores and I do not know why.
“Maybe it is because he is happy at Atletico Madrid, who will be contesting the Europa League Final against Marseille tonight after knocking Arsenal out in the last round.
“He has done a fantastic job at Atletico. People may talk about the style of play, and it is not like Manchester City, but it is effective.
“He has really delivered at the La Liga outfit and been massively successful. Atletico are always finishing in the top four, playing in the Champions League and have a new stadium to play in, so you can see they’re going places.
“Arsenal could have benefited had they employed him. He’s a winner. He would give any team what it needs in terms of discipline and working on the defensive unit.”
Simeone watched on as an Antoine Griezmann masterclass inspired Atletico’s 3-0 win over Marseille on Wednesday night.
Any Arsenal fans harbouring hope of Simeone one day rocking up at the Emirates with Griezmann are facing disappointment due to an excerpt from the forward’s autobiography.
“I waited, I waited, and I kept waiting,” he reveals, while discussing Arsenal’s interest in signing him in 2013.
“When there was no news, Eric [Olhats] called [Gilles] Grimandi, who said that the manager [Wenger] was still interested in me [and] to keep waiting.
“Finally a few hours before the market closed, he let us know Arsenal would not make a move. I don’t like to be told something and for it not to happen.
“So when Eric told me later that the London club were interested again I told him, ‘Forget it, after the blow they gave us’.”