And so the speculation begins. Arsene Wenger only announced his decision to leave Arsenal a week ago, but already those in the know are hinting at who might take over.
Some of the more predictable names have arisen: Luis Enrique, Carlo Ancelotti, Max Allegri, Joachim Low. Even Brendan Rodgers has been mentioned, though he has looked to distance himself from the role.
There has, however, been one man forgotten. That man has been quietly biding his time. He has, for close to two years now, waited patiently for his next job. Aside from the occasional media appearance and the odd controversial statement, he has been uncharacteristically subdued.
That man is Louis van Gaal. He had not been mentioned, not even considered – perhaps for good reason – until he gave an update on his situation earlier today. “I still get a lot of offers,” he told Ziggo Sport, “and now I’ve had an offer that I think I can’t refuse. I can’t share any more than this. If I am not in work by July or August, I will definitely retire.”
This has sent some into a frenzy. What was he hinting at? Not Arsenal? Surely not Arsenal? Oh God, please not Arsenal.
Maybe it is Arsenal?
But maybe it is Arsenal. And maybe, if it is, the club’s fans should not be panicking, not bracing themselves for two years of drudgery and absurdity and ludicrous remarks in press conferences after painfully tedious goalless draws against Burnley.
Maybe they should be excited. For so long, Gunners fans have endured Wenger: cerebral, educated, erudite, eloquent and refined. Van Gaal would represent a paradigm shift. The Dutchman is, frankly, mental.