Arsene Wenger SIGNAL

Arsène Wenger Makes Bayern Shortlist to Replace Niko Kovac

Ralf Rangnick, Erik ten Hag, Arséne Wenger and Max Allegri are on Bayern Munich’s list of possible candidates to replace Niko Kovac, who was sacked at the weekend after the 5-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt, The Guardian reports.

The news of Kovac’s departure did not come as a great surprise as he had been under pressure for several weeks and the heavy defeat on Saturday was the final nail in the coffin for the Bayern hierarchy.

Kovac took over from Jupp Heynckes in July 2018 and won the domestic double in his first season in charge. This campaign he oversaw a remarkable 7-2 win against Tottenham Hotspur in London in October but defeats against Hoffenheim and Frankfurt and draws against Hertha Berlin, RB Leipzig and Augsburg meant that Bayern fell behind in the league.

They are fourth in the league, only four points behind leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach, but the team’s performances had been so poor that the Bayern board decided to act on Sunday morning.

Rangnick is the frontrunner for the job, and is interested, but is currently under contract as the head of sport and development at Red Bull. The 61-year-old has extensive experience of the Bundesliga, having been in charge of Stuttgart, Hannover, Schalke and RB Leipzig among others as well as being sporting director for both RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg.

Bayern discussed appointing Rangnick at the end of last season but decided to keep faith in Kovac. The current situation at Bayern is somewhat complicated by the president, Uli Hoeneß, stepping down on 15 November but he will still have a say in who Bayern appoint next.

Arsène Wenger, who has been out of a coaching job since leaving Arsenal in 2018, is another candidate, possibly until the end of the season, as he is held in very high regard by the Bayern board and is a fluent German-speaker. Bayern are likely to look for experience after the Kovac appointment backfiring. Kovac is 48 years old and had only been in charge of one club side, Eintract Frankfurt, before taking charge of Bayern.

The Ajax manager, Erik ten Hag, is also on the shortlist having reached the Champions League semi-finals with the Dutch club since being appointed in 2017 and knows Bayern well since a spell as coach of their second team between 2013 and 2015. Bayern know they have no chance of getting the 47-year-old Dutchman now but could try in January or at the end of the season.

Allegri is a further name that is interesting Bayern but they are wary of appointing another non-German speaker after Carlo Ancelotti’s difficulties in charge of the team in 2016-17. Allegri may still have a chance to get the job, however, as he is represented by Giovanni Branchini, who has dealt extensively with Bayern in the past and is trusted by the club.

Finally, José Mourinho has been linked with the job but is currently not one of the candidates to replace Kovac at the moment. Hoeneß, for one, does not want Mourinho at Bayern.

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