Conte should replace Wenger at Arsenal, claims Carragher

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes the ideal replacement for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal is Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.

Arsene Wenger has 18 more months left on his current contract.   -  Getty Images

Antonio Conte would be the ideal replacement for Arsene Wenger when the veteran Frenchman leaves his post as Arsenal manager, according to Jamie Carragher.

Wenger signed a new two-year deal at the Emirates Stadium in May, but has not won the league title since the 2003-04 season, while the Gunners is on a five-game winless run in all competitions and in danger of missing out on Champions League qualification for the second year running.

Conte - reportedly frustrated with Chelsea's transfer policy - also penned fresh terms at the end of last season, although it did not extend his tenure and he has consistently been linked with a range of other managerial positions, including the Italian national team and Serie A underachiever AC Milan.

And Carragher believes Arsenal should put Conte at the top of its wishlist for when Wenger eventually decides to end his 21-year reign at the helm.

Read: Conte backs Morata to overcome his disciplinary concerns

"If Conte's situation is precarious - the Chelsea hierarchy ambivalent on his future and Conte increasingly frustrated by the structure of the club - there will be a long queue for his services," Carragher wrote in a column for the Telegraph.

"I could imagine Real Madrid considering Conte as a replacement for Zinedine Zidane, whose position looks vulnerable. The Italian national team would beg him to go back after their failure to qualify for the World Cup.

"There is talk of him returning to Italian football but having managed the national team and led Juventus to three Serie A titles in a row, would heading home at this stage of his career be so appealing? He has nothing more to prove in his own country.

"There is one club in particular, much closer to his current home, I feel should be monitoring developments more than others; a club desperately in need of Conte’s persona, who would send a rocket through every department of their institution and instantly change perceptions. That club is Arsenal.

"I can imagine no more suitable replacement for Arsene Wenger than Conte.

"It would be one of the most astute managerial appointments in Premier League history.

"Arsenal are still stuck in a cycle of mediocrity they have been unable to escape for several years. I will never lose respect for Wenger – his legacy in English football is preserved and he will always be considered one of the all-time greats – but I said last year his time was coming to an end and nothing has changed.

"Conte is too good for Chelsea to let go. They should be desperately trying to keep him, not only because he will bring more success to the club, but to ensure he does not come back to haunt them when he returns with a rival.

"If the Chelsea board cannot see that, Arsenal should do everything in their power to ensure it is a short Tube ride to his next destination."

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