Arsenal have been urged to appoint Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim ahead of Diego Simeone if Arsene Wenger does leave the club at the end of the season. Though the 65-year-old is expected to agree a new deal to stay in north London, the delay has created mass uncertainty during a campaign which has threatened to descend into crisis.
The Gunners are closing in on their worst top flight finish during Wenger's tenure, with the club sixth in the Premier League with five games remaining. The north Londoners are also destined to miss out on qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since 1998.
Despite a campaign of turmoil which has included fans turning on Wenger in the form of pre-match protests, it could yet end with a major trophy with Arsenal having reached the FA Cup final against Chelsea. But should the season end with Wenger's exit, Jardim should be the number one contender to take over according to former defender Mikaël Silvestre.
"He [Wenger] will only be the one who decides when he wants to go," he told Sky Sports. "I think the real question and concern is what is next and how do you handle the transition? If he goes, who stays behind from the staff? It is really important to keep the staff involved. He has got a major legacy and you do not want to throw everything in the bin.
"You should look at someone who practices attacking football, like a Leonardo Jardim at Monaco. I would not fancy Diego Simeone to come and play a tight two lines in front of the goalkeeper. The Arsenal way of playing is attacking football, so you want to keep that."
The Mirror reported in February that Jardim was among a four-man shortlist to replace Wenger in the event he does call time on his 21-year career in English football. Borussia Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel, Max Allegri of Juventus and Bayer Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt are also said to be among the contenders.
Jardim has not enjoyed a stellar managerial career but this season has led Monaco to the brink of the Ligue 1 title and to the Champions League semi-finals; inspired by a unique brand of attacking football. The side from the principality have netted over a century of goals in all competitions this term, adopting a style of football not too dissimilar to the philosophy which has defined Wenger's success at Arsenal.
Simeone meanwhile is one of the most revered coaches in European football having taken Atletico Madrid to the La Liga title, the Copa de Rey and two Champions League finals in his six years at the helm, on a shoestring budget. The future of the ex-Argentina international is, however, uncertain beyond the end of the current campaign with Atletico's performances having plateaued this term.