Arsene Wenger is the last of the legacy managers in modern football. The Arsenal boss controls every aspect of his club, overseeing what happens on the training pitch, first-team selection, deciding which players are brought to the club, conducting salary negotiations and much much more.
Modern clubs typically now have different people delegated for different roles and the Gunners might be about to finally join the party. According to the Daily Telegraph, the club are looking to restructure things behind the scenes and bring in a sporting director to work alongside whoever is in charge next season; be that Wenger or someone else.
IBTimes UK considers some early candidates for the role.
One of the most sought-after men in the game, Ramón Rodríguez Monchi is the man most responsible for Sevilla's success in recent years, having guided the club from the second tier of Spanish football to five Europa League titles in 16 years. As par for the course, the Andalusian club have been cherry-picked of their very best players by Europe's elite, with Kevin Gameiro and Grzegorz Krychowiak last summer's most high profile departures. He has worked his magic again this year, with the club currently just five points off the summit of La Liga and having one foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
According to AS, Monchi received a "dizzying offer" from Manchester United last summer. Everton and Paris Saint-Germain also chased himm with Monchi telling IBTimesUK last summer his "mobile was going crazy". He decided to stay at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium, but Arsenal could fancy their chances.
When asked about finding a replacement for the club's former academy boss Andries Jonker, who recently left to take the manager's job at Wolfsburg, Wenger explained the club are looking to appoint someone who shares the Arsenal "spirit." If the Gunners are looking to embrace that approach across every level of this supposed restructure behind the scenes, Vieira could be an option as sporting director. The club's one-time captain embodies the modern spirit of the club perhaps more than any other man to have played under Wenger. Vieira's post-playing career grew at Manchester City, where he rose to the Elite Development Squad manager before taking over as head coach at New York City FC in the MLS. But a return to North London somewhere down the line does have an air of inevitability to it.
If a former player is part of the criteria, then Marc Overmars presents an intriguing option. The former midfielder has served as director of football with former club Ajax since 2012 and was reportedly courted by Everton last summer as they sought to bring a more continental approach to the club. In 2013 he revealed to the Evening Standard he would be keen on a return to North London to take up a behind-the-scenes role.
With the atmosphere at the club so toxic at the minute, any scenario that sees Wenger continue to oversee first-team matters might only further enrage supporters. The long-serving French manager moving onto another role within the club away from the dugout has long been touted. His ability to unearth transfer gems has been a mainstay throughout his tenure in charge, and a 'move upstairs' could allow him to focus solely on that.