The news that Diego Simeone has shortened his contract at Atletico Madrid to 2018 instead of 2020 has kicked the rumour mill into action as to the decision behind this development.
One of the more popular suggestions is that the Argentine will be the next Arsenal manager, with Arsene Wenger’s present deal set to expire at the end of the current season.
In terms of working on a balanced budget Simeone is similar to Wenger, with his net spend at Atletico in the last five years approximately £6m. However, in terms of playing style, the pair couldn’t be less similar.
Wenger has regularly been criticised for his playing style, particularly his central-midfield decisions in the last decade where there has been the belief that Arsenal can out-play all opponents. This has led to a collection of technical players operating in the position and a lack of adaption when it comes to nullifying opponents.
Whether this be too many players caught in advanced areas, the midfield not being compact enough or generally lacking a defensive mentality, the way to combat the Gunners was, and remains to an extent, to stop them playing and be aggressive with pressing.
At Atletico, it has been defensive organisation first, with a sprinkling of technical quality in the final third. Simeone has regularly opted for more of a 4-2-2-2 formation, with the wide players operating in a narrow set up to attempt to gain control of the middle of the pitch.
At Liverpool, Adam Lallana has seemingly been the chief beneficiary of Jurgen Klopp’s energetic, high-pressing system. Arsenal have their own equivalent in Aaron Ramsey.
The Welshman has struggled to hold down a central role under Wenger in the last 18 months when everyone is fit, but is the free-running team player that will work well in Simeone’s system.
What Ramsey can sometimes lack is a bit of midfield discipline, being too eager to go and press the ball or support the attack, which in turn leaves his team more open space in their defensive structure.
Simeone will be the ideal boss to help Ramsey manage his natural attacking instincts better and instil a greater sense of self-restraint into him, in terms of when to join in attacks or when to hold his position.
Arsenal are 14/1 to win the Premier League this season prior to their clash with Hull and this would be the perfect send off for Wenger if he leaves the Gunners this summer after two decades as manager.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.